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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

We thought we were invincible


In spite of appearing contrary, I have nursed my back these last two days in a state of total sloth. Not my style, and alleviated only a tiny bit by listening to an all time favorite, Middlemarch. I love Elliot’s tour de force, as if she was saying to the world, “look, I know almost everything, and see what I can do with it!”

Her detail is exquisite. Little boys, “standing between their father’s knees as he drove leisurely,” brought to mind first my brothers, then my sister standing in the middle of the front seat of the car, between my parents; the catbird seat. Certainly not safe, but way before seat belts, interstate highways and seventy mile per hour speed limits. My mother could restrain any child in the front seat.

My own children and my nephews enjoyed the same vantage point. As parents we thought nothing of it. My husband and I felt we had improved on the arrangement with the seat we had for our daughter.  Wooden buttons for spinning and a tray of cheerios and the kid was all set.



There were motorcycles, too. My sister-in-law, my brother, my husband and I all rode together. With our children. Beth was six, Shelly four, Michelle three. They had helmets. 

Beth was old enough to ride behind me. Shelly rode in front of my husband; Michelle generally was in front of Helyn. On the gas tanks. Or, as Helyn said years later, “We thought we were invincible.”


This winter is invincible, too.  I drove home from work in sleet and hail, only because, at thirty eight degrees it’s too warm to snow.

21 comments:

  1. Some of the safety precautions today are over the top, but in retrospect, we were nuts!

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  2. Yeah, most of our generation back then did.....and didn't learn from the deaths in high school car accidents and then in SE Asia. I don't think it is only the boomers, it's all young people usually.

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  3. I certainly remember those car seats... my son's had a steering wheel with a horn. Our cars didn't go 70 mph but I don't know how safe ours was at 35 or 40.... old junkers. I guess we survived... and while I was never much of a speed demon or took risks, I'm a lot more cautious these days. Too many folks paying more attention to other things than driving their vehicle.

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  4. I remember those days. it's a wonder more of us or our children didn't die. my two year old daughter and later my son would often stand on the front seat next to me as I drove. as soon as seat belts became mandatory though, we did not leave the driveway or parking lot til every one was buckled in. truth to tell though, I'm glad we weren't required to put our infants and small children in those ridiculous backward facing car seats in the back seat. probably only because no harm came to them in the front and unrestrained.

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  5. I often wonder that any of us lived to adulthood what with all the safety features we must have now or WE WILL DIE! We went skinny-dipping, we climbed trees, we jumped off high places, we regularly played with the farm animals, and so on. I admit I was more watchful over my children but I tell myself it was because we lived in a large city.

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  6. No seat belts for our daughter either....now the poor little kids are hog tied into those seats, they can't move...I would imagine they hate car rides. Winter is just teasing us......we get a little taste of spring and then...today...snow. Rats.

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  7. Thirty-eight degrees? Shocking. It's eighty-something here. If it doesn't cool off soon I think I'll need the AC. I used to stand up on the front seat of the car. I think my parents let me do it because they hoped I would go through the windshield and they would have one less child. I did not feel particularly loved, as everyone knows. I am ashamed to admit I have never read Middlemarch. I have promised myself that I shall read it some day. I read Adam Bede (I hope that's the correct title). I'm quite in love with Jane Austen. She is a mistress of detail, too.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. Times have changed with car/motorcycle safety. I do remember times without seat belts and the time 10 of us fit into a Volkswagon Beetle when I was in 8th grade. Nowadays with school events, that would never happen :)

    betty

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  9. With all the restraints used in cars, etc... is it any wonder that this younger generation is so fascinated by 50 Shades of Grey? ;-)

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  10. Love it, and yes we all thought we were not ever going to see problems. Some of were very blessed.

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  11. It is amazing how any of us lived without the safety features they have today. I guess we were just hardy stock or too stupid to know better.

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  12. My oldest daughter had a sturdy car seat, looked great. It had a plastic belt with a buckle. Oh, what we didn't know.

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  13. Our daughter had a car seat only because it converted into a stroller. No helmets for bikes back then. I guess kids are safer, but they sure don't have the freedom we did back then.

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  14. My husband and I still laugh about the "death seat" that we put our kids in way back then. It looked so safely efficient, all brown padding, with a padded bar across the front.
    And only held in place by the the two legs that were stuck under the bench seat's back. One quick stop and the child would have gone winging through the wind shield.
    My kids don't know how lucky they are to be alive today!

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  15. Please continue your sloth attitude regarding your back. The healing can't begin until you find time to allow it. Read anything you need to in order to keep yourself at rest. The nurse just spoke!!!

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  16. I remember how we used to sit in the back of our friend's station wagon, or in the middle of the front seat without any seat belts. We really never gave it a second thought. Hope your back feels better, Joanne.

    Julie

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  17. I remember the days before seat belts and baby car seats. Danger wasn't something we thought about, neither did manufacturers. Kids would stand on the running boards or sit on the bonnet (hood) while dads drove along the driveway, sometimes even around the block. Sitting on dad's knees and steering the car while dad did the pedals was a favourite with most boys I knew. Bicycles were ridden without helmets and moor bikes frequently were too, especially out in the "paddock", a vacant block with no house on it, there seemed to be at least one in every neighbourhood.

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  18. I think back then there were fewer cars on the road, a slower pace of life and less rushing around, fewer distractions like cell phones and texting and then the cheerios to keep us occupied.

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  19. We are basking in warm sunshine and loving it. Sadly, as with most UK warm spells, it is not set to last much longer.

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  20. It is amazing how we used to transport our kids isn't it. And my mom used to tell of the "never a speed limit sign anywhere" days. They just drove as fast as was needed. I hate seat belts. And I wish it wasn't a law. I should be able to decide. But I want the kids to wear them, so I wear mine

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