The Things We Survived

on November 18, 2009 in Activity

There has been a message that has been going around the internet for a few years already. Last week it appears as a column in the local newspaper. You may have already seen this, but I wanted to post it anyway because I grow up during this time period and can relate to it. I have seen it titled “The Things We Survived”. I do not know who originally wrote it but I congratulate them on capturing the spirit of the times.

To all the kids (and Scouters) who survived the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight.

Why? Because we were always outside playing, that’s why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. — And, we were okay.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

We had friends, and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and – although we were told it would happen – we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of those born between 1925-1970, congratulations!

So, are you a survivor?

One Response to “The Things We Survived”

  1. Mike says:

    TO ALL THE KIDS WHO *DIDN'T* SURVIVE THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's

    Sorry you didn't make it out of the neonatal intensive care unit. They just didn't know that excessive drinking during pregnancy could cause so many physical problems.

    You were put to sleep on your tummies in baby cribs because they didn't know that you would suffocate and never wake up. Although they had more children, they still have an empty place in their hearts for you.

    They didn't know that second-hand smoke would cause your asthma, your cancer, and your death. They miss you terribly, and wish they could have stopped.

    They’re sorry they covered the walls with bright colored lead-base paints. But they didn't know that when you were hungry you would peel off the paint chips and eat them. And they didn't know that breathing the lead dust would prevent your brain from growing properly.

    You had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, and no locks on doors or cabinets, so when you were exploring the house and they turned their backs for just a minute, you got into them and a moment later they found you lying on the floor having convulsions. They rushed you to the hospital but the doctors couldn't save you, and you died in their arms.

    You never thought that a simple fall while riding your bike would have caused your brain to hemorrhage, swell, and leave you in a coma. They didn't know baseball helmets would have prevented the freak accident that cracked your skull and sent you to the hospital to die.

    As infants and children, you let them ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes, because you always thought that accidents happened to other people. You never dreamed they would happen to them. And there's never a day that goes by that they don't miss your smile and your laughter.

    Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat. They never thought that a small hole in the road would bounce you out and leave you lying on the ground, paralyzed for life.

    They’re so sorry, because if they had known back then what we do now, you would be alive today, celebrating your children's and grandchildren's birthdays.

    You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up healthy, because lawyers told the public of risks that some companies tried to hide; and because the government passed laws that forced corporations to put your health and safety ahead of their profits.

    The article is cited and times were different, but it is arguable whether childhood was “better.” Readers should not forget segregation and blatant racism, a lack of rape shielding laws, and an utter lack of women’s athletics. Cheery 1950s life is an American myth, please do not support it any further.

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