As a kid growing up in Southeastern Kentucky, I can say today that I feel privileged.
My childhood was full of fun and using my imagination. We played outside as much as we could. We ate supper that was cooked at home, mostly. Except on Friday nights, daddy would bring home Pizza Hut.
We traded in pop bottles at the store. We listened to tape players, the top 40 and country gold Saturday night. We watched Hee Haw and the flintstones.
Life as I knew it as a child was grand. Summers weren’t boring. They were for adventures, and boy did we have some.
We had a small waterfall at the end of our holler that we’d go swimming at. We’d slide down the slick falls, it was slate rock. We’d dodge the snakes in the water.
We never had a swimming pool except one year when I was maybe 16. We visited with great grandparents. Mine was Mary Lee Hinkle, my mamaws mommy. She lived in a little house on the side of the mountain, it was a long skinny house. And she’d be sitting on the porch or inside by the stove.
My Papaw’s mommy, Mamaw Abner, rolled her own ‘backer. And she wore a bandanna on her head. And we’d sit and visit a while. I remember outhouses and the gravel dust when cars would go by.
I looked forward to my mailman, because he’d bring me chewing gum. Big red is what he had. My bike was my means of transportation to my grandparents, my aunts, and around the ridge one time. That one got me in big trouble! I knew how to entertain myself, without any electronics at all.
I read books and BOP/ teen magazines. I’d get one when I went to town with my grandparents.
Yep, those were the good old days, except I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know that one day, I’d get up for the last day of school. I’d have one last summer to do whatever I wanted. I’d have one last visit with my great grandmothers. I’d take my last trip to town with my grandparents on a Saturday.
I’d grow up someday but I didn’t know how quickly it would come. I hear talk of how behind we are here in the mountains. But I think we’re right on time. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up.
If I had to tell younger me one thing… it would be this: Enjoy every second of your childhood. It only comes once, take advantage of your youth. And don’t have regrets of not trying something that you want to try. Only regret what you wanted to do, but didn’t try. (Singing,writing, dancing, cheering, playing ball, acting, etc.)
“Enjoy your youth. You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment.” -Unknown
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