“The Back 40”

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As far as I was concerned we had a gigantic back yard in this new house. It had a climbing tree, a swing set, a garden, a hand dug wading pool, brick walkways and lawn. It was very easy to pretend I was a cowboy(I don’t think anyone ever mentioned cowgirls to me.) I had a cowboy hat and a cap gun which shot off strips of caps making repeated loud bangs.

As I have mentioned earlier in my writings, all my friends were boys since that was who lived in the neighborhood. But we all loved the same things anyway: running, climbing, jumping, yelling, chasing and gunfights in the yard. My little brother was too little to participate when I was 3, 4 and 5. He was often in his play pen in the back yard watching us run around. I am amazed that play pens went out of fashion, replaced by very watchful parents. My mother didn’t have time to keep a constant eye on my brother, and he–to all appearances–seemed perfectly happy to be playing in his contraption. Once he was semi-reliable, my baby sister took over the play pen and my brother was free to join in the fun in the yard.

Only one family had a television, but there was almost no programming on the one station. It never occurred to any of our parents that we should be watching tv. They assumed that kids should be outdoors, running around. In the rain, we had boots and rain coats. In cooler weather we had jackets and hats. In the occasional snow we had snowsuits and boots. We all went home for dinner, followed by baths and bed.

By the way, some have commented that I must have had a wonderful childhood. Parts of it were indeed wonderful, but much of it wasn’t. I choose to chronicle the good times.

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