Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Do you remember that song of long-ago: Where Have all The Flowers Gone? It was sang by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I don't know why I thought of this song today when I had some errands.I was driving through the streets of my city. I noticed the absence of children. Where Have all the Children Gone? Not quite the same words but you know what I mean.

I drove by a few parks and the swings hung like straight little soldiers. There were no squeals as little kids flew down the slipper slide. There were no screams from the merry-go-round. Just silence. And today wasn't the only day I noticed this. Where are the kids?

When I was a young girl we looked forward to summertime with such zeal. When we woke in the morning, we zipped through our chores, and out the door we went. In fact, even if it hadn't been our choice, our moms would have kicked us out the door. We raced as fast as we could to the playground gathering spot and planned the day. We didn't have to be back home until it started getting dark. Or mom called us with her whistle. We never missed that loud whistle.

We swung on the swings and reached for the sky. We pumped our legs to see who could get highest. Sometimes, if you were lucky, one of the brothers would push us. The idea was to go as high as you could and then jump from the swing and land on the ground. I am surprised no one ever broke a leg.

an old playground
Sometimes we would swipe a sheet of wax paper from the kitchen before we left. We used to sit on it and fly down the slide. On a hot, sunny day that wax paper would make the slide as slick as it ever got. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

When it got too warm, we would sit in the shade of the 'office' building and haul out the jacks. We hardly ever left home without them. I was always up for a game of onesies,
twosies, threesies. And after we were really good then we played No bouncie, Two bouncie or around the world. It was so much fun. And I was pretty good at it. I tried teaching my granddaughters when they were younger but they didn't stay with it for long.

Pratt's swimming pool
Another memory from my 'summers of long ago' was walking in the ditches, finding pop bottles and turning them into the little corner grocery store, Jordans. We would get enough money to pay our way into the swimming pool for the afternoon. Pratt, Kansas has the second largest pool in the state. When I was little I thought that pool was huge. And I spent many, many wonderful afternoon swimming, splashing, screaming, drowning each other. And later on, boy-watching! Ah the memories.

We had a huge park. Lemon Park. Where the baseball diamonds were. Where my brothers played and we went to watch. Mom would park the car in the outfield and watch from the car. My sister and I would run around catching fireflies and chasing other kids. I remember one summer mom signed me up for
Lemon Park in Pratt
softball. I HATED it. I couldn't bat. I couldn't run. I couldn't throw. She only made me do it once, that I remember. But Lemon Park is where I went to Girl Scout Day Camp. Where we made sit-upons and other crafts. Where we cooked Girl Scout Stew in the campfire. Lemon Park had 117 acres to explore. And we did plenty of exploring.


Pratt, Kansas water towers were labeled sometime in the 1950's
News spread like wild-fire when the water tower over-flowed (do they do that still?) All the kids would flock to the park to stand under the water coming from the tower. So refreshing. So much fun.

I wonder, Where have all the children gone? Are they in the house watching TV. Playing XBOX. Texting on their phones. I am officially an old lady because I am missing the 'good old days'.

Do you ever wonder where the kids are when you are out and about? Do you see kids outside playing?



24 comments:

  1. I know a lot of parents who aren't able to take their kids to the parks and won't let them out of their yards unaccompanied by an adult. It's sad that neighborhoods don't feel safe anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sad that people don't feel their parks are safe enough to left the kids go play alone.

      Delete
  2. School is still in session here so that takes care of even the youngest students. I do see families at the playgrounds where I took my granddaughter, maybe not on a school night yet, but at least the playgrounds get used. The children are generally accompanied by adults. Some of the young kids get into organized activites in the summer, too. But . . . you an me, jacks . . . anytime!!! Pigs in the Pen, Pigs over the Pen, Baby in the High Chair . . . I just hauled out my jacks over the long weekend! Good hand-eye coordination practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was growing up my mom would not have ever gone to the park with us. She chased us out and we went on our own. Those days are in the past. Yes, I loved playing jacks. I should sit on the patio and practice my hand-eye coordination.

