I grew up in the 80’s in Charleston, SC. During the school years I would be at school in the city and during the summers….you found me at my grandma’s house in the country. The real country….I’m talking cows, chicken, planting all the veggies, tractors, scarecrows, gas tanks, and clothes lines for days. I would get up at the crack of dawn and help my grandma in the fields picking, planting, and fixing fences. In the evenings you would find me putting the clothes on the line to dry and fixing something outside. I was cutting grass at the age of 8 and I mean acres with a walking lawnmower. I would be washing dishes by hand because I didn’t know what a dishwasher was until high school and I would be folding clothes from that line daily. I grew up working hard for everything…we didn’t have the luxuries that a lot of other people had. I grew up pretty poor but we had family, friends, and always good fresh food. You know the kind that didn’t get you sick like today. The kind where folks weren’t getting cancer at a high rate…you know the kind of food I’m talking about.
After all the work was done I would always spend evenings under the oak tree or the pecan tree in my grandma’s yard and read a good book. My grandma didn’t have TV so there was no tv watching when I was little. I had to have my head in a book. Some evenings after I finished my book my grandma would tell me stories about her kids (my mom included) and I lived for those stories because I knew my mom wasn’t as good as I thought she was. If I wasn’t reading or listening to stories I was climbing trees or playing school with my stuffed animals. Those were the good ole days of childhood. I never had to worry about getting hurt in the streets because I could ride my bike in the yard, I never had to worry about gunshots because it was the country. The only time people were shooting was to get that night’s dinner….or if someone was breaking into their homes. It was rare that robberies happened because people talked to each other and looked out for each other. Everyone would look out for the neighborhood kids…and you would have the various older folks who either tell on you or give you a stern warning. Sweet tea and lemonade was the talk of the south and rocking chairs on the front porches was where you would find people at. Those were the days and those are the times I miss.
The one thing I miss about childhood is the peace that came with not having to worry about life. You see….I never knew of people killing others so much because we didn’t have a tv so I never watched the news. I was not aware of all the mess that was going in the world. I didn’t know about the killing, the stealing of folks kids, the rapes inside the homes with family members, etc. I was not aware of the pain that others went through because you see I didn’t go through it. I was allowed to be a child. One that worked hard as hell (which is why I refuse to lawn my own yard these days or wash dishes…and if someone mentions hanging clothes outside I act like I am not young enough to know these things) but also knew the innocent of what it was like to be a child.
These days though it’s different kids aren’t kids anymore. They aren’t what I am use to. They learn how to use a tablet at the age of 1 and by 8 most have cell phones…yes their own. My daughter knows how to get on youtube and search for stuff and did it since she was 5 years old. My son who is 11 has his own phone because when I called the parents to see what he was up to the parent said let me call my son to see where they are at and my child was the only one without a phone….I fell into peer pressure with that one lol but it’s also good he has one because I do need to keep up with him without having to call extra folk. The days are gone where kids did hard work….let’s not lie these kids don’t do half the stuff we did as a child. They are spoiled rotten and mine are in that loop. They feel things should be given to them and they don’t know the value of hard work. I am trying to change that around my house by incorporating chores and turning off electronics so that my kids can actually touch a book….feel it…….flip the pages….dammmit I don’t care what they do just get off the devices. It’s so bad in my home that they bring it to the table while we eat and I had to cut that out. Some kids will even cry if you take the phone from them…..(my son has done this often and I have learned to tune him out…cry…tears are good) What happened to having an innocent childhood. My kids can’t play outside because I worry someone will come and snatch them up, my kids can’t ride their bikes in the street because folks don’t care about neighborhoods anymore. There is no more sitting on front porches and sipping tea…unless there is a cell phone nearby. There is a new generation of kids these days who will never know the childhood I had.
That’s why I am so glad for brands that have stuck around for years like Oshkosh, Jergens, Dove, and all the other well known products that we use. After seeing my kids on their phones one evening last week. I decided to get up and leave the house…and all the phones (mine included) and go for some ice cream…my son was like…say what. Yes leave the gotdamn phones and let’s go get ice cream. I even got my daughter to do a mini photoshoot and had some fun with my camera. This is childhood!