June 9, 2017

I Miss Mayberry

It's a fabulously gorgeous summer morning here...the first of the summer, really.  I don't have any plans for the day so am just hanging out here at home doing some chores, rereading a favorite book (We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates), and sitting out on the deck enjoying my little corner of the world. There is one thing missing, however.  Children.  I know there are kids living in the neighborhood, but I haven't seen a single one.  Where are they?

I know moms work now, when they most often didn't back when I was growing up so kids are off to daycare, camp, and any other summer program parents can find to make sure their young ones are taken care of through the day. Evenings mean other activities that take everyone away from home...baseball, dance lessons, gymnastics, soccer, etc.  But what about the kids who have stay-at-home moms and don't go somewhere else all day?  I know there are some of those nearby.  Where are they?

What a difference from my own childhood in this very same neighborhood.  Back then we kids were out the door as soon as breakfast was over and we never wanted to come back inside!  There were miles and miles to go on bikes; trees to climb; clubhouses and forts to build; a sky to be touched from our favorite swing (did anyone ever really swing all the way over the top bar of the swingset?); huge games of kickball, wiffle ball, hide and seek, tag and the like to be played; Popsicles and icy bottles of Coke to be begged from someone's mom; adventures to be had; and come dusk mason jars beckoned to be filled with lightning bugs.

It really was a different time and I'm glad I lived through it.  You never see kids outside unless it's for some organized activity or sport.  They don't have free time, the freedom to do dumb kid things, skin both knees, or develop imaginations.  It's sad that my generation was the last one to enjoy that kind of childhood.

I feel like that old person going on about the old days, but you know what? Even the adults were different.  Back in those ancient times, adults used to gather outside after dinner to chat with their neighbors.  In my neighborhood they'd all bring their lawn chairs (remember those?) and sit in a circle under the nextdoor neighbor's massive maple tree.  In other neighborhoods porches were the gathering spots.

We've lost so much.  We've lost the art of conversation and the comfort of knowing our neighbors like family.  Neighbors used to be friends, part of each other's daily lives.  They helped one another out and they'd keep an eye on each other's kids...knowing it was perfectly okay, and even expected, that if they caught little Johnny up to no good they would correct him.  And then call his mother so he'd get in more trouble once he got home.  Kids showed respect to all adults no matter who they were.

As my kids always tell me, times have changed, but you won't convince me it's for the better.  I just can't believe it's progress that we can now be completely isolated while surrounded by so many.  You can't go back again, but I wish you could.  I miss that Mayberry feel of my childhood.


  1. This is SO good, Stacy! In spite of our geographical (and generational) differences, there still exists a memory, a longing. 'Suppose that's what I'm hoping to discover on this, the next chapter of my life.

    Oh wow, this song! ... Thank you for including it!

    1. Thank you. It's nice to know someone else gets it. I know I try things to recreate even a fraction of what I remember, but it's hard to get anyone else to go along. Sigh.

      Glad you liked the song. It's an older one, but a favorite of mine. :)

  2. I always feel so blessed that I grew up in a time when kids played outside all the time. I too miss Mayberry. My town was similar. Kids today miss so much with their noses buried in computer screens (phones and tablets too).


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