After all, we had lemonade stands, drank from neighborhood lemonade stands, had many meals at church and community potlucks, ate pie from church pie stands at celebrations, stayed out after dark, were left home alone starting at age 10 or 12, played with tin toys, didn’t have car seats or seat belts and I probably could name many more things we did that you can’t do today without getting in trouble. Although, if we did get in trouble the people who saw our actions probably called our parents, and that was more trouble than a policeman being called.
The news the past few weeks has baffled me. First was the lemonade stand in a large city. The kids had to shut down their neighborhood lemonade stand because they didn’t have a permit. The permit cost $150. Really — a kid’s lemonade stand needs a permit like that? I don’t believe my community got on the bandwagon for lemonade stand permits. At least, I hope not.
Then there was the case of the family building a new house and camping out in tents on their land for the summer, who had their kids taken away from them because they did not have running water or bathrooms or electricity. I visited my grandmother when I was small and they didn’t have running water or bathrooms or electricity. I guess they were neglecting me too. They seemed to survive pretty good and so did I, I learned about Outhouses. There are camping grounds that don’t have water or electricity. What about those families who vacation at a campground for a couple of weeks? Are they neglecting their kids?
What about the 11-year-old whose parents also got in trouble because they weren’t home when their son came home? The son, locked out of the house for 90 minutes, decided to wait for his parents and shoot a few hoops in the backyard. The authorities said he was without emergency services, food and water because of being out of the house. Really?
In the back ages, my growing time, kids were babysitting at the age of 11, and it wasn’t unusual for kids to stay home by themselves. Other parents have left their kids to play alone at the park, and that apparently isn’t done now either.
My church used to have a pie stand at our local community celebration. Ladies from the church baked pies and everyone devoured them. The pies are now prepared in a commercially licensed kitchen or made by a commercial company. Many communities and churches have also stopped potlucks because of regulations.
My granddaughter, living in a larger city, wanted to have a lemonade and cupcake stand this summer. They too ran up against permit fees.
Homeowners back in the old ages didn’t have to check to see if what they planted or built on their lawns met code or was up to HOA standards. Next-door neighbors talked to each other, and most of the time it was live or let live.
Every day I read of something that boggles my mind. Today it was the patio of a restaurant in a nearby community, closed down for a time, because it didn’t have enough live plants. The business broke the rules of the city. Of course we want a safe world, but are we carrying things a little too far?
I am thankful I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s when summer months meant lemonade stands and long bike rides, playing kick the can after dark, and camping out in the yard where we could meander to others yards to meet with those friends that were camping out too.
I am thankful for all the potlucks and good food I was able to eat at community and church dinners and picnics in the park.
I am thankful for the freedom to stay at home by myself in my younger years. I am thankful I could explore barns and feed the chickens on our place that was on the edge of town. The place is still there but no one would be allowed to raise chickens, let alone have a pony in the barns that close to town.
I am thankful the church doors were open day and night allowing us to visit when needing comfort. I am thankful for school doors always being open during the day and the fact we didn’t have to fear violence in school.
I am thankful we could write our own plays and talent shows and perform in garages and charge admission and serve cupcakes.
I am thankful I was a child of the ’50s and the ’60s when life was less restricted and we could experience life with less restrictions, life our children and grandchildren will never know today. Life wasn’t always easy but it was simpler. Yes, the good old days — when kids would be kids, parents could parent and city governments weren’t worried about regulating lemonade stands