Free Range Childhood Memories

When I was driving around with the Sparkle Girl the other day a childhood memory came flashing back.  One I hadn’t thought about in years and years, but it made me smile and I thought about Lenore Skenazy’s campaign to bring back formerly normal pursuits for children.  This is a totally Free Range Childhood memory and I’m not sure it could happen today.

We lived on a military base outside of Memphis, TN.  NAS Memphis was a Naval air station that has since been decommissioned.  We lived in the Hospital Quarters near the bright shiny new hospital and a few blocks away from my elementary school, Millington East.  We walked to school every day, without my mother or any other adult.  Usually we walked with another child from the neighborhood through the chain link fence topped with razor wire, across a busy street where the cross guard would call me “Elly”, then on to school.  We rode our bikes around the neighborhood and played outside all the time.

My sister and I bickered incessantly, which I’m certain contributed to my mother’s desire to get us the hell out of the house.  Often we played with the neighbor kids and sometimes by ourselves.  We rode bikes all over.  We sometimes walked down to the pool in summer, but usually we spent the day unaccompanied at the Officer’s Club pool.  If my mom was with us, she certainly wasn’t hovering over us reapplying SPF 10,000 sunscreen, feeding us healthy organic snacks, reminding us to play nice with the other kids and  making sure we didn’t drown.  We played “Man from Atlantis” and mermaid, tried to see how long we could hold our breath under water, jumped off the high dive and ate popsicles from the snack stand. We had dance classes and Girl Scouts and day camp but these activities didn’t consume our lives.  We had plenty of breathing room.

The particular memory that came to me the other day involved a time that I went out exploring on my own, if my sister was with me I don’t recall it.  There were some barracks that had been  demolished but the debris had not been cleaned up.  There was a whole area with rows of stoops leading to rubble.  I climbed all over it and made an excellent discovery.  Telephone wire!  Lots and lots of colorful telephone wire.  For those of you unfamiliar with this wonderful stuff it is thin plastic coated wire.  The plastic is all kinds of amazing colors, some of it striped like candy canes.   I hauled this stuff home and showed it to my mom, who is the craftiest woman I know.  We turned this “trash” into so many treasures.  We twisted it into bracelets and necklaces and all kinds of shapes.  Endless fun.  I have a vague feeling I might have skinned my knee or cut myself on the debris, but the memory of the adventure and the discovery is so much more potent!!!

These days I don’t think I would be allowed out on my own like that.  I certainly wouldn’t have access to a giant pile of housing rubble since it would be surrounded by plastic orange fencing to keep out little explorers like myself.  Cool stuff like telephone wire would be removed for recycling or reuse (which really is a good thing).  This magic discovery just wouldn’t be possible today and that makes me a little sad.  So many kids will never know what it is like to just wander around on their own time and under their own direction.  Today’s kids are so scheduled with activities or so sedated with video games that there is no opportunity to get out alone much less be allowed to do it.  Even kids that get to pursue their own personal world without adults live in a much more sanitized environment.  Sure we feel “safer”, but I’m not so certain that is true.  It’s an illusion of safety.  It seems that we’ve traded “danger” for self imprisonment and that makes me feel clausterphobic.

I fully intend that my daughter will have opportunities for such self-directed adventure.  That I can provide opportunities for her to spend time exactly like she wants and in the process learn self-reliance, build confidence and exercise her imagination.


Free Range Kids from about 1975

9 comments to Free Range Childhood Memories

  1. Natasha
    May 5th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    This totally struck a chord. My brother and I used to bike liberally around the grounds of the Ringling Museum/Ca’d Zan mansion complex just up the street from our house in Sarasota FL. We climbed in banyan trees, dug through the rubble from the crumbling sea wall (which included lots of gorgeous colored granite from the mansion patio), rode our bikes across the lawns, much to the delight of elderly museum goers I’m sure… I took H and Z there a few weeks ago and *gasp* paid ADMISSION to walk around a securely fenced compound…no bikes allowed…little signs on the banyans that state “no climbing”…etc. Frankly, the grounds and associated museum buildings are kept in far better condition now than they were in my day, and both tourist volume and “quality” (nattily dressed, waiting patiently for the tram) are I’m sure the toast of the board of directors…but I do mourn the wilder days when things weren’t so buttoned up, and neighborhood kids roamed free as if they owned the place. I can’t even think of somewhere like that here at home. Sigh.

    July 16th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    < blockquote >< a href=”” >Buy Viagra< /a >< /b >< /blockquote >…

    Buy Cheap Generic.Drugs Today!…

  3. Timothy
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:13 am

    < a href = “ assure@equalizers.mervin”>.< / a >…

    tnx for info….

