Back when I was a kid we didn’t use seatbelts if we had them. I would lay in the back window of my Granddaddy Coy’s Chrysler Imperial where it was warm and I could see where we were going and where we had been. We put metal skates on our shoes and tightened them with a metal key. Then we went as fast as we could everywhere. I even got in trouble for wearing them in the halls of Homewood-Flossmoor High School my senior year of high school! So skating was a big thing for at least 10 years of my life. I don’t remember falling while skating but I do remember Mom brushing gravel out of my hands, knees and arms. I do remember hitting ice hard when ice skating on the pond down the street, across from Algonquin Elementary. Ice hurts when you are going fast and hit it hard. It shreads gloves, clothes and skin.
The most fun we had in the winter time was taking sleds and boxes and anything that would slide on snow and ice to ‘Frankensteins Hill.’ We called it that but in retrospect it was probably a utility building for the neighborhood. We just told the littler kids that’s where Frankenstein lived. We lived on a little neighborhood street called Algonquin, like the school. Not a lot of traffic used it, but whatever cars did come down that street, were big ones. This was the late 1960’s and compact car weren’t invented other than the VW bug, that we knew of.
Now in suburban Chicago, in an ‘All American Town’ like Park Forest IL, when it snowed it dumped feet of the stuff which was super fun for kids! Snow, a hill and things to sit on that would slide, kept us busy for hours, days, weeks and months! The snow plows would push the street snow and ice onto the sidewalks creating a wall to keep us from flying into the street. Or it would have, if we genius types hadn’t brought shovels to carve breaks in the wall. That way you could slide all the way down Frankenstein’s Hill, through the snow wall and across the street. Way better adventure! We were wise enough 4th graders to post sentries at the bottom to warn of cars coming, in which case we would wait for the danger to pass then tear down the hill again. Super fun! Don’t know how many times we missed the break in the wall and collided with said wall or how often we hit the break at enough of an angle to toss us from our sleds, dumping us onto the icy asphalt.
Then, there were bikes we rode, dares we took, and sports we played with no protections that are common now like helmets, knee and elbow pads. Just surveying the residual damage I can see in scarring and shin dents I am pretty sure this active kid took more than her share of normal daily kid activity abuse. That and the fact my brother Derek and I are on every page of Dad’s x-ray log book for years. One or the other of us were always getting phalanges, joints and various bones x-rayed to see what we had done that time.
I spent most of the summer after 4th grade in a crabapple tree reading books, eating crabapples and throwing them at people and passing cars. I was a rabid tree climber. I used to play in Mike Furr’s willow tree and even some poplar trees in our yard and all kinds of things by the elementary school. And we lived for the Aqua Center and swimming in the hot, sticky summer time! Have no idea how many times we fell running on the wet concrete, or hit our heads on the bottom, diving in too shallow of water.
It was a fun, carefree time, full of adventures. I didn’t even mention the railroad tracks, concrete culverts and such we weren’t supposed to be playing on… My brothers and I were very active kids. We left in the morning and were gone til dinner and Mom had no idea where we were, doing what!
But now, decades later, when I deal with chronic pain and loss of mobility and the effects of multiple brain injuries I have a couple of theories you can quote.
If you were ever a kid, you have a brain injury.
If you are awake you have ADD.
Who in this crazy, complicated, perpetually moving world isn’t highly distracted by everything around them? It has to be the ambient cause of unlimited daily stress. Judging by the things we do to ourselves to try to feel better, it’s out of control. I have found a few things that help without side effects. Saying NO. Getting chiropractic care, massages, acupunture and many other healthy modalities. Eating less of nasty things and more of ‘good for me’ things. Growing flowers, herbs and food plants. Spending time with the people I like to be with. Being creative. Consistently listening to The Listening Program and other ABT music. Getting outside and away from the computer. The last is a tough one, since I work 40 hours a week in front of one, then come home to do school work on another one and keep in touch with friends all over the world through it too.
Would love to read your comments about what you did as a kid and what you do to get rid of stress and chronic pain and the like…