Growing Up Without Adult Supervision

I pulled this comment of Brain’s from a recent post here on LPB, “The Ramey AFB O’Club Pool.”  It captures the “essence” of my youth:

“Jeez, I swam there almost every day from 1961-1964!   Used to go to swimming practice at like 5 in the morning by myself.   Yes we’d wander the base completely unattended.   Go to the beach.   Where ever we wished.”

I can say this of living at Kadena (’53 – ’55), Davis-Monthan (DM) (’55 – ’57) or Ramey (’57 – 60.)  I had a childhood that was magic!  Probably not much unlike of many other “Brats.”

At Kadena, we played in the “boonies,” that we were told not to go into.  The habu’s didn’t mind.  At DM I played on obsolete airplanes in the ‘Boneyard,’ that we were told to stay out of.  And I logged my first (and only) 12 “Kills” in those old airplanes!  And at Ramey, we dug for lead at the firing range, we were told to stay away from.  Melted down that lead made great fishing weights.  Westover (’60 – ’62) was kinda boring, but at Chambley AFB, France, (’62 – ’63) we played in blown up WW II German bunkers.  Of course, they were “Off limits!”  And I (we) survived without continued “adult supervision!”  How did I (we) do that?

We didn’t destroy things as kids; we just played – outside!  From when Mom tossed us out of the house until the street lights came on.  Or maybe a little longer on clear nights when we would lay in the grass and stare at the stars…

Reflecting upon my childhood saddens me when I think about my grand kids.  They will never know the freedoms or the liberties I had as a kid.  Too damned many people these days “protecting them” for their own good!  Too much damned control!  If I were a kid today I would be incarcerated (for my own protection) by 3rd grade!  At 9 I was carrying my own pocket knife – and I carried one until “9/11.”

So, rather than anguish what my grand kids will never have, what they will never know, I tend to retreat into the recess of my mind, and savor the childhood I had…

“Play dates?”  Katie, Delaney, Garrett, Riley, Noah and Evan are SO screwed!  And they will never know it…

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