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A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, November 2, 2012

Woodland creature

I think of that song, "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds (made recently famous by cover artists on Weeds) and think of it as anything but my life. I especially think of it as anything but my childhood.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s without a video game console. Often, we could not afford cable so we went without. Videos were a luxury. I didn't have a big wheels and didn't know what music was cool. We had a rotary phone until the late 80s and a tv without remote control until the late 90s.

Those young whippersnappers today, and even people my own age, are often aghast, I mean, what did I do all day for fun?

I look into the cities and suburbs with kids in organized playgroups or plugged into media 24/7 and think, what do they do all day for fun? They just are, to loosely quote Little Boxes, "and the people in the houses...they all came out the same."

I had an out of the box childhood and it was awesome.

I climbed up 200 foot tall cedars and built tree forts from scavenged wood and nails, and all at the young age of 9, little me building certainly unsafe structures 30 feet up. I added zip lines and rope swings and hammocks out of old sheets.

I threw handmade atl-atls (google it folks) and bows and arrows, used a dremel tool to carve designs into boulders, and wove sandals out of reeds. I made ineffective Co2 weapons and wooden airplanes that didn't fly.

I made bike jumps and sled jumps and added WD40 to my radio flyer which I sat in and used as a go cart since I had no one to pull me around.

I snacked on miner's lettuce, wild blackberries, and watercress when hungry and away from home.

I built lean-tos and dug snow caves, burnt sticks to make torches and charcoal writing utensils.

I played war and orphan, work camp, and caveman.

I panned for gold, made my own flashlights out of batteries, tape, and lift bulbs. I made doll houses and furniture out of old boxes, bags, paper towels, and scrap items. I hiked for hours unaccompanied and scrambled over rocks, scaled cliffs, and waded in icy cold springs.

On rainy days I would read voraciously, anything I could find, and did crafts and artwork with all forms of media. I might create a model of the solar system, make a blue print for a dream house, make my own one person dramatic play, or see together purses and pillows.

I grew up a woodland creature, a girl without gender role restrictions or too many safety concerns. If I had an idea, I did it without asking for permission or help. If I had a passion, dream, desire, or curiosity, I went for it. The world wa out there for me to embrace, and the trees and rocks in the forest were my playground.

So, I look onto towns of little boxes and see people just the same. Bored. I mean, what do their children do all day?


  1. I love this! I used to do some of those things (okay, the trees weren't 200 feet) but I loved being outside and climbing/building/running/pretending. But I also got a Nintendo (the first kind) in elementary school and had a lifelong love affair. That I don't think affected the rest of me too much. I don't think, anyway. But I do understand the way that those little boxes take most kids away from the outside stuff and I hate it!

  2. My mom used to sing that song to me when I was growing up and she would sing it when we drove through certain neighborhoods. I try so hard not to raise my children that way. But it is hard...we don't have woods and they are so strongly influenced by their peers and what their friends are interested in.

  3. Awesome! You grew up like I did, and I was a child of the 50s-60s. We roamed the streets until the street lights came on. We played baseball in the middle of the street, and climbed trees, and ate lunch a who's ever house we happened to be at. Our parents didn't worry a bit. They knew we were somewhere.

  4. I did many of these things as a kid! My Grandparents lived in the woods too...BONUS!
    Great write and thanks for the memories!
    ~Naila Moon


    PS>Following you!

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  6. Our childhoods were awesome! Good job blogging every day!