Common Activities When We Were Kids That Would Be Considered Irresponsible Or Dangerous Today

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Ken Anderson, Sep 17, 2022.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    What things did you commonly do or experience when you were a kid that would be considered irresponsible or dangerous today? By this, I'm not talking about things that were considered irresponsible or dangerous then because, throughout history, kids have done irresponsible or dangerous things. I am talking about things that weren't uncommon then, wouldn't have raised too many eyebrows, and certainly wouldn't have attracted the attention of government agencies.

    This isn't the place to go to the Internet looking for pictures of old toys, photos, or videos, since we have other threads for that. This is in the Other Reminiscences category, so I'm looking for things that you did or experienced when you were a kid that kids are unlikely to be allowed to do or experience today.

    Some of these might differ greatly depending on geography. Since I grew up in a rural area, there were probably things that were normal for me that a city kid might have been arrested for, and probably vice versa.

    As examples from my childhood...
    • Going on a 3-4-day bike ride with no one over the age of 12 or 13 along.
    • Overnight camping trips without my parents even knowing where I was.
    • Given the gift of a firearm at the age of 14 or earlier.
    • Deliberately and repeatedly rolling a car over in the field at the age of 14 or 15.
    I would not use playing with actual dynamite as an example because, although I did that, I would have gotten in trouble for that if I would have been caught by a relative, and the police might have been involved if I had been caught by someone else. It's highly unlikely that I would have ended up at Guantanamo or its equivalent, however.

    I have more, but this is enough to get us started.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
  2. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    We played on the railroad tracks.

    We climbed trees and tried to build treehouses.

    We rolled down hills in old barrels.

    We played with firecrackers.

    My dad would let us sit on top of the car as he drove slowly down the road (my dad was soooo cool).
     
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  3. Krystal Shay

    Krystal Shay Very Well-Known Member
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    I lived dangerously. I Rode a bicycle without a helmet and knee pads. :D By most parents today, that is considered dangerous. I have not seen a little kid riding a bike without body gear in many years. :rolleyes:

    I'm sure I lived on the edge more, but that was the first thing that came to my mind.:D
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    We would have been teased mercilessly if we were to wear a helmet and knee pads. I don't think I even knew such things existed for bicycle riders. We rode motorcycles in our early teens without helmets.
     
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  5. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I had my own bolt-action single shot 22 rifle when I was 12. Drove the farm truck all over the place, unlicensed, as soon as I could "reach the pedals." Drank from a water hose. Ran alongside my grandpa's old Dodge pickup as he putted down the dirt road in front of our house, jumped on the running board to talk to him till he got to the curve, then jumped off and ran back home. (This was 2 or 3 times a week. On his way home he'd usually have a "sody-water" or a candy bar for me.) Rode in the back of a pickup truck with my teenage brother driving, cutting through fields and speeding like a nitwit.
     
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  6. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Oh yeah... I used to lie on the shelf thing under the rear windshield of the family car as my dad sped along the highway. We don't need no stinkin' seatbelts!
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Yeah, the only time I saw seatbelts was when I was digging for change. The seat belts were kept tucked behind the cushions.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    In the winter, either my dad or an uncle would pull us along behind the car on the inverted hood of another car. Although I never did learn to skate, the lake was cleared for skating by pouring gasoline on top of it, then lighting it on fire to melt the snow that was on top of the ice. Then, it was just a matter of waiting for the melted snow to freeze. While we were skating or otherwise playing on the lake, it was lit up by a fire that usually consisted of burning tires.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Let's see...

    I used to throw aerosol cans in the burn barrel for the obvious effect.

    I made cannons by punching holes in the tops & bottoms of soda/beer cans, taping them end-to-end making a long tube, then squirt Ronson lighter fluid into the bottom can, shaking the assembly so the fumes atomized through the entire thing, then put a match to the bottom. *BOOM!* It never occurred to me to wonder why no one called the police...those were very loud. Sometimes the cans would split open from the force, especially if I shoved a tennis ball in the top can.

    Like Mary, we also played on the railroad tracks. When the train stopped running (the B&O Railroad) we would ride minibikes along the tracks and kids on the tops of the gully would throw huge dirt clods at us. In return, we would tape firecrackers to large rocks, light them, and throw them at those kids. To this day I have no idea who they were.

    We would burn off our leaves rather than rake them up.

    JARTS.

    I've been in bottle rocket fights while canoeing. The scout troop was collateral damage, but they didn't mind. War is hell. ;)

    Regarding seat belts: We would climb around the station wagon, from the front to the back to the back-back, and then reverse the other way while my parents were driving. In town or on the highway, it didn't matter.
     
