A story in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch took me back. Nancy Cambria described a nostalgic day with 9-year-old Bryant Whalen exploring Mattese Creek near his grandmother’s home. She noted that a growing number of children are deprived of the freedom to explore the outdoors on their own due to parental concerns about safety or simply two-parent working families. The parents reminiscing in the story fondly recalled childhoods spent playing capture the flag, roaming the woods and scouring creeks for crawedaddys on their own.
I couldn’t help but smile because those of us “of a certain age” tend to recall our own childhoods through a different lens. Just this past weekend I drove my father past the house where I spent my first 10 years. We both laughed as we drove slowly down the flat street that I recall being a huge hill! The houses seemed so much closer than I remembered. And as we traced the path that all the neighborhood kids took to walk to school I was amazed at how short a trek it actually was. Can it be that my memory was playing tricks on me?
One of my son’s favorite memories is of the nature scavenger hunts I would send him and his friend on. Armed with a list of things like a spider, a worm, a rock with holes in it and some other exotic finds they’d have an hour or so to scour the neighborhood on their own. Sure enough, back they’d come with their finds…sometimes complaining that it wasn’t molting season so they couldn’t find a snakeskin or didn’t I know there are no eels in the rainwater retention pond? 😉