In my mind I picture my childhood as a blissful period, an era of contentment, nay glory! Life was full of simple joys: the kitchen table, my family, the stickball games, the handball courts, the streets. I didn’t know it, but I was on the top of my game. It’s been pretty much downhill since then, I must confess. The neighborhood changed; life became a struggle. Since adolescence I have been walking this earth a bit of a troubled soul, something of a pain in the ass. But in my childhood, at least, I was pure of spirit. Content. Surely I idealize, but I feel very fortunate to have had such a good start in life. Thank you Sagamore Street and thank you borough of the Bronx. Our neighborhood was just great. Today, parents have to watch their children like hawks. It’s a dangerous world. Kids grow up with fear. People are accustomed to fear; the media magnifies and exploits our fears. But back then we kids didn’t worry much. We were out on the street playing ball at age five. We walked to school together. No need for escorts. It was safe.

Today, it’ all different. I feel sorry for the kids today.

Here’s a song I remember from childhood: Shortenin’ Bread. I vaguely recall seeing it sung in animated cartoons. It’s a plantation song. It was a hugely popular song, everyone knew it. Maybank and I had some fun with it the other day.

7 thoughts on “Childhood

  1. Happy to hear from you, and hoping you are well. I suppose it’s innocence and perhaps a smaller, more manageable world that we miss. Waiting for some poetry that tells of that. All the best my friend.

  2. First I miss you toooooooo much..

    &your memories made me change the date of thanksgiving-day to today, so that I was a child in an era that childhood was peaceful & joyful & so far away of electronic devices

    Love & Light to your heart that’s still preserving that same child till now

  3. I had a very free childhood too, in England… walked to school by myself or with my friends. Now you can’t let your thirty year old kids out by themselves! Scary times!

  4. Ah, NYC. I am so glad you wrote this, Stephen. My memories are of Brooklyn, where I was born, and Manhattan where we lived later on. I am not sure it was ideal. My dad is a bit of an a-kicker, but you are so right about not having to worry. They would just say, ‘see ya later. be home in time for dinner’. Those days are gone! Certainly know Shortenin’ Bread. Nice, homey post, especially today after the mess in Paris.

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