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  10. Hedi Mitchell

    Hedi Mitchell Supreme Member
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    Sleeping in the back of pick up truck,while dad drove home from the lake. When visitng cousins, having to sleep with the boy cousin on a pallet on the floor. At age 12 moma said no more. Playing outside after dark and riding bike .
    Walking home from school totally alone at age 6. Riding from Missouri to Texas on a train all by myslf at age seven. These come to mind first.
     
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  11. Bruce Andrew

    Bruce Andrew Very Well-Known Member
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    Probably the most dangerous thing, although nobody gave it a second thought, was riding on those old Farmall tractors with no fenders. That big old wheel was inches from us, and one slip easily could have been deadly. Or standing on the draw bar, with whatever implement behind us waiting to suck us in. But never any close calls, we were just told to "Hang on tight" so we did.

    A bunch of kids riding in the back of a pickup was lame compared to that ^, although probably a felony today.

    Got my first shotgun at age 14, that my dad got me for my birfday (sic).
     
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  12. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Supreme Member
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    Being raised, during my high school years, on a hog farm, I seriously don't remember doing anything that would be considered dangerous today. Just typical farm work and taking care of hogs. Then again, this forum isn't about "working on a farm".
     
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  13. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Growing up on a ranch as an only child and with three boys as the closest neighbors, I can't think of one safe thing I did by today's standards. o_O

    After chores were done on a winter's day weekend, working on an old radio might appear safe, but knowing the power supply was 350 volts and lethal, requiring unplugging and discharging filter capacitors to be safe, would fall under danger for children by today's standards.:mad:

    Rolling down the hill curled up in a tractor tire might be considered dangerous.:(

    Ice skating on a rough ranch pond resulting in broken ankles and legs for the neighbor boys might be dangerous by today's standards.:eek:

    Washing the grease off of my hands with gas and diesel might be frowned upon today.o_O

    Putting an M80 in a can and packing it 3/4 full with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and folding over the top part with just the fuse sticking out and igniting it might be considered reckless endangerment. It was sure easier than digging out a stump.:eek:

    Tractor races when the folks went to town were irresponsible and didn't bear a seal of approval.:confused:

    Quick draw with 22 single-action revolvers might be considered careless for a 10-year-old girl, but only one of the neighbor boys, age 14, ever shot himself in the leg :p

    Ditto on the pickup capers already posted by Beth.;)

    Smoking columbine mixed with mary jane from along the ditch banks, was dangerous by today's standards but could be made safe by not mixing in the columbine.:oops:

    Working with the wrangler boys with unbroke horses while the parents were away, would land us all in child custody today.:rolleyes:

    Going into the local coal mine to help push out carts of coal (because the government had shut them down except for personal use) so we could get coal for winter would be frowned upon today, even though the owner lady adopted me as her niece for the day that made it legal then. My dad was down with back problems and could drive but not so much pushing or loading. Her husband was also laid up so it was all girl power loading that ton of coal. It was already mined, just needed loaded, carted out, and then loaded in the pickup. That was my first time underground and my last for coal. Dumping the cart in the pickup was the easy part. :)

    Going to church was hazardous because parents could give you a backhand knocking the wind out of you and the congregation would nod in approval. The slightest sign of non-repentance might earn you a fresh one with many amens from the congregation.:D

    The safest thing I can remember doing was sitting on the couch with my mother listening to Bible reading after I pulled off one of my careless stunts. :(
     
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  14. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    Unfortunately my father was Mr. Safety Regulations before they were popular. He could think of something dangerous about every little thing. One time he got angry with a boy I went out with, when he found out his car was overheating on a date. I made the mistake of telling him the boy would turn off the engine and coast down hills to cool off the engine.
     
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  15. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    I forgot the best one. Tubing wasn't all that much fun and fairly safe and runner sleds only worked well on ice and no one had a bobsled, so at about age 7, I was struck with genius after my dad reroofed a barn. The old sheet metal had a few rush spots, but take a 12' X 3' piece and curl up the front and fold over the front corners over a 5' piece of hemp rope making a hold for the driver and there you have it. Now imagine a 20' high ranch pond dam with a 50 ' slope before it levels off and then load on 3 boys with a girl on the back and imagine that racing down the dam. No attempt was made to dull the edges. With several layers of clothes worn and ski masks, no direct body cuts were ever experienced. Lots of sore muscles and bruises with an occasional already loose tooth dislodged and lost, but the tooth fairy didn't hold that against anyone.
     
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