When I was pretty young, I was rummaging around in our barn and found a pair of old wooden skiis. I goaded my parents into buying me a pair of ski boots and ski polls and headed for the nearest hill. It was a hill upon which I also used to go sledding. In the summer it was a pasture for grazing cows. Sadly, they are gone today. Anyway, I pretty much taught myself to ski on that small slope and graduated to a larger hill in a different part of town that had a rope lift on it. My skiing career was launched.
Behind our house there were several large pine trees which I used to climb and eventually built a tree house and towards the top of the tree another ledge. I used to climb it all the time and look off into the distance at a nearby city and marveled at how far I could see. The summer also found me riding my bicycle, going to the swimming pond and fishing at the local lake. Also, every summer my father had a portion of our field plowed and made it into a vegetable garden. I loved helping him with it.
One day, right after a winter storm, a boy who lived next door told me we could earn a quarter if we went and shoveled a neighbor lady’s driveway. I was astonish because such tasks were always done without compensation at my house. Such non-compensated duties extended to lawn mowing and leaf raking, both of which I did, and actually enjoyed. To this day I enjoy such activity. But as with the snow shoveling, I learned that I could grow a bit of a business around the neighborhood by mowing lawns and raking leaves.
Some years later, I expanded my money making to delivering the local newspaper, a six day a week operation that cost each customer the enormous sum of 42 cents a week. Most people would give me 50 cents and tell me to keep the change. It was great! I never ran out of candy bars or Dairy Queen milk shakes. There was a Dairy Queen along my route.
Once I entered high school, things changed, though not greatly. Most Friday and Saturdays nights there was a dance held either at a local community center or the high school. Of course, this was before CDs so the music came via records. Everyone went to the high school football games in the fall, basketball games in the winter, and a smaller subset to the baseball games in the spring.
Television was not a big part of our lives because daytime tv was mostly soap operas and games shows. We did watch evening tv. The exception to afternoon tv were the Mickey Mouse Club and American Bandstand.
We boys seemed to know everything about cars including how to fix them. Many of us got jobs working in service stations when all gas was pumped by the service station attendant.
When I was a kid the big threat by my parents was being sent to my room. I think today’s threat is being sent outside.