Interesting Obit

Hi Readers! Here’s the passing of a man AND an era. Sent in by a reader named Kelley. (And sorry about the light type. The computer did that and I can’t change it back!) – L
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Dear Free-Range Kids: I usually don’t usually read the obituaries, but occasionally one will catch my eye & I will read it. This morning, I happened to read this one, about an 84-yr old man who passed away, and this part really caught my attention:
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“As a young boy, his passion was for camping and fishing…. He loved to share the story of how he and his young buddies would be dropped off on Lake Down….to fish and camp for days at a time. ‘My Pop would just check on us every few days and leave a loaf of bread in case we didn’t catch enough fish.'”
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Wow, I can imagine if that happened today, how quickly Child Services would be called in. — Kelley
 

 

42 Responses

  1. Here’s another one from the olden days (1920’s). My dad was in a Boy Scout troop near New York City. The troop (young teens) wanted to go to Washington D. C. but had no money. The leader dropped them off along a highway by the Southbound lane, and each boy hitchhiked to Washington D.C. Then he hitchhiked himself there. They came back the same way. Don’t know how they found lodging in DC, maybe stayed with other scouts?

  2. PS Not that this was an especially good idea!!!

  3. my dad told us he used to go to the railroad tracks and hop trains to nearby towns. then he’d either hop another train back or hike back through the woods. he would do this on the days he skipped school🙂

  4. Your childhood paves way to your adulthood. What you were taught, and how you are raised will be the cornerstone of who you will turn out to be. Sure you can change when your older and realize that you don’t like the person you’ve become, but it does take longer, and it is harder. As most can plainly see, bad habits are hard to break.

    To all the heli-parents, just because it makes YOU feel better sheltering your child, it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, and definitely doesn’t make it right for your kids. You have to tell yourself, remove YOUR fears and doubts, and then ask yourself what will happen when your kids have to move on, but are as fearful as you, and lack the confidence, motivation, and experience to tackle the real world when they have to go off on there own. That’s whenever ever they decide when they feel comfortable leaving the nest, there are some of these sheltered kids that still live at home in their 30s. Virgins, with very little to no social skills. Seriously. I knew a couple of these guys.

  5. Friend of mine was born in 1962 and grew up in what was at the time a fairly rural area of TN (although less than 10 minutes outside of Nashville these days). There was a creek that ran in front of his house that he used to go fishing and swimming in as a kid – unattended. About age 12, his parents were driving out to go visit family a few counties over one summer. He asked if he could hike the creek out to their place as it ran close to their property as well. So, he left a week before they did and hiked the creek, fished for dinner (and had his gun to get a squirrel or rabbit with if fishing didn’t work out), and camped out along the creek bed. He met up later with his family. Kids these days wouldn’t even be allowed to do this in a group setting, much less all by themselves.

  6. These stories are so interesting. My dad recently told me that when he was 12, he took off on his canoe and canoed to an island and stayed there by himself for the weekend. He fished and made a fire and took care of all of his needs by himself. Apparently he did this frequently as a young teen.

  7. @ JB: not initially the best idea. But if one uses common sense, along with street smarts, it’s not that bad. I’ve hitchhiked a couple of times. But for both times, I didn’t get in the first car that stopped. I always assessed the driver before hopping in. I turned down a few before getting in the one I thought more safe and reliable.

    It’s like we always say here, Free Range isn’t about letting our kids do whatever and whenever. It’s about teaching them how to be smart, use common sense, and logic. And to use those tools when they explore the world around them, when they talk to strangers, when they are seeking help.

  8. Indeed, how times have changed. No wonder people just assume nowadays that the Nanny State needs to take care of everything, from womb to tomb.

    About a year ago, I was taking my kids on a shortcut to our local park, which is 1 mile up & down hills the regular way. It can be boring to walk a mile down the suburban streets with a couple of short-legged 3-year-olds. The shortcut is through the ravine in our backyard (which is shared with many neighbors). We’d done this a few times before. Well, on this day, a lady along the way was in her backyard as we were hiking along the deer path at the edge of the ravine. Ms. Neighbor refused to let us pass, because in her opinion, it was not safe. I told her we’d done it before and it’s just fine, but no. She would not allow it. Since my kids were watching my reaction, I bit my tongue and took them via a more difficult shortcut.

    It’s bad enough that parents are encouraged to baby their kids. But when we recognize the need to expose our kids to more challenging activities, we find that often, we aren’t allowed to. Someone threatens to call the cops, whatever.

    There are so many things I would like to go back and say to that lady. For example: you might want to remember that THESE KIDS are going to be supporting you when you’re in the old folks home! Do you really want them to grow up lazy and incompetent? And also: are you seriously telling me that you never strayed from the sidewalk when you were young?

