Vintage is a buzz word these days. If I were tasked to define what it means…I would chose to say that it is something unique, rare, and precious. It is a treasure that carries a bit of the history of the people and the society from whence it came.
I often see lists of memorabilia or nostalgic experiences with the question of can you remember this? I am a member of the baby boomer club, and every time I see one of those lists, I realize that I most definitely had a vintage childhood. As we approach summer vacation for the multitude of school children, I re-visit my gratitude for the days of my youth prior to the advent of computers, a million television channels, DVD’s, I-phones, social media and anything else that would have kept me indoors and glued to a device. While technology is supposed to make our lives easier, I think it has been a thief of simplicity…. a hijacker of the simpler pleasures of life.
I am thankful for my childhood, and for the memories of its golden threads woven throughout the story of my life. The world that I was born into still retained a measure of the pre-WWII innocence. I lived in a time where we never locked our doors, and keys were left in car ignitions so that they wouldn’t get lost. There were no missing kids pictured on our milk cartons, and no worries of bad guys that might have done us harm. Concepts like human trafficking would have been unimaginable to our parents. We knew and trusted our neighbors. Everyone was a parent to every child, and stories of deeds or misdeeds would eventually find their way back to our Momma’s ears. It had the desired protective and preventative effect.
We were given the freedom to play and explore all over the neighborhood and surrounding areas. We spent the majority of our waking hours outside. We could build our forts in the woods, or nearby creeks or wherever it looked the most inviting to our imagination, which usually took us well beyond the watchful eyes of our parents. The one rule of summer was come home before dark. Period. Once home, we could still play outside with our flashlight games or telescopes, but we were confined to the yard. There was great independence in that, but it also taught us the responsibility to honor the privilege or we could lose it.
Climbing trees was a huge favorite to sit and read a book or hang a tire swing. We would devise contests for who could swing the highest or jump the farthest from mid-flight. No worries of liability from the tree owner. Once my parents were assured that I could swim, I was allowed to ride my bike a mile or so on the main road, without a helmet (gasp), to the nearby pool with some snack money, and hang there with friends ALL DAY long without parent supervision. The life guards were our babysitters. The term helicopter parent had not been invented…obviously. And the dangers of so many things had yet to be discovered….thankfully. We were just allowed to be kids
Our televisions weren’t a claim for our attention since we only had about 3 channels and programing, except on Saturday morning, was not catered to children. Movies were on the big screen and going to see them was a really BIG deal and reserved as a special treat. The only movie that I remember seeing on T.V. back then was The Wizard of Oz. It showed one time each year. You had to be sitting in front of the screen the minute it started. There was no pause, no re-wind, and no taping it. If you missed it, you had to wait until next year. It allowed our anticipation to build in all sorts of marvelous ways.
My love affair with reading started as far back as I can remember Reading was a coveted form of summer entertainment with frequent trips to the public library. I would check out as many books as I was allowed and immerse myself in the stories of faraway lands and magical places. Retreating in those books elicited a lifelong desire of wanderlust that has not diminished with age or time.
Boredom wasn’t something that we whined about to our parents . We learned very quickly that instead of trying to entertain us, they would assign us a chore to keep busy. Rather, we learned to use this time as an opportunity to create and invent. Some great memories came as a result of the B-word. Backyard plays, made-up games, and one time I even created an oven-baked cast out of flour and water and manufactured a tale of how I broke my arm. Good times!
I know that I was/am blessed for the time in history and place in the world I was born. My childhood will always reside in that special place inscribed in my heart as unique, rare, and precious…it was vintage in every sense. Just thinking about it makes me want to go outside and climb a tree! So, maybe I will…..and take a book along with me.
The most simple things can bring the most happiness . ~ Izabella Scorupco