Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Parents Had it Made

I saw this article online this week, entitled “5 Things our Parents Did That Would Get Them Arrested Today.”  It was an interesting read, albeit a bit misleading.  Some of their examples were one-offs, or something that rarely happens now, which makes it technically possible.  Possible enough for the click-bait headline, anyway.

Regardless, I thought I’d give it a lookover and see how many times MY folks would have hit the pokey.

1. Taking Naked Kiddie Photos.  The article reports of one couple in Arizona who in 2008, had the photo shop call the cops on their kiddie bath-time pics.  The judge immediately dismissed the case.  This is one of those one-offs.  I just wonder who in the hell was still taking film photos in for developing in 2008.  That’s the crime here.

The Verdict: Guilty.  Just like every other parent in the 60s.  Everyone took pictures of their kids running around bare-assed, or sitting in the tub.  (In my case, I was usually surrounded by toys called “Soakies,” which were cartoon and super-hero shaped bottles of bubblebath stuff.) 

Judging from Facebook, it’s still going on now though.  Cassie, you haven’t heard from the cops yet, have you?

2. Leaving Kids Home Alone.  They mention that several states have laws stating you can’t leave your child home alone until the age of 12.  (14 in Illinois.)

The Verdict: Not Guilty.  None of us were ever left home alone until I was in junior high.  In 7th grade, I was in a split shift school, and my shift didn’t start until noon.  Mom would go off to work and I would get myself ready for and then off to school.  No biggie.  I would also babysit for my younger brother and sister occasionally when my parents needed a break from our bullshit went out to eat. 

However, we certainly weren’t supervised once we were out of the house.  We pretty much had full run of the neighborhood during the summer or after school.  And we had watches and knew enough to get home for dinner.  There was no such thing as a “play date.”  I would die of embarrassment before I’d let my mom arrange for me to play with some other kid.

3. Smoking in the Car. Six states have laws on the books preventing smoking in cars with young children, due to their still-developing lungs.  Apparently it’s perfectly fine to kill your older children.

The Verdict: Guilty.  I wish they had those law way back when, because that’s one I could have used.  Mom used to smoke in the car, and I hated it.  Gave me a dizzy headache every time.  It was bad enough being cooped up in the back seat with my siblings for long car trips, where all we had to do was torment each other and try not to get swatted from the front seat.

This one went hand in hand with:

4. Seat belts.  Laws mandating seat belt use are relatively modern, but they are prevalent.  Plus there’s the car seat thing, which mandates the use of car seats until the kid is practically a teenager.

The Verdict: Not Guilty.  Technically, I can remember a time in the early 60s when our car didn’t have seat belts in the back seat.  But by the mid-60s, when we got a new car that had them, they became mandatory for us.  Of course, we hated them.  Nothing like being strapped down for that 8-hour car trip, with nothing to do but torment each other and try not to die from the cigarette smoke.

Sometimes we’d try to silently release the latch for a little breathing room, but Dad always heard the click.  It was like trying to get into the candy dish or cookie jar, only you were within swatting range.

5.  Weight gain.  Another one-off.  Three years ago, a boy in Cleveland was taken from his home because he was 200 lbs by third grade, and health officials said his mother didn’t know how to make him lose weight.  I don’t think this is a widespread thing… the child removal, not having big fat kids.  That seems to be an epidemic.

The Verdict: Not Guilty.  We certainly never wanted for food… sometimes it wasn’t the food we wantedcough-PopTarts-cough, but we had plenty to eat.  But between the well-balanced diets, only having 4 channels on TV, and the non-existence of video games, we ran off our extra calories by playing outside.  None of us ever had weight problems as kids.

So that’s the five the article featured, but I’d add one more:

6.  Providing alcohol to your kids AND all the neighbor kids. 

The Verdict: Guilty.  Once we moved out to the outskirts of Toledo and my friends and I commandeered The Barn, the drinking lamp was lit.  When we had parties, everyone in the neighborhood attended.  For the small gatherings, my buddies and I bought our own beer, but for the big events, like New Year’s Eve parties, my parents would get a keg and plenty of wine.  My friends and I were mostly over 18, (which was all you had to be at the time), but my brother and sister, and their friends and all the neighborhood kids were vastly under-age.

And that was just fine.  We had parties where my parents chaperoned (when not cutting it up on the dance floor) and we collected keys at the door.  Drinking never cause a single accident or incident at our parties.  Granted, a couple of relationships came to a messy end, but hey, that’s life.

So in summation, we have a split decision… 3 guiltys, 3 not guiltys.  Hung jury, case dismissed.  We seemed to have survived the things that would have gotten the folks in Dutch nowadays, and the others didn’t apply.

Maybe it’s time to take off the bubble wrap and let kids go back to being kids.


  1. "Under age blahblahblah..." gimme a parental break. Talk about "INVOLVEMENT! WE WERE THERE!!

    1. You absolutely were! And your son is raising his kids the same way... only with less beer.

  2. We rode around in the back of my dad's Ford Econoline van. There were 2 seats, for long trips he would throw in a cooler between the seats and a bean bag. Other than that we had our choice of the floor, the rear wheel well or one of the tool boxes that were sliding around with us!

    1. We had a station wagon for a while, and sometimes we'd get to lounge in the back, but not for long trips... too much luggage. Of course there were friends pickup trucks we rode around in, once while trying to hold an upright piano steady.

  3. My mom ALWAYS used to talk about the naked photos she had to show to our future husbands when my sister and I were kids. What do parents possibly threaten their children with nowadays?


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