This is their little, very tiny, pool. I think we need something bigger…
Summertime…and the living’s easy

I LOVE the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong version of this song. It’s blue-sy and jazzy and it’s an all around great song. And of course, it reminds me of summer.

We went to a barbecue/swim party Saturday. It was your typical Southern California summer BBQ. At least 90 degrees, kids in and out of the pool and having a great time, lots of yummy baby back ribs, potato salad…and of course, ice cold beers!

Watching the kids play totally reminded me of when I was a kid. They were all running around in their bathing suits, in and out of the pool, getting water all over the chips and dips, hair drying in long, messy strands. And happy and laughing.

Me and my sister A, 1976

When we were kids, we had a pool in our backyard. Not the little pool in the picture above, but a real pool. I swear during the summer we’d be in it from morning till night. I don’t even think we ever had towels to dry off. We would just run around in the backyard when we were done swimming, and the water evaporated. Our friends down the street also had a pool, so we’d jump out of our pool, run down to their house, and jump in their pool.

When we got tired of swimming, we’d jump on our bikes and ride all over the neighborhood. The only rule was that we all were expected home when we heard the call for dinner (or when we got hungry…whichever came first), and again when the street lights came on. Most of the day, I don’t even think our parents knew where any of us were. There were a ton of kids on the street we grew up, and we all just kept moving from house to house.

When I think about those days, it still makes me happy. And now it makes me sad, too. Why? Because my kids will never experience any of what I just described. We don’t have a pool, so they won’t be in it all day long…but that’s not what I mean. I mean they won’t run up and down the street, back and forth to their friend’s houses unsupervised. They won’t jump on their bikes and just take off to wherever. They won’t roam freely until the street lights come on. They won’t even get to run around in their bathing suits.

Now, there seems to be crazy, sick, perverted people everywhere. When you turn on the TV, there’s another child missing, found dead, or found alive but only after surviving some horrible experiences. Real life boogy men seem to be multiplying in numbers and becoming more aggressive and deadly. Our kids won’t even be able to play in their own front yard if we aren’t out there because of the fear of them being “taken”.

I will know where they are 24/7. I won’t let them swim at some random friend’s house if I don’t know the parents. I will walk them to their friend’s house down the street. And don’t get me wrong…that’s good parenting! When we were kids (30+ years ago), it was a different time. And I kind of wish that my kids could experience it.

And so it goes…


  1. So true!! And perfectly writen. My mom would ring a cow bell when it was time to come in. My kids are going to be so sick of me by the time they are off to college.
  2. I agree with you. It sucks but it is true, there are so many bad people out there and it is hard to trust anyone. You have to be super protective of your kids and know where they are and who they are with.

    Man I wish that the world would be different. Where your kids and my future kids could experience what you did as a child.

    BTW your summers as a kid sounded like a lot of fun.
  3. Allyson & Jere says:
    Totally AGREED! You described my childhood EXACTLY, right down to the swimming from sun up to sundown. The thing that is most amazing to me is, the fact that our parents really didn't know where we were most of the time. I can't even imagine such a thing!

    Totally commented right after you on SITS, how fun!
  4. The scary thing is that the perverts were around back then too, but people just looked the other way.

    This day and age, people are paranoid. I wish oh so I wish that kids could run the streets without people thinking that the kids are going to be killed. Kids don't have that common sense either that we did back then. Don't talk to strangers, don't look at strangers and keep in groups.

    Even in Fl, I've seen gated communities where people keep their kids inside, it's really sad.

    I'm glad your kids are getting some sun! Enjoy the weather for me! (It's been raining)
  5. IT is sooo sad. I seriously bug my mom all the time. SHe literally didn't have to do a thing. We were outside, all day riding our bikes...we'd only come home for dinner and then bed time! ha ha

    Those were the days. Love the picture of you and your sissy!!
  6. Kristin Glasbergen says:
    There were crazy people around when we were little, only the news didn't focus on those kind of stories then, But still it is a different kind of parenting now. The more you know the better you do. I like to think that as the kids get older, I will be able to let them bike about less supervised.

