photo of classic Barbie
This is not the doll I played with. That one doesn’t want to appear on my blog.

My amazing sister gave me this on my last visit to her house (which is kind of like visiting Rivendale, only without elves and done in mid-century awesome). Instead of a river running through it, Barbies™ run through our past. I can’t show you pictures of our original Barbies™, because they have been seriously “loved,” not just by us, but by our daughters. And some of them received unkind attention from our brothers. O.O

We aren’t just sisters, we’re sisters who shared a bedroom, actually we shared two different bedrooms and a double bed until one of the big brothers got big enough to go to college. We also shared that double with her huge stuffed pig, but this blog post is about Barbies™, not about the horrors of sharing a double bed with a stuffed animal almost as big as both of us.) I think. It might be about childhood and the joys of roaming free and playing.

And turning your imagination loose.

Yeah, it might be about that. Those?

We had a happy childhood, despite the four brothers (yes, there were four), and the stuffed pig and yes, despite the Barbies™, cuz I know some people have issues with the Barbies™. I loved playing with my dolls.

I loved playing.

We lived in a small town with a high concentration of kids just in our single block of houses. I think at one point the street 18 houses (nine on each side) clocked it at over fifty kids. Big kids. Little kids. Girl kids. Boy kids. A couple of Bully kids.

Kids. Lots of kids.

And there were few fences, so you could almost roam the length the street via backyards. Now I go home and most, if not all, the yards are fenced. But back then, the kids and pets were free range. And we weren’t confined to just the street. We had bicycles, and we rode them up and down and all around. We rode for miles. We rode for pop (also known as soda or soda pop). We rode for adventure. (I rode for books, too.) We rode because we could. Our town was small but our imaginations free ranged, too.

The streets weren’t just streets. They were space lanes and the frontier and castles. They were filled with fun and danger. Our parks were minimal, allowing our imaginations to make them into anything we wanted. We particularly loved playing on the bleachers. All those rows and stairs could be adapted to any “story” we were playing. And don’t get me started on how much better our swings were. Cuz they were.

And we could take our stories home and play them with our dolls in the quiet of our own yards. Our doll play was also not limited by their wardrobes.

It’s pretty cool that parents can buy a spaceship tent for their kids, but I wonder if kids’ imaginations are as big on the inside as ours used to be? Mine was and remains a TARDIS for sure. Lol

I honestly don’t know. What went on inside my head was, well, mine and only shared with trusted friends. When we tell stories of our adventures now my mom’s hair gets a little whiter. Is there still a secret and magical World of Kids? I’m an adult now and don’t have a “get in” card.

I know the reality of being a free range kid (something that just can’t be in today’s much more dangerous word), played some part in helping me become an author. I brought all of it, the good and bad, with me into my adult world and I mine it freely for my books.

So I guess this is a post about Barbie™ and more. It’s about remembering all the wonderful things about being a kid. About playing and reading and living. It’s about remembering. 🙂

What about you? What did you bring with you from your childhood? Sometimes I feel like I was born in another century—oh wait, I was! LOL What is it/was it like for you in your “them?”

You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.

AnaBanana logo

Perilously yours,

P.S. One of the things I “brought” into my adult world was the stuffed pig. I “killed” that thing in this book (lol):

cover for Do Wah Diddy Die
Some rules are gonna get broken…

You can buy this book in digital or audio (used print editions also available).

Were You a Free Range Kid?
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6 thoughts on “Were You a Free Range Kid?

  • April 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I was definitely a free range kid but sadly the world is so different now. My son, who is 31, didn’t get to experience childhood like I did. I would have had a nervous breakdown with worry when I think back on how I grew up!

    Loved my Barbie dolls too. I have that same one you posted but she has aged along with me. My grandmother kept all of my Barbie in the attic and when she passed and we had to sell the house, I brought them home to FL with me. The earlobes of my Barbie dolls have turned green from me piercing their ears with glass headed pins! I don’t have any grandkids to pass them on to so I should give them away but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

    Thanks for the memories!
    Cindy Hamilton recently posted…Cover Reveal: TEN-GALLON TENSIONS in TEXAS by KASSANDRA LAMBMy Profile

    • April 12, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Oh my goodness! I had completely forgotten about the pin earrings! And yes, they did turn the ears green. Ah, those memories. Yeah, my kids did not have the freedom we had, though they grew up in cities. But still not sure I could have turned them loose. Even smaller towns are not as safe as they used to be.

      I rather suspect that if I came upon the stash of our Barbies, I might sit down and play a while. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • April 7, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Yeah, we were free range as long as we were home by 5pm or dark (whichever was earlier) we were good. We played hide-go-seak in all the neighbour backyards, well after dark, even backyards without associated kids LOL All the neighbours were on their front porches or steps and kept an eye on all of us. If you did something shaking head your mother knew about it before you got home.

    My mother and I have talked about this, for us she’d leave us outside to play no worries. Her granddaugther, mom would sit outside and watch her play. Her great-granddaughter (who’s just over 1yo) she doesn’t think she’d let outside (when shes older I mean, not at 1yo) unless someone else was there to watch her. The world’s changed….

    • April 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Yup, first light to last light was roaming time. In the summer, that was around ten at night. Sometimes we had to come in for a bit in the afternoon for “rest” time, but my memory is of being mostly free range. LOL

  • April 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Loved this post. Free range kids. Yeah. Too bad that’s not possible now. I, too, have 4 brothers. I also have 2 sisters. Needless to say, our toys were well loved or destroyed by the boys. Mom didn’t keep any of my toys (not after everyone got through with them). That’s why I saved my kids’ toys. The grandkids play with them now or my kids have them.

    • April 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      That’s exactly it with brothers. Loved and/or destroyed. LOL Yeah, I have some of my kids’ toys for the grandkids to play with. Different world we live in, isn’t it? Sigh.

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