Thursday, April 22, 2010

Old-Fashioned Kids

Last night, I made two loaves of bread and I took one over to my neighbors.  I love to cook, and I especially love to bake, but I've lost 30 pounds since October and so I don't eat most of what I make.  Well, most of what I bake, I eat what I cook or you know, what's the point?  Anyway, I love my neighbors, and I send them food just about a couple times a week.

When I went over last night, it was especially charming because I brought a loaf of whole wheat bread, and it was the one thing that they had forgotten to get at the store, and they were just trying to work up the energy to head down off Walton's Mountain to go pick some up.  Lucky coincidence!  I've said many times that one of my most favorite things about cooking from scratch is the ability to avoid the store; I love that I can make tortillas, cookies, bread, granola, etc. and usually faster than it would take me to go buy it.  Certainly cheaper.

Before I left, I remembered that I wanted to ask Lior if he he knew of a place where I could buy a small piece of granite or marble, to put on top of my new table.  I just want to put something there that  I can roll out dough and knead on without destroying the wood table.  It's been working fine, but if there's a castoff from one of his jobs, or a way to buy a tiny amount, I thought I'd just ask.  It's my new policy, after all.

Guess who happened to have a perfectly wee slab, right there in his house?  It doesn't cover the whole table, but it covers just about half, and it's certainly bigger than any pie I'll ever make (sorry, Erik, but it's true) and it's plenty big enough for kneading dough.  Happy day!

When I was there, they were laughing and telling me that they were just the other night talking about how "old fashioned" my kids are.  Oh?  Were they....what?  Were they dressed as hobos?  Were they fishing with bamboo poles?  Were they...whittling?  They were playing outside.  That now qualifies, apparently, as old fashioned!  I kind of know what they are talking about, though.  They're basically the only kids you see running around outside on our whole street.  We live in a secluded court, at the top of a hill, so I know we are totally lucky to have such a fun, safe-from-cars spot for them to play catch, play kickball, and ride scooters with abandon.  Still, it's interesting that it's notable that they are outside.

Still, do I need to even mention that we, as children, were out from sun-up until sun-down on most days?  Up until second grade, we lived at the deadend of a street in Fremont.  Our court was the spot where neighborhood kids tended to congregate, so a pick-up game of hide-and-seek or Pickle was always in the works.  When we moved to the farm in Pleasanton, we'd disappear on our horses or our bikes and we'd stop by the house to get sammies for lunch (eaten on horseback, usually) and off we'd go again.  We were never alone, but we were never with adults, either.

I consider myself to have had an amazing childhood, but there's this other side of this, too.  My brother, Jason, used to ride his Big Wheel (obsessively!  crazily!) and there was this creepy kid, William, who lived at the end of our court.  Jason always did this in "full gear" (my dad rides motorcycles, and we grew up with an abundance of helmets, goggles, and gloves at our fingertips) and one day, William tucked a lit firecracker between his goggles and his helmet.  I could not make this up.  But here's another difference:  the gentleman who lived across the street (I almost wrote "older gentleman" here, but ha!  haha! he was probably about my current age now that I think about it :-| ) was outside and saw this happen.  He removed the firecracker, gave William what-for, and informed my mom.  All the adults agreed that this would have "scared him" but it wouldn't have "hurt him".  I have no idea what information they were basing this on.

(Side note:  When I was in high school, for some unfathomable reason, my friend Mary Kelley and I drove to that old neighborhood and found William, smoking pot, and living in his parents' garage.)

Besides our court, the other popular place to hang out was at the Severin's house.  They were six totally wild kids (the third oldest was my older brother's best friend, the youngest girl was my best friend) and their mom was "a divorcee" (the scandal!), which meant that they were under the supervision of the oldest girl and boy.  Um, they were about 16, I guess.  That was the house where we put Jason in the dryer (that poor kid!) and it was the house where I ran into the brick fireplace.  I was out on the porch with wheat stalks from the field behind our houses stuck to a gaping wound in my forehead (Johnny was a boy scout, and he swore this would stave the bleeding).  Have you ever cut your face?  Blood.  I had to sit on the front porch so we wouldn't get in trouble for getting blood on the carpet.  I still have a scar from those stitches, right between my eyes.