  9. Oh, and when I was 9, I used to ride my 10-speed bike down the so-called Motorcyle Hill – which was quite steep. After a few times, it got a little ho-hum, so I went down the even steeper, rougher part that no adult (even drunk) dared ride a wheeled vehicle down. I couldn’t get any of my friends or siblings to follow me down that one.

    That was pretty much how I addressed life, until I was old enough to buy my own health insurance.

    Not sure why, but I got through my whole childhood without a single broken bone.

  10. My dad was born in 1915 and was raised in Sheridan, Wyoming. He and is brothers were sent out into the prairie with a rifle to shoot prairie chickens for the evening meal, starting at about age 10.

    Everywhere they went they walked, rode a horse, or drove a wagon with team because they couldn’t afford cars.

    Oh, and just a side note, a few years earlier some crazy killed a whole family at a nearby farm, so it is not as if there was no crime in the olden days. It is just that people couldn’t afford to let fear paralyze them.

    I am not advocating for handing children guns and making them go shoot dinner. But a society halfway between that and where we are now would be nice. Obviously 10 year olds are capable of a bit more than we currently allow them to do.

  11. Mom wants daughter to take bus home from school. School told kid: “Mom’s wrong. It’s dangerous.” School knows BETTER? http://bit.ly/fN1BlM 1 hour ago

    That link doesn’t work at all, Lenore🙂

  12. @SKL: If you were with your kids and your “Ms. Neighbor” wouldn’t let you pass, I would have told her to take herself and her nosy ass back to her house as you are the parent and capable of rearing your own children. Stuff like that makes me red hot, I tell you.

  13. Uly, Livejournal has been having problems for the past few days. (Up and down, up and down it goes.) Check again in a few hours.

  14. @Nicola and SKL. If the ravine was on her property, she’d be legally responsible if something happened. Unfortunately, what she did was common sense in our litigious society.

  15. Nicola, I wasn’t sure if I was on her property, though. What I really should have said was, “Isn’t it illegal to feed deer” (which is what she was doing at that moment). But again, little pitchers . . . .

    And oh, don’t worry, I was boiling. I had to restrain myself from dragging my kids by their arms for the next 10 minutes, LOL.

  16. Krolik, I don’t agree that she’d be legally responsible. You aren’t responsible if someone comes onto your property and gets hurt unless you have done something to increase the chance of that happening. It wasn’t like she built an attractive nuisance out there, or invited us there to climb. We were trespassers. She could have gone on minding her business or even said, “if you fall it’s not my problem.” But she dug in.

  17. My grandfather fought in WW2 when he was 14 (lied about his age to do it, but still…). And he said that everything he knew about surviving through it came from the Boy Scouts.

  18. My dad as a teenager used to go camping in the desert with his friends, all of them bristling with guns and knives bought at the army surplus store, and shoot the hell out of anything they could find. On one trip, they lost all their food to animals on the first night and were stuck out there with nothing to eat for the entire weekend. They tried and failed to shoot a jackrabbit (my dad said it looked like WWII as all of them blasted away with shotguns, and the jackrabbit not only escaped, but turned and looked back at them mockingly before it disappeared from sight) and finally just had to wait for the dad who had dropped them off to come back at the appointed time and collect them. When the guy arrived, they told him their sad story, and he laughed and told them to get in the truck so he could take them to a diner for some food. So, a group of teenage boys, armed to the teeth, alone in the desert with no food and no way to contact anyone–and not only did they survive, but it just got laughed off afterward. Definitely a different time. (Not all that long ago, either; it was the early 60s, not the turn of the century.)

  19. @SKL: You have more restraint than I do. I would have said something to that woman, and I would have let my kids hear me. I would keep it as civil as possible, unless the other person made it more of an issue. I have put people like that in their place inthe past, and in front of the police. There’s always a right way and a wrong way to address issues like this. Most times, the other party is the one that starts blowing up first, which is fine, because at least people see who the irrational one is. And the great thing about cops in my city, no matter how nice or how arrogant they are, they don’t argue with logic. But the whole point of that exchange is to let my kids know what stupidity and ignorance looks like, and how to deal with it. I explain everything I do to them. If they ask me a question, I tell the straight up the correct answer. They haven’t asked the “sex” question yet. But when they do, I wouldn’t be telling them the story about the birds and the bees. But it would still be a PG version of the real way. lol

    @Nicola: That’s probably more of the direction I would go. “You talking to me? Are you talking to me?” lol

  20. Oh, it’s an LJ link? No wonder it wasn’t working! LJ has been under DDOS attack for, as you said, the past few days.

  21. I often wonder what on earth we will do if the “end” does really come – I mean a major disaster where we are forced as people to have to fend for ourselves for a long period of time. Back in the “old days” people were taught just how to do that. Not only that, they would have helped each other through it. Nowadays; however, I doubt most people would have the first clue. That’s probably why we see so much looting going on when anything does happen in this country. I also have wondered why so many of the movies picturing life after a “world changing event” make it look so brutal, where everyone seems to become violent and criminalized – and everyone else is victimized. Probably the same reason. In trying to become so “civilized”, I think we have actually become the opposite. We have become uncivilized. I shudder to think….

