On Being a Free Range Kid in 1964

Utah passes a law legalizing free range kids.

What a great idea. In Utah, you can let your child go to the park alone and various pantywaists won’t be able to sic the police and other state organs on you, the parent.

From the article linked above:

“We’ve become so helicopter-ish as parents, and as society expecting parents to be that way, that we are kind of robbing children of some of the joys of childhood,” he said.

Some question whether the measure is needed. Utah authorities don’t want to micromanage parents, but leaving kids to fend for themselves is sometimes dangerous, said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

“Right now, parents have pretty much all the liberty they need to parent as they see fit,” he said. If such a law isn’t worded carefully, it could become a defense for parents in child abuse cases, he said. “We want to be careful this … doesn’t comprise our ability as prosecutors to hold abusive parents accountable.”

Fillmore said his proposal addresses those concerns by specifying that kids must be mature enough to take on the activities without hurting themselves. The bill doesn’t give specific ages, which would allow police and prosecutors to handle things on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Parents have been investigated and some saw their children temporarily removed after people reported children doing things like playing basketball in their yards or walking to school alone, he said. Fillmore wasn’t aware of any similar cases in Utah.

Think on that a bit. Walking to school alone is enough to get you arrested and your child given to the state.

imagesWell, I am sure glad things were a bit looser in 1964. You see, my parents were getting dressed to go to a party. A party where only adults were allowed and children were not even considered. Cigarettes, alcohol, dancing were central to the event. Our father left to pick up the baby sitter while my mother was preparing. We boys were doing whatever boys did back then. But the youngest brother, aged approximately 2 1/2, wanted to go with Daddy to pick up Florence, the baby sitter.

That was not Dad’s plan. But youngest brother was determined and so he left the house to catch up with Dad’s car.

Alone, and dressed only in his diapers, he departed the house, went to the corner, turned and proceeded to cross two intersections on his way to Florence’s house. He was now in the commercial part of town, in the early evening.

One of my friends, and his father, were on the way to pick up their baby sitter. Apparently, he was invited to accompany his dad. As my brother trotted up the main drag, my friend said to his father: “Hey, isn’t that D***** *****? Unsure, but aware that a 2 1/2 year old baby, dressed only in his diaper, really shouldn’t be out alone, they pulled over and asked my brother  his name. The reply was unintelligible. The next step was to call our house. I answered the phone only to be queried by my friend’s father. My only answer was, “I don’t know, but he’s not here. Maybe he’s with Dad”.

Five minutes later, my little brother was delivered to our house. Mom was still getting dressed, and Dad hadn’t made it back with the baby sitter. No one was the wiser about my brother’s walkabout.

The point is not that my parents were terrible parents, but that my brother got as far as he did even with city traffic and people on the sidewalks. It did not seem too strange.

Of course, in 2018 there would have been quite a stink. Police, child protection services, concerned citizens. All busy deciding that they know best.

The parents were the subject of a few jokes, and our grandmother was a little taken aback, but we all survived. Nobody was bruised, no long term issues were created, and my brother remains the same determined fella that he demonstrated in 1964.

A free range kid.






A few weeks ago, the Agricoli cooked a great meal that met an undeserved fate. Tonight, we are going to break new ground in our favorite cookbook.

On the board tonight: Braised Pork with Apples, Mushrooms, and Calvados. Yes, I cannot drink alcohol, but the recipe says that the brandy will cook off. We’ll let you know.

Updates to follow….

Update: As good as we thought it would be. And, even better for our reduced budget, the cost of the pork shoulder was a bank account friendly $7.35.

Wishful Thinking

As mentioned at the other site, I’m on a kind of sabbatical. Would that it could be the kind of sabbatical where I get to polish my backcast and presentation. But a man can dream, can’t he………

Picture courtesy of Pixdaus, a blog you really should visit if you want to see some stunning pictures.

The Thin Blue Line

I’m a law abiding citizen (at least for most of the last 25 years, or so) that doesn’t cause too much trouble in the course of the daily grind. But something happened today that kind of sticks in my craw.

Moving down Calhoun Street to the West this morning (an especially pretty day), my line of cars eventually got to the area of MUSC and Roper Hospital. Doing my safe driving scan, I noticed a knot of people on the south sidewalk. Closer examination revealed that a policeman was being interviewed by a camera crew and reporter. She (the reporter) was pretty, the cop looked very squared away, and my gaze lingered on the scene.

My gaze was distracted by another policeman, not in the shot, who was pointing at me with the famous v, as in pointing at his eyes and then me and then the street. I got the message: quit gawking and pay attention to the road.

Well, his gesture irritated me. I gave him the v back. He didn’t like it, but what could he do?

As I proceeded down the street, slowly in line and towards the red light, I thought about the situation. Something has happened in the last couple of decades; I don’t know who or what is to blame, but our relationship with our police force has changed.

It seems like they used to exist as a protector for the average citizen, the blue line that stood between the people and the criminals. Now, it seems that they are our monitors, making sure that we all don’t do something we’re not supposed to do; or they are our 3rd grade teacher, telling us that this behavior is not good for us. Apparently the typical cop thinks we all need to be told what to do, how to do it, and we’d better not give him any lip.

That guy doesn’t know me from Adam’s house cat, he doesn’t have a clue about the fact that I have never had an auto accident in my life, or a speeding ticket in 20 years. He doesn’t know about the defensive driving I do every day, but he knows that it’s perfectly within his rights to chastise me for my driving.

Three cops standing around while a fourth is being interviewed for TV. But I need to be told that I’m out of line. Sheesh.

April 12, 1861

Ft. Sumter, April 12, 1861

Today marks one of the most important dates in the history of our United States. The young country was split apart, over the issue of slavery, and on this date the war commenced. It is astonishing to me that, as of this moment, no mention has been made in any media that I can find.

From this war emerged a nation again united, still facing severe cultural conflict that would take another century to overcome, but with its people resolved to remain one nation.

Allow me, your scribe, to present part of the story……….

The First Shot of the Civil War.