Now, I can't criticize this, as a 44-year-old bachelor who doesn't have any children. But every once in a while, for at least the past 10 years or so, I've wondered: Whatever happened to the kids? I occasionally see them doing things with their families. But what I don't see is what I had growing up: Neighborhood kids everywhere, playing pickup games of football, or stick-ball in the street, or basketball. I don't see them hanging around.
I know that I was in the last year of the Baby Boomers — born 1963 (64 is technically the last year, but we were all in the same grade). In Hasbrouck Heights and Toms River, at least, there were kids everywhere (especially Heights — virtually ever house had a couple of kids in it, and the houses without kids were known for being a bit unusual. They also had nicer lawns).
Guess I didn't realize I had it so good growing up. Or at least had the opportunity to make it so good. There were four kids on the right side, three kids on the left, six kids behind us, four catty-cornered, and the people with the really nice house and yard on the other catty-corner — their kids were grown up and working. Of course, I managed to find a way to be lonely, but hey, that's not the topic here. (I did remember saying, golly, there's only a few kids in this town when we moved to Toms River, because Heights was overflowing with them.)
Just kids, kids, kids — gobs and gobs of kids. We were everywhere. Outside. Doing all sorts of shit.
Now I go through that neighborhood and all the houses are much better groomed, and there are no kids.
In my neighborhood in Lehighton, well, there are a few youngsters, I think. I see them with their parents. There are a couple of teens running up and down the street on ATVs or dirt bikes, and I love shaking my fist at them and saying in an old man voice, "You kids, get out of my yard!" (LOL). (Actually, I always threaten to put up a clothesline if they make too much noise.)
Now, if you have kids, you've done your part, and I'm not criticizing you or anyone else. I'm just wondering when's the last time you see kids playing baseball or street hockey or stickball in the street?
I could just not be seeing them. Or kid-dom is different now. Perhaps it's all planned out. The so-called "Organization Kid." I don't know.