Another trip down memory lane had me pondering the neighbourhood I grew up in. I just don't see the groups of kids hanging and playing like I use to. Where I grew up, public school was geography based, you lived in region x you will attend school y. The upside is, if there were any number of kids in an area, you eventual all crossed paths and interacted. Junior high school (grades 7, 8, and 9) even more so.
About junior high age, when we were sufficiently independent from mom and dad to dodge homework, chores, and just about everything else, there was a number of us in a 10 block radius that started to really hangout. We would congregate near the center of the region and we would often spend hours playing kick the can (a fancy version of hide-and-seek). Most of the neighbours were pretty cool about having a number of kids hopping fences, cutting through yards and being kids. There was the odd yard that was off limits, for various reasons, but most of the people didn't give us too much hassel. A game would start after supper and would last until after dark (unless someone's mom called).
Similarly, not that much farther there was a fairly decent size park, with a couple of soccer pitch plus sized green strips. We might play 500 with a baseball and bat, we could play soccer or touch football. (The park sometimes was used by one of the junior high football teams on occasion for running drills and conditioning.) There were even a couple of large enough cement walking paths that we could race each other on bikes, or skateboards, or even roller skates (roller blades hadn't been invented yet). Yes we had separate friends from outside the neighbourhood, but man did we have fun.
How many yards would you let your kids cut through today, how many of your neighbours would let your kids hop the fence or unlock their gate and pass willy-nilly. Especially after dark. What happend to the neighbourhood where kids ran free and safe.
Once we hit high school things changed, we found our cliques, and jobs and ... and ... and ... but man in junior high ... things were great ....
More Later .....