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When I Was A Kid…

Jeff Linamen

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With my sister in 1967.

With my sister in 1967.

I spent most of my childhood, growing up in a small town in Florida.

When I was a kid…

  • We played outside.
  • We played outside without our parents having to watch us.
  • We played Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers or War. (and never really thought about actually owning a gun!)
  • We dug in the dirt.
  • We made forts and hideouts on empty lots with brush and debris.
  • We rode bicycles for hours. (Without helmets.)
  • We sometimes built a fire and slept in a tent in the backyard.
  • We were often barefoot.
  • For special entertainment, we played outside at our cousins’ houses.

When I was a kid…

  • We had daily chores like dusting and washing dishes.
  • We read books. My sister and I checking out 20 books at a time from the library.
  • We learned how to grow vegetables in a garden.
  • We saved our allowance all year so we could buy Christmas presents for our family.
  • If we wanted candy or ice cream, we picked up pop bottles and cashed them in for their deposit at the nearby convenience store.
  • We did our homework without being told. (And it actually affected our grades.)

When I was a kid…

  • If we had fast food it was a special occasion. A sit down restaurant was an event.
  • We watched television less than 3 hours a day.
  • When we wanted to look something up, we used the encyclopedia.
  • Telephones had cords and were only used for important (short) conversations.
  • We wrote letters and mailed cards for birthdays and holidays.
  • Dessert was a rare treat not a daily source of nutrition.
  • We drank water from the tap (or even from the hose). We had pop/soda no more than once a week.
  • Other than going to the grocery, shopping was only something you did for school clothes and at Christmas.
  • If there was something you really wanted, it didn’t magically show up at the end of the day. If you were lucky in might show up under the Christmas tree.
  • We didn’t hang out at the mall or see all the current movies. (I can count the movies I saw growing up on my fingers.)
  • We learned to draw, write, and made and built things with our hands.
  • We knew how to use our imaginations.

When I was a kid…

  • We didn’t have computers, or Internet, or Smart Phones or cable TV.
  • If we wanted to communicate, we opened our mouths.
  • Safety was something you did, not a government mandate.
  • Teachers weren’t babysitters, they were actually allowed to teach class.
  • We didn’t always lock our doors.
  • Black Friday didn’t start in July.

When I was a kid…

  • We loved our country and believed in the American Dream.
  • Politicians were intelligent and respected– they were our heroes.
  • Congress did something.
  • We weren’t afraid of Police. They were there to help us.
  • Guns were only used by soldiers, police and hunters.
  • Most families we knew only had one working parent, with one job and they were able to live comfortably.
  • We were taught honesty and hard work were the keys to success.
  • We thought people were just people regardless of color, class or religion.
  • You could believe what you heard on the news.
  • Everyone wasn’t out to get you.

Then we grew up…

And everything changed.




  1. Oh how true. The world has lost out on so much children are no longer children.


  2. But how did you survive the fire ants? Also, I wonder what this list would look like if you were black.


    • jlinamen1229 says:

      Fire ants were avoidable– most of the time. And great observation/question with the “what if you were black”. I’m sure much of the list would have been different. It was one of the reasons I posted “small town in Florida” realizing the list would be different depending what region, city-size, etc. would also make a difference.


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