    I grew up with a pool and it breaks my heart my kids don't have one. It's the top of my wishlist.
  7. Aging Mommy says:
    It is so very sad I completely agree and have written about myself, that children today cannot just go out to play. They are missing out on so much - some things I did not even appreciate until I read all about No Child Left Inside and the reasons why this program is considered so important. We have a little boy my daughter's age right next door yet they rarely get to play together and everything has to be coordinated - no just going off and knocking on the door.
  8. BuddyNotes says:
    So so true. I think about this same thing all the time. We had some neighbors that lived behind us (through the woods). We went back and forth all the time. My mom had an old fashioned dinner bell she rang. That's how we new to come home. It is sad that things aren't that way anymore but there are also alot of things that my son gets to do that we didn't so maybe it's a trade off?
  9. Funky Mama Bird says:
    I wish I could figure out how to give my son that kind of childhood! I remember it well. *sigh*
  10. Lula Lola says:
    This post really hit home for me. Adam, my oldest is eleven, and at his age, I was riding my bike all over town. I'd go to the pool with friends and spend the whole day. We'd play hide and go seek all over town on bikes. Ride uptown to mainstreet and get a slush from the dime store.
    Friends were out and about everywhere. I always had someone to play with. And it wasn't playdate style. I'd just go knock or call and tell them to start walking/riding and I'd meet them half way.
    When we went places, amusement parks, waterparks, whatever, we'd have a time to meet back with our parents. And would have to just ask strangers what time it was so we'd know.
    Yesterday, I took the boys to the waterpark and let Adam go to the slide next to the one the other two were on. I was so nervous about letting him go that far from me in that size crowd. But, other kids were doing it and I felt rather paranoid making him stay right beside me and the little ones.
    There just seems to be so much more in the way of danger than we realized back then.
    It's hard to even have a clue about what's safe and what isn't. And at what age they should be allowed freedom and how much. Yikes, this parenting is so hard!
    I miss the good old days when you just came home for supper!
  11. Pumpkin and Piglet says:
    So true and it's sad. I had the same kind of childhood but the thought of letting Piglet go off for hours on end terrifies me (I know she's too young but you know what I mean!). Yes, the same types of people were around then as they are now but we are so much more aware of it. To not act on that knowledge would be wrong. It's got to be about balance though, to wrap our children in cotton wool is also wrong and (I feel) no help to them in the long run - it's hard to know where that balance is.
  12. first, i love that you have your old school, retro photos! i, too, have memories of riding bikes with nothing but bathing suits and sandals! ha!

    it is a shame our kids can't have the same childhood.
  13. Courtney says:
    I've said this pretty recently - wish my kids could experience some of the simpler times when we left our doors unlocked, played outside all over the neighborhood til well after dark, etc. What a shame. LOVED the pics!
  14. I remember those days...they were the best. I was the same the pool in the morning and had to be called home for dinner...I kinda hope that we end up in a neighborhood that I can trust and my kids will be able to run around.
    love that photo...too cool!
  15. the mombshell says:
    I love the look on your one little guy's face, like he's saying "Are you kidding me with the size of this pool!"
  16. Apparently my neighbors didn't get the press release that this isn't the world we still live in as they have no idea where there children are half the time. If I could trade you for them, I'd start hand digging the pool now.
  17. Megan (Best of Fates) says:
    Ooh, I love little child pools - such great memories.
  18. Mrs.Mayhem says:
    It is sad that times have changed, and childhood is not quite so innocent anymore.