  22. In the early 70s my friends and I routinely backpacked a few miles into the swamps of north Florida to camp out. We started in the third grade, so that’s what? 9 or so years old? By Junior High we were hopping trains to get around.

    I’ve tried to get my kids to do this, but they aren’t so keen on the idea. So in this case, it’s not the overprotective parents, it’s the kids themselves. I even showed them how to ride the train gates up and down, but no takers.

  23. That sort of happened to me when I was a kid. I joined some group call the Woodmen Rangers for kids whose parents bought them life insurance. On our one campout the leader dropped us kids off at some campground and picked us up again a couple of days later. It actually all worked out OK and I don’t remember a ruckus, but I realized later that the campout was pretty strange.

  24. Lovely thoughts. I think heli-parents are stuck believing in the romanticized view of the past of Norman Rockwell persuasion. Bad things still happened then. People dealt. Nowadays we are blessed with technology that when used intelligently should keep us safer. Cell phones, for example. But even those are abused by heli parents. They’re just not good enough.

    My husband grew up on a ranch. Once his baby brother got loose for a short time and managed to get into a water tank that was as protected as could be. He drowned. Nothing much more could have been done. Freak accident. The family’s safety levels altered little after this.

  25. I could only wish my boys could grow up in a world where they can learn and discover without my husband and I over them 24/7? We have to wrap our lives around them because of the world we live in…

  26. My father is a WWII veteran. He used to go on hunting trips with younger brothers and friends at age 8,carrying the younger ones piggyback when they tired and finding a place to spend the night by knocking on a stranger’s door out in the woods of Oklahoma. It’s what “country folk” did.

    He also said his Boy Scout experiences and reading The Call Of The Wild saved his life when his plane crashed in an isolated area in Alaska during the war.

    We all would like to believe our sons – and daughters – will never HAVE to know how to survive. My husband thought he would be a cute surfer guy all his life, but instead found himself in hand to hand combat during the Vietnam war.

    I used to discourage my sons from playing with guns or fighting, but stopped that practice when the country went nuts cheering on the first Gulf War like it was a High School football game. I thought the people of this country would NEVER allow another Vietnam.

    But I was wrong.

  27. Great observation Kelley. There is something so wholesome about just going back to basics right? Fishing, camping and a loaf of bread…..

  28. @SgtMom — Good to see you back! I remember once before you wrote about how your husband’s “cushy” life came to an end when he was drafted into Vietnam.

    The negative experience of Vietnam for “regular” people like him, directly led to the abolishment of the draft. That sounds like a nice idea, and made complete sense at the time, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s what directly led to the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. When EVERYONE’S son is affected by the government’s decision to go to war, the populous will be less eager for it. But when it’s someone else’s son — and, by the by, they signed on the dotted line voluntarily (never mind the decision was just as likely to be financially, rather than ideologically, motivated) — that’s fine.

    I also sometimes wonder if some form of conscription (be it military or civil) wouldn’t be a positive thing to build character in young people. The man in this obit served in WWII, as did my father. Obviously, because he’s my father, I’m bias, but you couldn’t wish for a kinder, fairer, more civic minded man. In this obit, it seems this man also possessed a sense of duty “The strong take care of the weak,” he said, they wrote.

    Maybe compulsory service forces young people to realize “it’s not just about you”. But maybe it’s just a waste of time and money. Guess we’ll never really know for sure. It’d be too difficult to prove, one way or the other.

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  30. It seems that the part in “Hansel and Gretel” about ditching kids in the woods was common practice, after all…
    Maybe the father brought them the bread so they didn’t have to resolve to approaching that colourful, edible house over there, with the kind, cackling lady out front😀

  31. My mum grew up in rural Slovakia in the 50s and 60s and walked a long way to school every day from about six, and used to go to the shops to run errands for her mum quite often.

    She frequently hitchhiked as a teenager, but admits she was pretty lucky she was never molested when she was somewhat drunk after a dance… she once was picked up by a truck full of lads from a farm in the early hours who gallantly took her home and saw her safely to bed – she says that could easily have turned out differently!

