20 March 2009

RIP Mr. Davis and Big Wheels

As winters winding down and the bleak cold days seem to be behind us it’s not uncommon to see the children in the neighborhood playing outside more often. As I observed many typical 2009 neighborhoods, it occurred to me that “playing outside” now-a-days is quite different than “playing outside” was when I was a child. Children of this generation have scheduled play dates, drive electronic Jeep-type-play vehicles, own $1000 swing sets, have parents that hover over and intervene when the slightest tiff takes place, play in fenced in yards, pretend to play house in plastic life size cottages, and have fancy sprinklers (with really cool spouts specifically designed for children to run through). Now, one would argue that I’m “generalizing” here, and although I probably am, by and large I do witness the aforementioned characteristics take place. This leads me to ponder over my own childhood days of “playing outside”. We lived next to a large field that was used for all the neighborhood kids to play running bases, capture the flag, kick ball, and Ghost in the Graveyard. On the other side of the field was Mr. Davis’s house. Mr. Davis was a cranky old man who lived alone and hated children. While we spent the day playing in the field, Mr. Davis spent the day yelling at us every time a ball would hit his house for fear it would break a window. Let me tell you through out all my years of living next door to Mr. Davis and playing in the field we never even came close to breaking his windows. Looking back the yelling never really deterred us from playing there, after all we always thought “He didn’t own the lot = He can’t tell us what to do”! We spent many an hour planning our defense against mean old Mr. Davis...."This time we were actually going to tell him It's not his lot...." All the while our parents never really intervened. Can you imagine those shenanigans flying today? When we weren’t playing in the field we often were swinging on a old tire that was attached to an even older tree to make a swing, digging in the puddles and dirt to make “mud pies”, running through the rusty old sprinkler, and riding our big wheels. Every kid in the neighborhood had a big wheel and the entire block was our driveway. Big Wheels were our first ever taste of freedom. We created original games involving the big wheels and spent entire summers riding them. We didn't need five different choices of riding vehicles. We had the freedom to roam the street as long as we stayed on our block. Parents called us in by yelling for us out the door. Am I advocating we go back to the days of no helmets or seat belts, and rusty metal swing sets? Absolutely not! Also, there’s the “The world is not as safe factor”, where kids shouldn’t be roaming free like we used to anyway. I do however think a little of that care free spontaneity is lost on children today. Dealing with Mr. Davis on our own built character and we bonded as neighborhood kids. As I think about what "playing outside" will be like for my daughter I know she'll have acess to many cool places, toys and experiences that I never had, however I also know she'll probably never have the empty lots, the freedom of roaming the block, and the overall simpleness of childhood that existed back then. A part of me wishes she could know the feeling when 'conquering' Mr.Davis with a big wheel and some Bubblicious chewing gum was all a kid needed for the perfect day!
The yellow and black big wheel on the right was mine! I thought it was so cool and much better than fancy pink ones!
07 March 2009

New Hat

So yet again, too long since I last posted! One of these days I'll get it together.
Recently I received a new lens for my SLR camera. I'm still a complete novice at photography and marvel over all the awesome photographs from professional photographers I occasionally browse through on the web. Current photographic interests: Children and Weddings.
The combination of my child, cool camera, and imagination, resulted in me pretending to be a photographer for the day!
With new lens in tow and a new hat to model I set out to create some cute shots of Mallory. I've also been researching no flash photography and this was my first attempt at that task.
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