    We're lucky enough to be literally surrounded with my daughters' best friends (next door on both sides and across the street). The kids do run between those houses, but I am always certain to be outside when they are. The risks are just too high in this day and age.
  19. WeeMasonMan's Mom says:
    Studies actually show that violent crimes like those you mention are way down compared to 20+ years ago. I really don't think that kidnapping/murder/rape is any more prevalent than it was during "the good old days" but rather, media is - we have these stories shoved into our faces 24/7 through our phones, the internet, the tv, the radio, etc etc etc and it just makes it seem like it's happening way more than ever before when in reality, it's not.
  20. That picture of you and your sister is AMAZING. Please tell me it's framed.
  21. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:
    I have the exact same sadness for my kids. Except we don't have pools, nor did I when i was a kid. Still though - I suppose it's up to us to make their childhoods happy ones, supervised and all!
  22. I think about exactly what you've just described sometimes. It just seemed so much safer when we were kids. I don't think my parents ever worried for a minute about where we were even though we'd be gone literally all day, without a cell phone or anything to call or text them on. Makes me sad too. I'm almost to the point where I don't even trust my son going to school. But I know when the time comes, I'll have to let go, at least just a little.
  23. Ms. Understood says:
    First of, my husband took me to the opera to see Porgy and Bess for my birthday and I heard that song for the first time. It is simply beautiful.

    I LOVED my days growing up when my little brother and I would take the dog for a walk all through the neighborhood and would be gone for hours and our parents didn't even bat an eye (and didn't have to). I would NEVER let my child out of my sight like that.I'm so sad that they will never be able to enjoy that innocence.
  24. The Paper Mama says:
    So sad. I totally wish I would be comfortable with Ruari walking around the neighborhood when she's older alone. I just don't. We did all the time when I was little. Cute photos!
  25. You know what?

    We moved from California to Oregon to give our children more of what we had ourselves as children in terms of freedom. And guess what? It can be found.

    The girls are stretching their legs and exploring the neighborhood. They are learning how to make decisions for themselves about who and what makes them uncomfortable. They wander the neighborhood with all the kids in our area. They ride their bikes all over the place. They check in with me, but they are very independent.

    Just so you know, they are 11 and almost 9.

    I don't want to be the sort of mom who is there for every single second of her children's childhoods.

    I really don't.

    And my girls? They are loving Oregon.

    It is a whole different world than the one we left behind in California.
  26. So sad, yet so true. It's a very different world now.

    Nice post and I love the jazzy - Summertime tune too. It was my ring tone forever! Maybe I should change it back.
  27. You are sooooooooooo right and it is truly sad. I've been lamenting this myself lately. You barely see kids out any more......all that joy of kids and summer is lost. I used to cross the street and go to a big athletic field across from my house as a kid. (it was built as a high school field).It was safe. Everyone did it. I wouldn't dare let my daughter do that! Not now!

    On another note, thank you ever so much for your kind comment, which I truly appreciate.
  28. I remember the days of the kiddie pool. Awesome!
  29. so true, i think most of us feel that way...i have relaxed about letting my kids run around outside quite a bit now that they are older, but i do think modern parents are much more aware of what could potentially happen than our parents were, even if crime itself isn't more prevalent.
  30. My childhood was the same way. Each of the mom's in our neighborhood had a different whistle and we would just listen for it. It makes me sad that my (future) children won't have a childhood like that. But it's for their own good.
  31. Tylaine says:
    Yes it is sad that things arn't the way they used to be and we can't even let our kids out alone in our front yard. What else can ya say? It's really terrible that things have come to this. I mean I can't even imagine wanting to hurt a child but yet that kind of thing is gettin' so prevalent in society today. Kind of makes me wonder why? I mean people are still the same but it's society that's changed.
  32. Christy says:
    You know, I think it depends on where you live. In the neighborhood ... well apt. complex we live in now I let my 2-year old run up and down the sidewalk with friends while I sit on the steps. Hopefully one day we will move to a nice large neighborhood that I trust and feel safe in and I will let my girls go to neighbors houses and ride their bikes because I will know the neighbors and I will know they are safe. I don't want them to grow up without having those experiences and learning life lessons like how not to skate down a big hill in roller blades.
  33. Oh ... amen and amen! The BoogieMan is real and that is so terribly sad!
  34. So true! I was thinking about this tonight as I was driving through our neighborhood. I saw some kids, about 8-10 riding their bikes. And thought "my kids won't be allowed to do that, not without me." Because times have changed.

    Thanks for linking up!


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