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I was a Free Range Kid

But back then, the kids and pets were free range.


My amazing sister gave me this Barbie™ on my last visit to her house (which is kind of like visiting Rivendale, only without elves and done in mid-century awesome). Instead of a river running through it, Barbies™ run through our past. I can’t show you pictures of our original Barbies™, because they have been seriously “loved,” not just by us, but by our daughters. And some of them received unkind attention from our brothers. O.O

We aren’t just sisters, we’re sisters who shared a bedroom, actually we shared two different bedrooms (before and after our house was remodeled) and a double bed until one of the big brothers got big enough to go to college. We also shared that double with her huge stuffed pig, but this blog post is about Barbies™, not about the horrors of sharing a double bed with a stuffed animal almost as big as both of us. I think. It might be about childhood and the joys of roaming free and playing.

And turning your imagination loose.

Yeah, it might be about that. Those?

We had a happy childhood, despite the four brothers (yes, there were four), and the stuffed pig and yes, despite the Barbies™, cuz I know some people have issues with the Barbies™. I loved playing with my dolls.

I loved playing.

We lived in a small town with a high concentration of kids just in our single block of houses. I think at one point the street 18 houses (nine on each side) clocked it at over fifty kids. Big kids. Little kids. Girl kids. Boy kids. A couple of Bully kids.

Kids. Lots of kids.

And there were few fences, so you could almost roam the length the street via backyards. Now I go home and most, if not all, the yards are fenced. But back then, the kids and pets were free range. And we weren’t confined to just the street. We had bicycles, and we rode them up and down and all around. We rode for miles. We rode for pop (also known as soda or soda pop). We rode for adventure. (I rode for books, too.) We rode because we could. Our town was small but our imaginations free ranged, too.

The streets weren’t just streets. They were space lanes and the frontier and castles. They were filled with fun and danger. Our parks were minimal, allowing our imaginations to make them into anything we wanted. We particularly loved playing on the bleachers. All those rows and stairs could be adapted to any “story” we were playing. And don’t get me started on how much better our swings were. Cuz they were.

And we could take our stories home and play them with our dolls in the quiet of our own yards. Our doll play was also not limited by their wardrobes.

It’s pretty cool that parents can buy a spaceship tent for their kids, but I wonder if kids’ imaginations are as big on the inside as ours used to be? Mine was and remains a TARDIS for sure. Lol

I honestly don’t know. What went on inside my head was, well, mine and only shared with trusted friends. When we tell stories of our adventures now my mom’s hair gets a little whiter. Is there still a secret and magical World of Kids? I’m an adult now and don’t have a “get in” card.

cover artI know the reality of being a free range kid (something that just can’t be in today’s much more dangerous word), played some part in helping me become an author. I brought all of it, the good and bad, with me into my adult world and I mine it freely for my books. I know it fueled my first book, The Spy Who Kissed Me.  

Though the sister in the book isn’t as great as mine, having a sister helped me write the sister relationship in the book. And my sister has actually lent me her car, which never got shot up while in my care. lol

So I guess this is a post about Barbie™ and more. It’s about remembering all the wonderful things about being a kid and about my sister and yes, my brothers, too. lol About playing and reading and living. It’s about remembering. 🙂

What about you? What did you bring with you from your childhood? Sometimes I feel like I was born in another century—oh wait, I was! LOL What is it/was it like for you in your “them?”

Perilously yours,

P.S. One of the things I “brought” into my adult world was the stuffed pig. I “killed” that thing in this book (lol):

cover art

You can buy this book in digital or audio (used print editions also available).

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