Do you remember the first night at home with your first child? You have finally been given clearance by the hospital to take this baby home with you and now you’re on your own. Whether you are ready to be a parent or not is no longer in the equation. I remember the first night that Elisa and I had with Sydney. We had a bassinet that sat at the foot of our bed. I don’t think either of us slept a wink that first night. Any movement or noise that she made and we were both right there peering in. Is she okay? Has she rolled over onto her stomach? Is she still alive?
Sound crazy? Yeah, we probably were. However, if you are a parent and you’re reading this, you can probably relate.
I remember playing The Sims back in the late ’90s when the game first came out. It was quite an accomplishment to have a baby and keep Child and Family Services from taking it away from you. My sister was obsessed with that game. I remember that she had a couple of children (in the game) that were developing along perfectly fine until one day when, while stargazing on their roof, one of them was abducted by an alien. Yikes!
Okay, my point, whether in reality or in a video game, child rearing is one of the hardest things that any person can take on in life. It’s one thing to take care of the body that we are all placed in. It’s altogether different to take care of someone else as well.
Back in 2016, the staff of MeTV put together a list of 12 reasons that kids from the ’60s and ’70s (that’s me baby) should have not made it into adulthood. This list is both funny and honest in its examination of two decades of child-rearing that, at best, had some flaws.
If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, then you know how relaxed everything used to be. Our parents never forced us to wear seatbelts, we pretty much ate whatever we wanted, and were given way more responsibility than we should have been given. It’s a little sad kids today won’t get to experience half the things we did, but looking back, there’s a good reason why they won’t.
Were these 12 things we did as kids kind of dangerous? Yeah, maybe some of it was.
1. Playing with dangerous toys
Parents were a lot more liberal with what they would let us play with. Forget about choking hazards, we’re talking hot plates, noxious odors, and sharp metal objects. It’s a wonder how we made it out of the decade intact.
2. No seatbelts
We never had to buckle up back in the day, which meant we could sit wherever. That includes stretching out across the seats, lying against the back windshield, or, if your parents had a station wagon, rolling around in the cargo area.
What was better than all of that was hitching a ride in a flatbed pickup. No cushioned seats, no roof, and nothing but the wind in your hair and sun in your face.
3. No helmets
Just like seat belts, people didn’t really see the value in this piece of life-saving gear. Kids popped wheelies and raced each other without helmets, let alone knee and elbow pads. Falling was an art form too because you had to land without splitting your head open or breaking any bones.
Image: The Selvedge Yard
4. Running after DDT trucks
This one is probably the biggest “what were we thinking” moments of the ’60s and ’70s. We would run after these suckers when they rolled into our neighborhood and sprayed the air with a chemical fog. If your street had some traffic, it was just the risk you had to take to have a little fun.
5. Unsafe playgrounds
Anyone remember swinging so hard that one part of the swing set would come off the ground? Or what about the burns we suffered sliding down scorching metal slides during the summer? And there wasn’t a cushy rubber foundation back then, just asphalt.
6. Latchkey kids
If your mom or dad worked late, then chances are they gave you the keys to the house so you could let yourself in after school. For those couple hours, you might as well have been a full-fledged adult.
Sure, your parents expected you to do homework while you were alone, but you secretly watched an episode or two of The Brady Bunch before they got home.
7. Leaving 12-year-olds in charge
If you had a younger sibling, then your best bet you would be watching after them at some point during the day (especially if you were a latchkey kid).
You didn’t need any certifications to babysit either. If you were at least 12 and able to dial 9-1-1, then you got some pretty sweet babysitting gigs. It was perfectly acceptable too, just watch this Procter and Gamble commercial from that era.
There was no such thing as “health foods” like kale and quinoa back when we were kids. If it was sold at the store, then it went in our stomachs. Plus, the less preparation that went into a school lunch, the better. Shout out to the Wonder Bread sandwiches, chips, and Twinkies that probably stunted our growth as kids.
9. Sitting in the front seat
The lack of seatbelts meant you could sit wherever you wanted, and no seat was more coveted than the middle seat in the front, back when front seats were benches. If there were six people in your family, then you fought your siblings for that position. If you sat there, you got to control which radio station the family listened to and got the extra protection of your mother’s arm when your father stopped too hard.
10. Secondhand smoke
There was no escaping the haze of cigarette smoke in the 1970s. From airplanes to automobiles, we probably inhaled more secondhand smoke as children than some people do in a lifetime today. Looking back, we’re happy to leave this one in the ’70s.
Image: Daily Mail
11. Explosive cars
It’s basically a fact that cars were death traps back in the ’70s, and the Ford Pinto is the prime example. Not only did we not wear seatbelts and sit wherever we pleased, we were driving in cars that could explode because the fuel tank wasn’t designed properly. Luckily, the cars were discontinued in 1980, but only after we had risked our lives riding in them.
Come to think of it, the three months between the school year were the most dangerous times growing up. We would leave the house for hours at a time, run around without shoes, and come home with more scrapes and bruises than we could count.
There was no structured playtime and no cell phones, just long days of sunshine and absolute fun. Yeah, being a kid in the ’60s and ’70s wasn’t all that bad.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.