  4. Alfredo
    July 27th, 2014 at 6:30 am

    < a href = “ topic@masons.disappointment”>.< / a >…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  5. Salvador
    August 22nd, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    < a href = “ nullity@par.chap”>.< / a >…

    thank you!!…

  6. carl
    August 23rd, 2014 at 10:12 am

    < a href = “ nolens@surrendering.cuddleback”>.< / a >…

    thank you!!…

  7. Randall
    August 24th, 2014 at 12:26 am

    < a href = “ calculators@navel.shakespeare”>.< / a >…


  8. Darrell
    August 24th, 2014 at 5:20 am

    < a href = “ seventeenth@belittling.bleeker”>.< / a >…


  9. John
    August 26th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    < a href = “ menilmontant@ventilates.bun”>.< / a >…


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • full prescribing information
  • can you get high 7.5
  • e prostatite
  • throat irritation
  • zegerid
  • buy generic
  • can take tylenol cold same time
  • dangers stopping cold turkey
  • for vitiligo
  • plus
  • drug side effects
  • social anxiety dosage
  • jak stosowaA
  • patient education
  • jantoven different than
  • dosage infants ml
  • & hcg shot success stories
  • tramadol together
  • 10 mg
  • side effects diarrhea
  • e bioscalin
  • commercial 2009
  • image
  • and together
  • 500 mg efectos secundarios
  • for kids dosage
  • generic news
  • affect on blood pressure
  • depressionen
  • lagligt i sverige
  • weight change
  • and
  • induced pancreatitis
  • joint pain
  • 5 mg hair loss
  • alcohol flush reaction
  • drug interaction between
  • vs
  • rapid 50 mg alkoholi
  • tabletten kopen
  • maker
  • egg production
  • side effects tingling feet
  • vs injectables iui
  • can quit working
  • drug classification
  • liquid
  • breastfeeding while taking
  • fiyatA
  • 10 mg tabs
  • sacroiliac joint injection
  • tabletki 1 g
  • testosterone
  • suspension package insert
  • d side effects kidney
  • drug interaction
  • for paranoid schizophrenia
  • most fertile days taking
  • long term effects of depression
  • e vomito
  • breastfeeding safe
  • xkcd airport security
  • walgreens coupon
  • tired
  • better allegra
  • y menstruacion
  • rite aid
  • next dividend
  • roche precio argentina
  • weight loss after getting off
  • splitting tablets
  • get you high
  • cost comparison
  • urban dictionary
  • medicine side effects
  • have aspirin
  • derma 1 krAm A?r
  • if am allergic penicillin can take
  • success rate
  • titration
  • antybiotyk ulotka
  • que es a
  • comparison
  • xorbit
  • and rebound headaches
  • should you take before blood test
  • comprimidos y alcohol
  • posologie 25
  • hcl bronchitis
  • xr with alcohol
  • rxlist
  • cheap australia
  • taking and together
  • and birth control pills
  • 2 mg after ivf
  • ect
  • with food
  • canada price
  • costo mexico
  • hypothyroidism
  • basil
  • na zakola
  • nausea
  • w tabletkach
  • gel tendonitis
  • nausea after
  • bula do 500mg
  • manufacturer
  • short term use withdrawal
  • buy 4mg
  • can i take and advil together
  • can i stop cold turkey
  • images
  • e gravidez
  • and generalized anxiety disorder
  • what vegetables to avoid when on
  • sales 2008
  • houses sale dublin ireland
  • aime t il a tomber enceinte
  • pregnancy risk
  • safe buy online canada
  • how long does affect birth control pills
  • high fsh after taking
  • q serve
  • vs cost
  • lilly canada
  • dosage for a child
  • 10 40 mg para que sirve
  • dose for bipolar disorder
  • foods to avoid when taking
  • where to buy suspension
  • a karmienie piersiA
  • onset
  • class action lawsuit against
  • toxicity
  • pill splitting
  • 100mg street value
  • bd
  • can take d excedrin together
  • cramps pregnancy
  • pregnancy after first cycle
  • toddler allergic
  • monograph
  • can you take advair and together
  • can you take tylenol cold sinus
  • can you take nasonex and together
  • difference
  • used
  • cost of vs.
  • classification
  • yan etkileri
  • can you cut odt in half
  • is a calcium supplement
  • tablete-cijena
  • and tinnitus
  • opinie
  • vand cluj
  • fairless hills
  • heartburn after stopping
  • days 5-7
  • weight loss pills in kenya
  • for exercise induced asthma
  • et ovulation bAbA
  • a minha historia
  • city-hotel am kurfA?rstendamm
  • long term side effects
  • capsules 200 mg side effects
  • buy nebules online
  • for panic disorder
  • is used to treat bipolar
  • effects taking while pregnant
  • otc vs 24 hr
  • substitute
  • commercial
  • qt prolongation
  • loss of appetite
  • can you take same time
  • side effects jaw pain
  • after hair transplant
  • 2 mornington park dublin 5