      Delete
  3. Our children aren't out of school, yet. However, I drove through some neighborhoods this morning, on an errand, and commented on the lack of pre-school children out on tricycles and bikes with training wheels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just don't think kids go outside much. They are inside with the IPAD on their lap!

      Delete
  4. Some of it is technology. Most kids, especially when they get older, just want to lose themselves in some type of virtual world.

    We also live in a world, however, where your neighbors can call Social Services on you for neglect if you let your child (age nine) walk to the park without adult supervision. Crazy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is crazy. Our world is filled with helicopter parents and parents who are too busy reporting their neighbors to social services. Sad! Sad! Sad!

      Delete
  5. Kids don't go out unsupervised anymore. And many are on the video games. (My brother recently grounded two kiddos from video games and iPads due to how much time they were spending on them. He made them go outside and play, but only in the yard.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what I am wondering. I see kids walking with their parents in the grocery store and they are so focused on their electronic device that they are staggering all over the aisles.

      Delete
  6. I do see kids playing in the playground on school days. But that is it. And sometimes they are running their scooters or bikes up and down the sidewalk. But we don't have a lot of little kids living on our block anymore.
    I spent so many days playing Jacks!
    My Mom once climbed up a water tower and swam inside the water (or so she says) - makes a good story anyway - LOL!

    Linda in VA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband said they did the same thing in a water tower in his high school days.....

      Delete
  7. You have wonderful summertime memories, Paula! I know, where are the kids? I agree with what everyone else said; I think the kids these days are so technology based they don't do much outside play or their parents are working and they are in various day cares.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind of sad for them, don't ;you think. Do you think someday a kid will write his memories of sitting in the air-conditioned house playing his video game?

      Delete
  8. A lot of the kids are indoors using their technology, no doubt about it. But we are fortunate on our street that there's a wonderful woman who has a home day care. *Those* kids are not being babysat by the TV. She has them outside winter, spring, summer, fall, doing something active - making snowmen, blowing bubbles, going for walks.

    Also, parents are more fearful and 'helicopterish' these days. What do you think of the 'free range' parents who have been under fire for letting their kids walk to/from the park alone?: http://gamergate.community/t/free-range-parents-who-let-their-kids-walk-home-from-local-parks-alone-cleared-of-child-neglect-in-1-case/1627

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there is nothing wrong with those free-range parents. Those kids will grow up and know how to handle themselves. However; with that being said, I am pretty over-protective of my grandkids and where they went when they were younger. Heck they all have cell phones now. If they got into any kind of trouble they just need to call for help. I don't know. I think it is sad. And I am afraid it is more technology than any other reason

      Delete
  9. All the children are in daycare centers while their parents are at work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful journey down memory lane, Paula! I can identify with so many of these, like collecting soda bottles (from inside the Dimpster Dumpster) to redeem for nickles and dimes. And swing sets, yes! You've got me wanting to scope out a sturdy set of swings and give it a whirl. One more time, with gusto!

    Technology's great but it can never replace the memories! Weren't we so blessed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think I was all that lucky when I was growing up!! But I do wonder what memories this generation of kids will have to pass down to their kids

      Delete
  11. I don't always see it, but I know some of the neighborhood kids play outside in their yards because we live in a rural area and don't have a nearby park. There is a family down the road that walk and ride bikes together once in a while. But, overall, I do think kids stick indoors with their technology far too often. It's not good for developing creativity and good exercise habits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are right! We are modeling the behavior our kids are following. And here I sit on the computer!LOL

      Delete
  12. I don't think I ever really noticed it. Probably because I'm childless. But you're right. Kids spend so much time indoors these days. I remember when I was young leaving the house in the morning and not coming back, except for a brief lunch, until the streetlights came on. That was our curfew: as soon as those lights came on, we hauled it home.
    I live across from a little park and a soccer field. Often when I go for walk, the swings and climbing gear sit empty. It's rare when I actually see kids playing at the park, except of course for the soccer games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how it is around here too Michele. Unless there is an organized activity going on the playgrounds are empty. So sad! We are a nation of kids that are missing out on the fun of being outdoors. Or of learning to live without their parents hovering near-by!

      Delete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!