This post is written in conjunction with the 30 Days of Writing, a blog challenge devised by Nicky and Mike at “We Work For Cheese.” I’ll be participating throughout the month of June. If interested, you can see my post with the details of the challenge.
Please note that some of these posts will be serious, some will be normal, and some will be an attempt at humor. This one has me being stumped!
I truly only remember one “babysitter” while I was growing up.
I’m sure there were probably more. But for the most part, I remember one. (I actually have a photo of me and her, but I have to save it for my Snapshot Saturday feature — it’s too bad this theme wasn’t on a Saturday!)
Outside of that, when I was in the age where I could go out and run around — but still being too young to be free to roam — my brothers often got sacked with the chore of watching me. My brothers are 11 months apart and I’m a bit behind them. So, they were old enough to watch me. Of course, I was the little brother. When they did “big kid” things, I usually wasn’t invited along.
Still, they were normal big brothers. In other words, they could torture me but others couldn’t.
I remember one time when I was maybe 7 or 8 and one kid had been pestering me quite a bit. See, he didn’t quite like my brothers. And I’m quite sure the feeling was mutual. However, he knew he couldn’t take them, so he did the next best thing. He tormented me and my friends.
One day, in a parking lot near home, me and some friends were jumping our bikes. Well, this fella comes along and starts pestering us. To be “funny,” as I went over a jump, he threw a stick toward my front wheel. The stick got caught in the spokes and I went flying. Being so close to home, I just took off running and bawling my head off. My friends stayed there and started swearing at him and keeping out of his range.
My brothers were home at that point.
After sniffling and stumbling through the story, they grabbed me and off we went to the park area. (Remember, my bike was still there). Said bully was there and tried, of course to make excuses. My brothers cornered him and didn’t do one thing. They told me to hit him. Not that the punch or slap of a 7-8 year old is going to hurt someone closer to his teenage years, but I did as I was told. Several times over. A couple of kicks.
Again, I don’t think these were leaving any mark. It’s not like the kid was taking a beating.
But my brothers told him it wouldn’t be slugging me back.
So I did what my brother told me to do. Finally, they “allowed” the kid to leave.
Of course I was all proud. My brothers had stuck up for me and I got to “take down” an older kids as some friends watched on. It was quite humorous. The kid never bothered me again, which was also nice.
Beyond that, the babysitter became the outdoors. Once I was at an age where me and my friends were allowed to roam, we rode bikes, played ball, went swimming and whatever else we could do. It was at a time when you weren’t as worried about who was out there. We were a small rural area and my dad was the top cop in the village, so it was usually quite safe.
I only remember a few times when we were not allowed to roam on our own. One was when a convicted child molester/murderer was sent to our town via parole (it was his second or third stop since being released). That didn’t last long as my father made sure the word was out and soon enough this creep was chased off. He landed in a nearby town for a few days before being relocated to Rochester, where he, in turn, murdered 11 prostitutes. (A 12th is credited to him, but he wasn’t convicted on that one).
When I was growing up, it’s the lone time I ever remember not being able to roam free.
You don’t see that as much anymore. Sure, kids in their teens will wander and do whatever. But most kids who are in the younger age can’t just set out on their bikes with friends for a day of adventure. We used to do a lot of things, too. Not just ride around in the street near home. We’d wander all over the village. We’d go swimming in the river or the pool. We’d play ball all over. It never stopped. We’d explore.
We were kids and the outdoors kept us in check.
No need for video games or television or computers. The outdoors was all we needed. (Though, in inclement weather, being inside was important…)
And, if it was something of importance, my father — as the cop — always had a good idea where we were. So did the parents of some of the others. We thought we roamed free, but somebody always seemed to be around if needed.
So the babysitters were there, in a way.
In the end, I did have some “traditional” babysitters growing up, but the outdoors was often “the babysitter,” which I think was a helpful tool in growing.
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