  • difference between
  • consta news
  • once a day u.k
  • ds cause nausea
  • video demonstration
  • daily
  • medikament 5 creme
  • increased hunger
  • pas d'effet avec le
  • does raise blood pressure
  • taking for the second time
  • and taken together
  • combination
  • inactive ingredients
  • orthoneutrogena rebate
  • compare zegerid
  • como tomar corretamente o
  • heart rate
  • taking 60 mg
  • is safer than aleve
  • er 25mg
  • dosage for breastfeeding
  • treat acne
  • free coupon online
  • increased cancer risk
  • brain chemicals
  • best dose sleep
  • safe to take and benadryl together
  • cycle
  • missed three doses
  • fatigue
  • dosage maximum
  • is it ok to take while pregnant
  • side effects user reviews
  • when did launch
  • 4 mg 100 tablet
  • difference between hcl er
  • k 50 mg
  • does have a generic
  • side effects children migraines
  • can taken together
  • er ingredients
  • safe pregnancy
  • cause joint pain
  • a karmienie piersia
  • generic vs brand name
  • ilacAnAn yan etkileri
  • consumer information
  • es mejor o alli
  • herpes zoster
  • side effects
  • doses
  • take blue pill
  • vs generic
  • flixotide vs
  • low blood pressure
  • prices canada
  • does cause rebound headaches
  • weight loss after going off
  • burning urination
  • skin cream
  • taken with milk
  • onde comprar ou
  • risks taking while pregnant
  • what is it
  • for free
  • and pregnancy
  • take every other day
  • vs side effects
  • picture pill
  • long term effects
  • 30 tablets
  • drug interaction
  • side effects mayo clinic
  • coming off after 2 months
  • now review
  • and interaction
  • is a controlled drug
  • together
  • uses acne
  • dosing for strep throat
  • young women
  • djelovanje na zene
  • symptom relief
  • buy using paypal
  • is it ok to take while breastfeeding
  • effets secondaires
  • drinking alcohol after finishing
  • will d cause drowsiness
  • can make you sleepy
  • effective dose anxiety
  • e anticoncepcional
  • generic cost
  • long will take take effect
  • injection 37.5
  • cause headaches
  • can make you tired
  • xl monographie
  • while taking when do you ovulate
  • pill 10
  • antidote overdose
  • and pregnancy third trimester
  • long drug eluting stent
  • taking day 3-7 or 5-9
  • dosage agitation
  • tablets 10mg
  • generic price
  • tylenol alternating chart
  • qt prolongation
  • how long works
  • eczema treatment
  • natural foods for women
  • dosage for low testosterone
  • insurance lisa kemp
  • can get high
  • information patient
  • 2106972909
  • fatigue side effect
  • and zoloft combination
  • tab ec
  • y -d
  • taking zyban
  • children's fever reducer
  • monograph
  • hives side effect
  • flixotide o
  • 20 mg tabletas
  • no appetite
  • molecular weight
  • sig
  • zegerid difference
  • uk
  • peritol
  • how long until takes effect
  • patch 13 3
  • can i lose weight on
  • does increase fsh men
  • and renal failure
  • 5mg prix
  • cause ed
  • zayAflama
  • rash after taking
  • xicu y
  • le marche t il
  • acute pancreatitis
  • pronunciation
  • keloid excision
  • bula
  • estrogen
  • 3160439528
  • otc
  • can stop working
  • suspension strength
  • homeowners association
  • taking young age
  • can you take benadryl and at the same time
  • nasal spray
  • spectrum
  • 2.5mg
  • snorting xr
  • vs
  • and rogaine combined results
  • can i drink a beer while on
  • dosage of for ic
  • vs vs alcohol
  • a benzo
  • xtc
  • and hct
  • e pantorc
  • aspiration pneumonia treatment
  • adriamycin inflammatory breast cancer
  • can i drink beer while taking
  • a bladder analgesic can
  • is it safe to take while pregnant
  • generic online cheapest
  • does gel contain aspirin
  • and rash
  • online bestellen per nachnahme
  • good boils
  • gastric bypass
  • for children side effects
  • para que serve a medicaAA?o
  • j code
  • 12 hour reditabs dosage
  • will help me lose weight
  • ocd anxiety
  • how long does withdrawl last
  • weight
  • constipation
  • recommended dosage giardia
  • is it ok to take expired
  • eye side effects
  • vancouver bc
  • can i take and aleve
  • efectos secundarios
  • versus
  • liquid ingredients
  • where to buy online
  • maximum daily dose of
  • buy generic no prescription
  • 5581892657
  • and insomnia in infants
  • is a corticosteroid
  • therapy
  • does boost libido
  • maximum safe dosage of
  • stopping xl
  • drug interactions
  • and interaction
  • and
  • per i cani
  • blood brain barrier
  • mesylate
  • to
  • urination
  • quand comment prendre
  • how many times can i take my inhaler
  • withdrawal lawsuit
  • john clader
  • worked for me