During the summer vacations or on the weekends, my mother certainly never had things planned for me to do. I was on my own for entertainment. (I don't mean that I had no supervision at all, I just mean SHE did not have my every hour scheduled. I was free to do as I pleased - within reason. I certainly knew my boundaries.)
If I wanted to read all day in my room, that was fine. If I wanted to sneak around the neighborhood pretending to be a spy, so be it. I could ride my bike anywhere around a two-block radius anytime I wanted. Looking back, I realize what a blissful time I had without even knowing it ...
When I was in fifth grade, we moved to Tampa, Florida, and lived in a subdivision for the first time. School was now an 11 block walk. Now, I had much more freedom! I rode my bike everywhere.
Our sub-division stretched from the elementary school 11 blocks away from my house to the high school which was about 6 blocks from my house in the other direction. Each street was at least 4 blocks long, so we are talking roughly a radius of 68 blocks. Think of it - I would roam wherever I pleased in those 68 blocks. Anything could have happened!
My favorite thing to do was to find wherever there were homes for sale hosting an Open House. In those days, an Open House meant exactly that - the house was open for anyone to come in and view. No owners or realtors were there, you just walked in and viewed the house, and if you were interested, you got one of the circulars left in a conspicuous place in the house and took it with you to contact the realtor.
I entertained myself by visiting these homes, walking through them and imagining if I were going to buy the houses and how I would decorate them. Sometimes, for fun, I would draw the floor plan when I got back home and then looking through magazines or catalogs pick out furnishings for a particular house. Then I would make up a story about the home as if I, or perhaps a character I had created, lived there.
I whiled away many a happy hour doing this imagining. I'm wondering if that was a clue that perhaps being a decorator, writer or at the very least - a home stager - was the career for me.
Of course, when my kids were growing up, thirty years later, I would never have let them do such a thing. Think of all the horrible things that could have happened to an 11-12 year old girl wandering around in empty houses!
Life was much more free back then ... and safer.
This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 4.) Something you got to do when you were young that you would not let your children do. If you would like to join the fun, link up at Kat's blog, Mama's Losin' It.