I was tagged by the inimitable Shannon Wham of Books, Bytes, and Grocery Store Feet and fellow library goddess Fran Bullington of Informania to participate in the “Those Were the Days” meme in which we travel down memory lane and reminisce on things we used to do that were acceptable “back in the day” but are no longer sanctioned by today’s society. I don’t think my adventures are as exciting as those of Shannon and Fran, but here are my remembrances!
1. Reckless Riding: as a child, I rarely remember anyone wearing a seat belt. I also have distinct memories of riding in my dad’s lap and helping him “drive” on the way to church nearly every Sunday morning!
We were also frequently relegated to the open breezes of the truck bed during the summer as my Mom and grandmothers would haul us along for the weekly sojourns to Food Giant in Alpharetta for groceries or Cloth World in Roswell for fabric for Granny’s never-ending quilting projects. At times, we even rode in lounge chairs in the truck bed! I did narrowly miss breaking my nose around the age of 10 when my Mom drove down a slight ramp exiting the shopping world that housed Cloth World; as we went downward, my chair tipped over, causing me to hit my nose on my dad’s work shovel and to pass out. Thankfully, I escaped unscathed except for a swollen nose and a tiny scar that I still have to this day. In addition to these escapades, we had family friends who had a small station wagon; we frequently would ride unsecured in the “cargo” or “hatch” in the back. I look back now and think it is a wonder we never went through a windshield or something catastrophic.
2. Unsupervised Play: I grew up in a very rural part of Forsyth County in which everyone pretty much knew everyone. Although we lived off a major highway then known as Hwy. 9 or Hwy. 19, we never really worried about being abducted or attacked by child predators. We spent many hours playing outdoors with little or no supervision from my parents or grandmothers; no one thought anything if we vanished into the woods for a few hours. We also didn’t have a ton of “learning toys”; instead, a few basic dolls, stuffed animals, some strategic toys, and our imagination were the things that helped us to invent our own play for hours on end. We were quite inventive as we could utilize even my great grandmother’s snuff can lids to be a key player in our theater of creative play.
3. A World without Accelerated Reader: I grew up in a time in which children truly read for pleasure. We never picked books at the school library or at the local store with an AR level in mind; instead, we read books for the sheer joy of it. Not once did any of my teachers or librarians say to me, “You can’t read that because…”; instead, Ms. Joy Mauldin, our wonderful librarian at Midway Elementary, would introduce series of books or genres to pique our
interest and then turn us loose. I remember devouring the Bobbsey Twin books and discussing them with friends; I also got hooked on biographies in 4th grade. Whenever we went to Kessler’s in downtown Canton, I would go down a bank of stairs that seemed to magically descend into the children’s section that featured toys and books. It was a big treat to get the latest “Meg” mystery or latest addition to the Trixie Belden series!
I also recall with great joy the “Weekly Reader Book Club”; we had very little money growing up, but my parents always seemed to have the money for me to order all the books I wanted. I remember the delight I felt when the box arrived in Mrs. Slaton’s 1st grade room, and she unpacked all the books (and posters) I had ordered for that week! I actually still have all of those books to this day. We also enjoyed the “RIF (Reading is Fun)” book fair once a year; they always seemed to offer a fantastic fare of books, including fairy tale books with 3D covers! I did not need a quiz to motivate me to read for fun, and I truly believe I would not be the reader I am had AR been imposed on me.