Kicked Outside

The other day one of my Facebook friends reposted a status: “We had social networking when I was a kid, too.  It was called ‘Outside.’”   Apparently, I wasn’t the only kid who got kicked outside by her mother.

It would start with me switching the channel when Captain Kangaroo was over.  I wanted to watch The Shari Lewis Show because I’d heard other kids talking about it.  But my mother would hear the ending credits and poke her head around the corner from the kitchen.  “Time to go outside.”

“I don’t wanna.  I’m watching TV.”  Shari sang while her faithful sidekick Lambchop was introduced.

My mother walked into the room and turned the dial on the TV.  “Out,” she said.

“Can I just go in my room and make paper dolls?  I won’t make a mess.”

“Absolutely not.  Outside.”  My mother guided me to the door with her hand pushing my bottom.

Michigan weather ran the gamut from sunny to stormy–veering more toward the stormy side–but unless an actual tornado warning had been issued, I had to spend my Saturdays outside our house.  Daddy usually drove his garbage truck on Saturdays, so I would have enjoyed playing in the house, without worrying about his quicksilver temper igniting.  My mother didn’t see it that way.

Almost every house on Trimble Street had one or more kids in it, so very often I’d find a friend not far from my front yard.  We’d play sandbox trucks or army generals.  We’d hammer caps on the driveway.  On our bikes we flew all the way down busy Gull Road or, when those weren’t operational, we walked a mile to the cemetery to lie on graves.  When the sidewalks were snow-covered or patched with rough ice, we trudged in our rubber galoshes, the sides unbuttoned and flapping against our calves as we chatted and munched candy we’d stored like acorns in our snowsuit pockets.

I used to tell my mother that she made me go outside more than the other kids.  My proof was that I didn’t know all the TV programs they did.  I’ve caught up with the shows over the years and they are still the same today that they were then.  Playing, though, has changed, and that I can’t make up.  I guess I ought to thank my mother for kicking me outside.


Did you play outside when you were a kid?  Do you think you would be playing outside much if you were growing up today?


Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

12 responses to “Kicked Outside

  1. We (4 of us kids) lived in a small apartment, so outside and the public library was where I lived. We’d be gone from after breakfast until dinnertime. Having a child now seems very different, especially living in a metro area, but we fortunately have a child who LOVES being outside and we’ve been able to provide a yard with enough adventure to it, so forts and daredevil stunts still happen.
    Great post! Adults should be working on getting outside as well. I meet most of my neighbors while gardening.

  2. lucewriter

    You’re right about adults! And I pity the kids who never get to play out any more. So great that your child has a great outdoor environment. I used to love being outside all day long and get home for dinner exhausted from all the fun. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I loved your post. Along with a cup of coffee, your hammering caps on the sidewalk woke me up this morning. I don’t recall being kicked outside when I was a child, but I often went voluntarily. In summer, yards were crowded with kids and opportunities for play. In fall, winter, and spring, houses were boarded up, except a few. No boats on the lake, no one on the beach. I often felt stark ownership of sand, water, and wind. Or maybe they owned me.

    • lucewriter

      You lived in that idyllic lake setting! It sounds beautiful. My neighborhood was mainly about the people. And the mean Chow across the street.

  4. Hammering caps! Now there is a memory I had lost for awhile. Yes, my brother and I were always outside. We lived in the country rather isolated but there was a lot to do and acres and acres to play in!
    If I were growing up today, I would probably spend most of my time in front of a computer…. sad to say.

    • lucewriter

      I agree with you about the computer today business. Me too. Ah, those acres sound just wonderful. Wouldn’t it be fun to go hammer some caps today? Work out some frustrations that way!

  5. Thanks for this post and sending me back down memory lane. I grew up in a rural town in southern Idaho with creeks and fields and lots of outdoor places to roam. I went outside without a lot of coaxing, but I do remember watching a lot of television too. My mother had pretty strict rules about how much we could watch so this probably influenced my behavior. I have many great memories of playing with all the neighborhood kids, hide-and-seek, bicycle races, cops and robbers, etc.

    PS, Did I “meet” you in Kim Addonizo’s on-line poetry class this past year?

  6. lucewriter

    Yes! We were in class together. That’s how I found your blog. So happy to read about your work being published in the chapbook!
    Oh, those games sound like such fun! Did you have tadpoles in the creeks? I used to love to go down to the most slimy green creekbed and look for tadpoles.

  7. I was sick a bunch as a kid and couldn’t be outside much, so as an adult, I still prefer anything that I can do indoors. Fantastic, thoughtful post today.

    • lucewriter

      That’s a shame. I actually was sick a little too often, and maybe that’s why I do spend too much time indoors today. Never thought of that before. I always think of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem about “The Land of Counterpane”–the kid playing in his bed. But it sounds like you were indoors a lot more than I was. Thank you so much for visiting.

  8. I played outside a lot when I was kid. The best time was after dinner in the summer when we would try to stretch time and stay out as long as possible, even after it was dark — when we could get away with it. Thanks for stirring the memories.

    • lucewriter

      Ooh, I loved those summer nights, but so often my dad would make me come in when the other kids were still playing! Thanks for stopping by, bluepagespecial!

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