Feral Children

This couplet of sentences was written in response to a writing challenge limited to 50 words, but also a recent article wondering why we’re denying our kids freedoms we enjoyed. I’d love to read a snapshot of your memories of a less chaperoned youth. Maybe together we can muster enough nostalgia to hazard our kids exploring the world a bit more without us.


We raced ten-speeds through three miles of neighborhood streets, screamed down the sledding hill into the flood plains, wove through the horse path leading to more backyards, and pedaled up the hill to find our friends. Mom had no idea where we were, so getting home by dinner was key.

No permission, no helmets, no schedule...

No permission, no helmets, no schedule…

24 responses

  1. As a late teen, I traveled through Europe with my best friend for a month. We had some cash, backpacks and very little in the way of brains. We gave our parents a rough idea of where we were headed (as in, which COUNTRY). I guess they held their breath and assumed we’d be on the plane home. After sleeping in train stations and parks, on beaches and in bug-infested hostels, we coasted home with dirty clothes, dirtier hair and absolutely no money.

    • Absolutely unfathomable now. I recall entire afternoons cutting through backyards to get no where in particular. Scabbed knees and mosquito bites were the tattoos of summer. “Whole or half?” were the only sandwich options offered, and no one was allergic. I muddied my brand new Nikes crawling through a giant drain pipe, looked for four leaf clovers everywhere, and jumped on the neighbor’s trampoline without permission. Mom couldn’t tell you where we were, but knew if she yelled loud and long enough, we’d get home. I was ten.

      • Our kids too were raised in your era. Complete with the scabbed knees, bug bites, eating on the run. The closest their Mom ever came to a heart attack was the time when a local cop appeared at our door with our youngest in his arms, the survivor in a bike/car incident. Before bike helmets, after band-aids.

  2. I love this! I spent hours wading in a little stream with all the other kids in the neighborhood. We had three rope swings there that hung from a tree. Someone had provided giant wooden spools from electrical wires so we used to stack them up in creaky unsteady towers, pass the swings up to one another, and jump off and swing. Would be unthinkable to provide such a place for children now. I wish I could go back and see it but the tree was cut down in the 1990’s.

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