Growing Up Tough

I was born in 1949. Does that make me old? I personally don’t think so. Still even

I have to admit I am closer to old than I am young.

I came from a tougher stock than the kids today.

Remember my generation came from mothers that drank and smoked while being pregnant with us. Some even kept right on taking their nerve pills.

When I was a kid nerve pills were the same as vitamins are today. By the way, back then women didn’t take those prenatal vitamins that they do today. Still we all managed for the most part to have been born with all our parts.

I’ll admit it may have been because we sucked all the calcium from our mothers. Most mothers back then had false teeth by their second child.

Still to get even with us the average mother ate blue cheese dressing and tuna straight from the can. A half dozen aspirin was just the perfect thing to chase away a headache.

Then when we were finally born, we were put to sleep on our stomachs. No alarms no nothing. We were born tough we just kept on breathing. Our beds were always painted bright colors with the best lead based paint available.

If we found a medicine bottle, we never had to worry about childproof caps. They opened just like the ketchup bottle. No locked cabinets for us. You might pour the bleach on the cat if she got to close. No one would drink any thing that smelled that bad.

When we rode our bikes, we used our baseball caps for protection. We didn’t need brakes and chain guards. A cool bike didn’t have fenders.

When we went to the store, we set in our mother’s lap. That way if we stopped fast the steering wheel would hold us back. No seat belts, booster seats or so forth for us. If you were poor, your family car had bald tires. If you were middle class, you sported around with recaps. The rich had a nice set of two plies.

If you lived in town and your grandparents picked you up for a visit to the country you stood in the back of the truck or straddled a fender.

No bottle water for us and no messing up a clean glass. That was what the garden hose was for.

If one of your friends had a coke, everyone drank out of the bottle. No one wanted the last swallow.

We drank kool-aid made with over filled cups of white sugar. Real butter was the way to go. A day without white bread and lots of bacon was like a day without sunshine.

You might be wondering. Why weren’t ya’ll just a bunch of fat pigs.

We didn’t have computers and you only watched TV at night. The rest of the time we were running, biking, walking, swimming and hanging out of tree houses that we had personally built. Then there was endless lawn work that we had to do .

Only a dumb kid ask to be paid for taking  care of his own lawn. If you ask for a quarter you were given one then charged .50 for supper.

We left at sunup when we didn’t have chores and came home at dusk. We did this without a cell phone. Nobody knew where we were and for the most part didn’t care. Our mother’s were busy cooking and cleaning, smoking and drinking a beer and of course going to the dentist having their teeth pulled. On the way, they would cuss us for sucking all the calcium out of their system while carrying us.

We fell out of trees and got in fights. We built our versions of go-carts without motors. They were build with two by fours and long sharp nails. The wheels were stolen off our younger brothers and sister’s wagon. We often land up side down in gravel and snake infected ditches. This was after flying down a hill on a busy street when we remembered that we nether had a way of stopping this gadget or steering it. Then other times the nail bent allowing a wheel to fall off.

We got BB guns for Christmas when we were nine. We were told to be careful or we would shut our eye out. Our parents didn’t have to give this advice. After we finally realized we couldn’t hit a bird we would give a friend to the count of ten and then start shooting at his butt.

We never spoke to our mother’s about our injuries. First, she would pour something on you that would burn like the devil and next you would get a whipping for getting hurt. That is most likely why so many of us have odd shaped elbows and knees today. They just grew back that way.

One of our favorite means of entertainment was walking behind the bug truck. That was when the city drove a truck around burning DDT and causing a huge cloud of poison to roll up behind it.

Today a kid gets a pimple and goes crazy. From late spring to early winter almost ever kid I knew had a boil somewhere on their body. You never told your mother. She would get a needle out. Then pick it and  mash it. If this didn’t make you pass out from pain she would pour something that burned like the devil on it. The stuff was so bad it always had a skull and cross bones on the bottle.

Now to add insult to injury our fathers always thought we were a bunch of pampered babies.

After all, they would say. “You have never spent twelve hours in a field during July. Now think about that when you are setting in the floor watching Lassie like you don’t have a care in the world.”

My granddaddy said my father was a wimp. Said he had never picked cotton for a penny a pound, feed his brothers and sisters, and took care of his sick mother.

I sure would hate to know how bad his daddy had it.

Oh did I mention I had to walk five miles to school everyday in the snow bare foot and it was up hill both directions. Now tell me you had it tougher than that.

Now if you grew up on the 80’s or 90’s know you got it made.

Have a great day.






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2 Comments on “Growing Up Tough”

  1. Davis Says:

    I was born in 1953 (I’m also not old) and all this rings so true

  2. angie Says:

    this gave me a good laugh. thanks, daddy!

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