So, when I see people overprotective of their kids, part of me sort of "gets it".  We were not overprotected, and we got hurt, got in trouble, and got bullied once in a while, too.  But there was this other thing...we learned stuff.  Important kid stuff.  Like, we learned which older kids smoked, or were mean, and truthfully, we learned to avoid them or head the other way when we saw them coming.  If we had met these same kids as middle schoolers, we may have thought they were "cool", and made a beeline straight for them.  But, because we met them when we were young enough to think they were...scary, frankly... we weren't so fascinated by them growing up.  I truly think the whole experience was what made us capable of making better choices as we grew up.  My older brother is excluded from this statement, as he was the scary dude you tried to avoid on the street corner, but that's another story altogether.  As for me, all my bad choices were made when I was old enough to know better.  haha!  Totally not even kidding.

So, what the heck? That was a real rabbit hole.  Anyway, the point I wanted to make was, I think it's totally normal to play outside.  What I don't understand is this:
Why do my kids insist on putting their scooters directly inside the front door?  We have a small house, with no foyer at all.  But here we have shoes kicked off and scooters parked, and hello, are you trying to kill me?


  1. My children would be considered "old fashioned kids" too! In fact, it is well after lunch time now and I must make them come in to eat!


  2. For the record, we moved to the Farm when I was two years old. If the dryer and firecracker incident happened today, some judge would have had everyone on lithium and taking anger management classes and they would have been offering me free counseling to try and heal my scars.

  3. @Gina ~ Just like us at dinner last night! I say we're on the right track... :)

    @Jason ~ Quit exaggerating. You were ALMOST 3 when we moved. And...well, it is true that you are scarred. :) Sorry about that.

  4. First things first- awesome piece of marble/granite/shiny stone! That is a perfect place for bashing out aggression on bread dough. Um, I mean, kneading.

    Second, I spent a good chunk of my childhood outside, too. It's so sad that kids these days spend all their time playing video games and watching tv.

  5. @Carmen ~ As teachers, we see so much of it! I think that's why I'm so TOTALLY OKAY with spending so much time outside, playing hard...they do PLENTY of movies and video games, believe it. My husband's a gamer,and it's just part of life around here. My job is to balance that with some fresh air. :)

  6. What is it about baby brothers and dryers? I stuck Timmy in our dryer. However, the thing Hony and I did (mostly I did) when we were visiting my grandparents in Oregon was to put Timmy (probably around 3yrs. old) in the camping cooler (in the garage) and closed the lid and then we went into the house. As we walked in, Grandma Locke asked us, "Where's Timmy?" I think I said something like, "in the cooler." In a panic, she ran outside to the garage, opened the lid,and took him out of the cooler (he was probably in there for a couple of minutes). Then, she asked us who put him in there. Well, Hony and I pointed at each other. I knew that I had done it but I guess I knew it was very bad because of the way grandma Locke reacted. Well, both of us were sent to the room. To this day it scares me to think about this episode and what could have happened. Moose

  7. OMG you remember that Waltons episode where the kid was trapped in the Frigedaire at the dumps? Those old refrigerators that had a 'locking' hasp on the doors? That MESSED ME UP. Erik and I STILL talk about that episode today! We both have it earmarked under "traumatic childhood memories". That's some scary stuff.

    As for baby brothers in the dryer...come on, that's just funny. I kid, I kid. I can't believe even half the stuff we did in the seventies...from piling 8 or 12 kids into Gram's Buick (floor boards, back windshield, sitting in laps...forget carseats, we weren't even wearing seatbelts), to sticking things in our ears and up our noses (wait...was that just me? *cough*), to pop rocks and coke. We're lucky any of us are here to tell the tales, I'm telling you what.

  8. The Waltons is my favorite TV program, yet I can't remember that episode. UUUUUh, I wonder why? Moose