Kids Outside Playing

kids playing

Warning: nostalgia alert. When I was a kid we had three networks and about seven local television stations to watch on TV, and that was it. That’s right, there was no satellite television and cable TV was only available for the rich folks in Malibu Canyon. The local stations played the same insipid reruns over and over on a perpetual loop. (When I read Dante’s Inferno, I was surprised to find no mention of The Flintstones, I love Lucy, and Gilligan’s Island.)  It was a big deal when the networks played a classic movie like The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, or The Wizard of Oz.  And it only happened about once a year, so if your car broke down or you had to work late, that was just too darn bad. No VCRs. (Please forgive me if I’m frightening any of my younger readers.)

One Saturday morning when I was about nine years old, my sister Laura and I watched a strange and captivating movie, and then we did something kids used to do with great frequency—we went outside to play. Almost immediately our neighbors Stan and Scott Quackenbos emerged from their house. They had also just finished watching the strange movie.  Then Jason and John Powers joined us. (John was old; he was in high school.) Yes, we had all seen the same movie on tv, and we were talking about it face to face without the aid of electronic gadgets. A short while later, Dwayne Norwood, another high schooler, entered our cul-de-sac. He had trekked all the way down from Lynoak Drive to visit John.

“Man, I just saw the weirdest movie,” he said, and we all laughed.

The movie was Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors. And since we couldn’t google it, we just talked about it, outside on a beautiful sunny Southern California day.

(Yes, younger readers, believe it or not:  Before ratings-driven local news stations convinced parents that there was a pervert hiding behind every tree waiting to abduct us, suburban children were actually allowed to go outside and play all by themselves so long as we made it home before the streetlights came on.)

by Richard W. Bray

Tags: ,

One Response to “Kids Outside Playing”

  1. Play | Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

    […] used to tell their kids Just go outside and play Now they’re scared to let them out We lock them up all […]

Comments are closed.