Friday, February 12, 2010

My very own wonder years

"There was a time when the world was enormous...Spanning the vast, almost infinite boundaries of your neighborhood. The place where you grew up. Where you didn't think twice about playing on someone else's lawn. And the street was your territory that occasionally got invaded by a passing car. It was where you didn't get called home until after it was dark. And all the people, and all the houses that surrounded you were as familiar as the things in your own room. And you knew they would never change."
Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years

I loved the television show The Wonder Years. It captured in words and music much of what it felt like to grow up in suburbia in the late 1960's and 70's. I've recently reconnected with some friends from my Elementary School days on facebook and its gotten me thinking. I will be honest and say we're going back more than a few years. Decades in fact. A childhood friend posted a class picture from our second grade year, another classmate left a comment and the memories of our own 'wonder years' rolled right into the present.

My mother made a scrapbook for me a while back which included, among other things, all my class photos. She also saved this-

Miss McGee was my second grade teacher and I loved her. Obviously. Even though she did correct my grammar on the note I wrote her.

I loved pretty much all of elementary school. I grew up in a fairly big neighborhood and we traveled around more or less as a group. Kids of all ages would meet in the middle of our street for huge games of kick the can and hide and seek. We played at the duck pond, even skating on it when it froze. We rode our bicycles everywhere. We felt free. We walked to was about seven blocks for my sister and I but there were bunches of us so it felt perfectly safe. And I think it was. We even walked home for an hour at lunch.

We had block parties and cook outs, sleep overs and birthday parties at home. We disagreed but we settled those things amongst ourselves. As kids. We hung out at the pool, caught fireflies in jars and watched Saturday morning cartoons. We built forts and wore bell bottoms and played dodge ball at recess. A war raged a world away yet for us it was still a time of innocence. We knew each other well..knew parents and siblings and family pets...knew whose mom was always up for a houseful of kids and whose mom would shoo us outdoors. We knew strength and weakness. We argued and loved and defended each other. And we learned from one another lessons that we carried out of the neighborhood and on into life.

I haven't talked to some of these friends in close to 30 years. Something very 21st century has brought the neighborhood full circle. We're older (definitely) and wiser (hopefully) but underneath it all we're still the kids from Barclay.

'Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like a lot of other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder.'
Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years

Check out more Flashback Friday posts at Mylestones


  1. Great post! Loved the note :) I also like The Wonder Years.

  2. This brings back lots of memories, although my childhood years were a little before yours. My high school classmates have recently been discussing elementary school memories through an email list.

    We too played kick the can and hide and seek. Daddy would whistle us in when it was time to get ready for bed.

    In those days, we trick or treated the whole neighborhoods while our parents stayed home to pass out candy.

  3. You and I had the same childhood! I feel sad for kids's nothing like we had it.Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I loved the note--especially that you gave her choice in her answer! And correcting your grammar--sounds like something I would do! Great post. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. I enjoyed this. Childhood was wonderful, it sounded like my neighborhood. We played all the games you mentioned and also a favorite was double dutch (jumprope). I was pretty good when I was little. Memories... Things have changed a lot. I am glad I grew up when I did!

    until next time... nel

  6. Oh. My. That is priceless, Joyce. I wish I was as organized as your mother in saving everything.

    Yes. No. Maybe... Love it.

  7. Oh that note is just precious!
    Thanks for linking up today!

  8. *sigh* This post is making me want to get out Daniel's school papers that I've kept and go through them. *sigh*
    Yes, those were such different times, although I was a decade or two behind you, Joyce 50's/60's. But they were good, memorable years.

  9. What a great post. I grew up in Iowa and have SO many of those same memories. I miss that kind of life for my kids.

    Thanks for sharing


  10. Happy Valentines Day!
    There's a surprise for you over at my blog :)

  11. Your note reminds me of a litte scrap of paper that I have tucked away in a shoebox.

    Do you like me?

    Yes, No, Maybe.

    The "yes" is marked, and looking at that graphite circle takes me to a tender place.

  12. Hi Joyce,
    Any idea if your Miss McGee's first name was Donna?
    I also share the same childhood as you...thanks for bringing back happy memories!

  13. It makes me happy that she corrected your punctuation. So funny and cute. :)

  14. It's cool that you have that note. Love that last quote!


  15. This post makes me really really miss Trinity Farms....

  16. This is such a fun post.... and I LOVED The Wonder Years.