Precious Moments on the Front Lawn

Precious Moments on the Front Lawn
Image provided by
martinak15 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinaphotography/

Yes, the town I live in is small, but still, where are the teenagers? If I was to assume, all of them are in their respective bedrooms on their laptops or iPhones thinking that they are socializing.

From the time I was twelve years old until I had the stroke that summer right before I turned eighteen, if I wasn’t in school, studying, at my part-time job, babysitting or helping my mom (which wasn’t very often), I’d be sitting in my front yard, usually under the crabapple tree. Sure, there were times during the winter when it wasn’t a good idea to be out there, but because it was Colorado, there were some pretty warm days during the winter months.

What was I doing out there? I was socializing with the neighbors and my friends who lived on the same street. Yes, I had a number of friends who did live right there on Eudora Street. And I didn’t live downtown were there’s more likely to be pockets of cliques. I lived in Suburbia.

I learned how to flirt out there in the coolness of the shade that one tree provided. I learned how to be friends with those of the older generation by striking up conversations with the man next door, the woman who lived up the block from me and anyone else I saw outside. I learned how to be compassionate by observing when neighbors needed help.

At the time, I was sure that all residential streets were like mine. After all, on the next street over, Elm Street, I saw the same sort of thing going on, at least during the warmer months of the year. However, when I stop to think about those times now, I don’t remember this activity going beyond these two streets. Were the residents living there an oddity? I felt that life was extremely normal but I guess we could have been a little peculiar. It was the 1960s and early 1970s, when the “revolutions” of sex, love, race, and I don’t know what else were going on. If you went by what was on the news and in the newspapers, I was only supposed to hang around with my “clique”. Yet, there I was gabbing away with everyone on my street and they were gabbing back at me.

In today’s world, I don’t even see teenagers hanging out at the corner or at any of the fast-food restaurants. I wonder if they even hang out with each other at school or if they just text each other like mad. Do the teenagers of today know how to be social? I doubt it.

 

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13 Replies to “Precious Moments on the Front Lawn”

  1. Interesting question. I don’t know any teens so can’t say. Even my grand kids don’t talk (7 and 10-3/4 😀 ) because they’re on their iPads.
    When I was growing up, we LIVED outside. (A good way out of doing chores by getting out of the house too.) 😀

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    1. Like you, Tess, I lived outside — except when it was actually snowing or raining. But as soon as the storm was over, I’d be out there again. Have you seen the movie, Wall – E? It does a good job of showing which way our society is headed.

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  2. I was an outdoor kid too, though I’m as guilty of feeling the pull of smartphones and social media as the next person. The way younger people live their lives online has definitely had a noticeable impact on face-to-face- interaction. Even when teaching high school students, I had to take the time to give them instruction on the basics of how to have a class discussion as so many do not develop the finer points.

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  3. My youngest is always busy. He is always involved in some sort of backyard touch football, basketball, and frisbee golf. The other two were library dwellers.

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    1. Did the two library dwellers get to the library by their own power or was this all online? If they were going to the local buiding of the library, at least they were out and about other people to some extent. I’m with your youngest though. Touch football is a blast.

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  4. I know when i was younger we sure spent a lot of time socializing too, if not in person, then at least talking on the phone. I think you are right, Glynis, most kids today are too busy texting each other. Or they are connecting on Instagram or Snapchat. Young people are going to forget how to have a real conversation with someone.

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    1. I already see the recline in communication with my great niece and nephew, both teenagers. They’re nice kids and and have a lot to offer, but getting them to say more than 5 words is a real challenge. I can remember talking until I was told to be quiet when I was their age.

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  5. We are of the same generation, Glynnis … and, I have the same front yard memories, except mine encompassed the entire street of our Chicago suburb.

    Magical … and not just with the filter of hindsight. I think I KNEW it was magical at the time.

    I’m glad my daughters were teenagers before Facebook and other social media. They had those “entire neighborhood” experiences in the “between Baltimore/DC” suburb.

    Thanks for another great and thought-provoking post!

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