I’m not sure if all of you can remember your childhood. For some reason, so many seem to have blocked out much of their youth. I unfortunately and fortunately remember pretty much everything. Even things I wish I could forget. But, I also have memories that are so magical that I’m so grateful if I ever get struck with Alzheimer’s, they will be the last things to go. For example, one time my mom spent a long time crimping (yes crimping – fists up to the 80’s children) mine and my best friend Annie’s hair. Annie and I then went outside, went to the Candy Lady’s house for our much deserved candy (you know, being 8 years old), and then proceeded to walk through my neighbours sprinkler, rendering our crimped hair un-crimped.
If you’re wondering who the Candy Lady is, she was this nice old woman who’s house we would go to in the neighbourhood and ask for candy. She would always give it to us and then tell us a story about something and send us on our way. She was the best. That said, I’m pretty sure having a Candy Lady in the neighbourhood would be illegal now for so many reasons:
1) Kids aren’t allowed to even walk home from a park anymore without having Child Services called on them. What’s that all about? Kids should be able to explore and have some independence. That’s one of the best parts of being a kid. When I was a kid, I was outside with my friends, by myself, I was just outside. Climbing trees, riding bikes, playing in neighbours driveways. I was free to explore and be curious and I always came home when the street lights came on.
2) Can kids even eat candy these days? There’s like gluten or sugar or something in candy that will kill them instantly in it. I was a candy aficionado. Punky’s were my favourite.
3) Stranger danger. But she was no stranger. She was a neighbour and she was the Candy Lady!
4) I’m pretty sure kids are now kept within their yards through the form of invisible fences right? Like dogs? Right?
I realize this may be scary to some, but I think kids should be able to explore their neighbourhoods. They should know their neighbours – at least the ones you approve of. This way, if something happens and you’re not home because you know you have a life and you trust your 11 year old to be home for an hour on their own because at 12 they should be babysitting, they will have someone to go to if they get scared or if something happens. It takes a community to raise a child, and everyone seems to have forgotten this.