  32. Times really have changed in that regard. I would’ve loved something like that as a kid though. Sheer bliss!

  33. Don’t have any fun previous generation camping stories. My dad grew up in Chicago in a neighborhood that was slowly getting rougher. The story he likes to tell about how times have changed is when he was about 6 or 7 (so early 50s) it was his responsibility to walk the mile or so to the coal yard to pick up a load of coal for his aunt’s furnace. He’d get up, dress himself and haul his Radio Flyer wagon out of the yard then walk down the street (no idea how many blocks that is) and have them load the wagon up with coal. Then he’d walk to his aunt’s house and unload it into the coal shoot for her. She’s give him hot chocolate and cookies for being a help and send him on his way home where his mother or father would have breakfast ready for him.

    Amazing what kids CAN do. Now, not only would a 6yo not be allowed to wander that far from home for safety reasons, they’d be told they CAN’T do that because they aren’t capable which is bull.

    I’m constantly amazed at the things my kids do that I’ve taught them that other people say kids are not capable of doing. Like laundry. They say a 7yo isn’t capable of understanding how to do laundry. Bull. I taught my kids at 6 1/2, 7 1/2 and 9. The 6yo had issues remembering how to set the machines and reach the soap but she tried. The other 2 did their laundry start to finish on their own for a year with no issues. It’s not rocket science.

  34. Jen, I am so excited for the day my kids can do their own laundry. I’m already working on my 2 1/2 year-old. She puts the clothes in the washer for me, and helps sort them to put them away.

    I don’t have any great stories about this stuff, either, but I think the obit was wonderful.

  35. My great uncle wrote an autobiography. In it, he discusses how his parents were raised.

    When my great-grandmother in Sweden was ten, her parents ran out of money. Her father left for migrant work. Then, her mother had to take the baskets that she’d woven off to Germany to sell them.

    They left my ten-year-old great-grandmother home – to take care of her 8-year-old and 2-year-old siblings. She had to milk the cow, kill chickens, make all of the meals, keep the house clean, and keep the fire stoked to heat the house.

    I wouldn’t want to have my ten-year-old do that now. But, it sure does show that kids can step it up when it is necessary.

    Everyone managed fine, great-great-grandmother sold enough baskets to return in six months.

    Everyone lived to tell the tale.

  36. Young children (6 – 10) are perfectly capable of doing many things that we deem unreasonable or unsafe by today’s standards. A sad example are the poor kids I see hawking various items at traffic lights to earn some money to eat in the 3rd world country in which I currently reside. My children would probably get hit by a car because they grew up in the States in suburbia. They have very little experience crossing a busy street. The kids over here have learned to judge distance and speed quite well.

  37. A story above reminds me of what one of my exes told me about his own childhood in China in the 1960s. His parents were identified as counter-revolutionaries and each sent to “re-education” camps for extended periods (years, I believe). Their three kids had to fend for themselves during that time. I believe their ages ranged from about 8 to 14 at that time. Of course they are not happy to have had that experience, but the point is, they were resourceful enough to survive it.

  38. As much as I enjoy these “good ol’ days” tales (and believe me, I really do), they remind me of that Monty Python sketch…

  39. Thank you, Tuppence.

    I don’t want to be accused of being an alarmist or chicken little type – but the rest of the world, especially our enemies, are NOT raising their children to be hot house flowers.

    I pray everyday my own children and now grandchildren will never know waht war is.

    But the way we keep expanding our wars tells me differently.

    Females have traditionally been exempted from the draft or serving in battle, but our feminist dictates for “equality except if it comes to getting dangerous or dirty” are not going to hold up much longer.

    I’ll be 60 years old in two years and a Vietnam era veteran myself. It’s scary that I can out lift, out work and out last the young adults I work with – male or female.

  40. @SgtMom — apparently, there’s just been an article by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in this month’s Vanity Fair which talks about the subject we’ve been discussing here. “boingboing” did a piece about it, and had an excerpt:

    “The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military–the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that. Foreign policy, by definition, is about the balancing of national interests and national resources. With the top 1 percent in charge, and paying no price, the notion of balance and restraint goes out the window. There is no limit to the adventures we can undertake; corporations and contractors stand only to gain”.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/04/06/stiglitz-wealth-conc.html

  41. @Lola — Fair enough! Always good for a (v. good) laugh, that gang.

  42. I am reading all ur posts from back in the day talking about having to fend for ur self or for the siblings…..you know what scares the hell outa me…..that 97% of kids and 89% of adults couldn’t come close to doing it today….this country takes another dive and that’s how ur gona have to live….and the weak minded,shelterd families are going to be the ones begging for anything the rest of us can spare….so while u anti free range kids hover over ur children so they dnt get hurt and dnt see the world for wat it is….good and bad….jus think about this….you are deciding there fate for them.

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