Go play in Traffic

It is a saying I heard quite often growing up. My mother would say it, and then my grandparents would say it, and even my aunts and uncles would say it.  I always wanted to be with the babies, or with the adults, unfortunately they were never in traffic. We did not have any sidewalks on our streets, and I was the oldest child no matter where we lived. Looking back, I think they felt I was responsible enough to watch over the other kids. So I grabbed a book and a folding chair and would sit at the end of the driveway, and watch all of the younger kids. I would yell at the annoying silver car who took the turn to fast, right before dinner. If my brothers were arguing,  I would tell them that if they didn’t stop yelling over whose turn it was to ride the skateboard, that I would get the adults. When the adults were out nobody could leave their driveways, and it was boring, (even for me). So, I would never follow through with that because it was nice to have everyone on the street playing with each other. With that being said, the adults that I have mentioned earlier, were in the parental form. The rest of the adults were different, and not quite so worried, or over protective. The cool bikers that rode through everyday at 4:30 were cool and would always say, “Hi.” and the neighbors with the twins sat outside and did chalk art which was about an hour. There was also the retired teacher who mowed her lawn, right after school time. I think she did this so she could watch us. There was also the lady who sat on her front porch swing and knitted. So the street was not empty, but it was by no means flourishing with supervision all the time. The supervision that it did have was strangers, who felt responsible for us, even though we never got to know each other, just like Jane Jacobs said in the Assimilating Children chapter. After it got dark we had to move to the back yard and sometimes the knitting lady would move to her back porch swing. I think she did this so that she could get the ball out of her yard without being to inconvenienced. In a city there probably would not have been a back yard for us to go to, which would have led to trouble, because then we would have had to come inside at dark, and then that would have led to cabin fever. I do know that when I was babysitting in high school I took the girls to a park and it was so empty, we stayed for 15 mins. and then, when they got bored, we went to the community pool, which was better. I do think that if I had lived in the city the amount of people would have been far greater on the sidewalk, and I might have even had a sidewalk!

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