Time To Come In

When I was a kid growing up in a very blue-collar housing development in upstate New York there were a lot of other kids to play with on my and adjoining blocks. I don’t remember any homework during my elementary school years—that didn’t start until 7th grade—what in “Upstate” in the ‘50s was called “Junior High School.” These days it appears kids have some sort of home work during at least some of their elementary school years.

Back then we didn’t. So after changing out of our “school clothes” into our “regular clothes” it was out onto the street to play games like hide & seek, tag, ringaleveo, baseball etc. until dark and suppertime.

Everybody had the same instructions—“you come home when the street lights come on.” In the fall as the days got shorter of course we came in earlier and earlier. Once in the house we had supper and then would settle in for the evening’s TV. My favorite week night show was “Superman” starring George Reeves. It was the one night of the week I was delighted to come in from the street.

In the particular community I now live in—a gated community—in central Virginia it’s pretty safe for little kids to chase around the streets. But I know in so many communities in this and other countries—it’s not safe for little kids to play unwatched.

That’s a shame. I have so many great memories of running around, playing games, hanging out at the neighborhood mom & pop grocery store with my friends. I suppose there’s some sort of trade-off—every age in the unfolding of a culture’s history has it’s good and bad points—but I can’t think what they would be these days as far as kids playing after school.

The featured image was taken last Friday on the Downtown Mall just as the sun had slipped below the horizon.  When I was editing this image, those long-ago days and the standing orders—came back to me. Nothing stays the same—historical time moves on with or without our approval—with or without discernible benefits—with or without Superman.

Check out this video. You old-timers will get a nostalgic chuckle. And as for you young whipper-snappers—well—prepare to be amazed.

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