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13 Dangerous Things I Did As a Kid

And Survived.

dangerous things Pauline Baird JonesI know summer officially ends in September, but growing up the end of August was the end of freedom and therefore the end of MY summer. I’ve never been able to move past that mindset. 

So, tomorrow August and summer are over. Even though I no longer have kids in school, my mind-set shifts a bit as the month rolls over into September. There’s no real reason for it, well, maybe because my grandkids are now in school? That could be it. 

But there is no loss of freedom now, like there was I had to go back to school. Haha

I had an amazing amount of freedom as a kid. That is probably because there were six of us and we spent most of the summer outside and barefoot. And because we were six against one, we were also hard to keep track of. 

We once did a count of all the kids in just our block and it came in over fifty. So that didn’t help our parents keep track either. And all those kid brains meant we had no trouble coming up with dangerous things to do with our time.

I thought it would be fun to make a list of dangerous things we did, now that my parents aren’t around to have post-event heart attacks.

1. Played down by the river (and sometimes in the edges of the river).

2. Played on the railroad tracks. (I’m trying to remember what we played that needed railroad tracks, but I think it was a case of “it’s there.)

3. Climbed trees so high the branches almost couldn’t hold my weight. I loved to do this when it was windy, so that I’d sway back and forth. (Now I’m afraid of heights. Go figure.)

4. Went on rattlesnake catching expeditions. I mostly went as an observer, which didn’t actually lessen the danger. 

5. A favorite activity was to climb a tree on one side of the house, cross over — with some possibly dangerous activities up on the peak — then slide down the tv pole (it was taller than our house. My dad liked good reception.)

6. Stilts. My dad made my brothers stilts and when they saw how easy they were to build, they kept making them taller and taller. They maxed out with a pair that you had to sit on the edge of the roof to put them on. Yes, I did it. Once. Still terrifies me when I think about it. 

7. We liked to ride our bikes out into the sandhills and find a rock to slide down. This was mostly dangerous to our clothes, but could result in damage to other body parts. 

8. We also liked to ride our bikes really fast down any hill we could find. This was probably less dangerous than some of the things we did, but since we mostly did it on the same roads cars used…

9. In the winter, we would sled down those same roads. 

10. Ice skating on uncertainly frozen lakes. No one shoveled our skating “rinks” for us, so we had to shovel and then skate. One time I slipped in the snow and sliced my hand open. There was a broken beer bottle hiding under the snow. I still have the stitches. They weren’t as neat back then as they are now. 

11. Tire swings could be great fun until you all decided to see who could swing highest and catch leaves in your teeth. A friend left a tooth up there when he grabbed onto a branch. 

12. Park swings. Back in the day, none of our playground equipment was that safe. Wooden swings could clonk you in the head and the merry-go-rounds could go fast enough to send small bodies flying into the gravel. Yes, our playgrounds were surfaced with gravel. One of our favorite things to do was to try to swing high and harder enough to send the swing over the top. Yes, it is possible. 

13. Fireworks. I don’t have time to detail all the things we did with fireworks. You don’t have enough life left for me to do that. 

You can see why my parents were glad when we went back into school and why we weren’t. We skinned knees and elbows and occasionally broke bones. My brother broke his back falling out of tree when he was eight or nine. 

But we all survived. I have no desire to do any of the challenges on the various social media channels. I just don’t see how doing something stupid all by yourself could be that fun. You really need a crowd of kids cheering you on. And they were great about carrying you home if you crashed too badly. 

What’s the most dangerous thing you did as kid (that your parents didn’t know about)?

Perilously yours,


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