photo of children together
Photo courtesy of Jason Mrachina/Flickr

Hey, I remember most of my peers growing up on 22nd street Parkland Projects when ALL parents were THEIR parents. When they went outside to play, they got dirty. We ate bologna (cold or fried), peanut butter & jelly, grilled cheese sandwiches, pork-n-beans & hot dogs, pots of pinto beans and homemade cornbread, black eyed peas, collards, mustard & turnip greens, and all we drank was Kool-Aid. Hamburgers on Wonder Bread! We had home cooked dinners almost every night.

We screamed our parents names from our room to come and turn the channel on the TV or bring us a glass of ice water, LOL! We listened to 92.3, 95.5, 102.3 FM, along with WOL 1450 with Conan. 

You took your school clothes off as soon as you got home and put on your play clothes. They had recess every day. They walked to and from school, rain or shine. Mr. Marion Barry didn’t close schools for nothing. There were NO snow days. TV was black and white, and all stations went off at midnight after playing the national anthem, when people went to bed until about 5 or 6 a.m.

A photo of Chon Gotti and his family

Chon Gotti (right) visits his mother’s grave with his family. Photo courtesy of Chon Gotti

There was no microwave. We ate penny candy. Yes, I said, “penny.” That’s how much it cost then. Mike & Ike’s, Alexander the Grapes, Lemonheads, Peanut Chews, Chico Sticks, Boston Baked Beans, etc. They played Freeze Tag, Red Light Green Light, 4 Corners, Hopscotch, Hide & Seek, Truth or Dare, roller skated, and rode bikes all over the neighborhood.

The boys collected baseball cards, marbles, skelly tops, plastic army men (brown/green ones) and comic books, and read them, not put them in plastic. Girls spent hours playing double Dutch, paper dolls, Chinese jump rope, jacks, piggy and softball and football with the boys. The kids wore sneakers that were called fish heads. They played “strike out.” Staying in the house was a punishment, and the only thing they knew about “bored”, were board games. There was no bottled water. We drank from the tap, the water hose, and fire hydrants.

They watched cartoons especially on Saturday morning, we also cleaned house on Saturday morning, while listening to music from all the greats (real music, real lyrics). We went to Sunday school and then Sunday church service. Your neighborhood was a city within the city. Someone had a fight, that’s what it was, and we were friends again the next day if not sooner. The streetlights were their curfew. School was mandatory, no Truant Officers back then, teachers and police were people you could TRUST.

They watched their MOUTHS around their elders because ALL of your NEIGHBORS were your parents, and you didn’t want them telling your parents if you misbehaved. Yes, everyone RESPECTED elders! Applaud if you’re proud that you came from a closeknit community and will never forget where you came from!

These were the good ole days. Kids today will never know how it feels to be a real kid. I loved growing up when we did. It was a great time!!!
Let’s Spread Peace… these kids these days will never understand how we grew up if we don’t let them know. 

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