|image from HERE|
This is the part where I get to sound like some tiresome old curmudgeon: WHEN I WAS A KID I walked to school all the time. It's true though! It was a good 15 minute walk at a brisk pace. It didn't matter if it was raining. I had a rain coat. It didn't matter if the windchill factor was RIDICULOUS. It didn't matter if there were no sidewalks to walk on because they were covered with snow. It didn't matter if I practically needed snowshoes. We walked.
To get to school, my friends and I had to go through this big open field. Eventually they put a sidewalk through this field, and it became a decent park, but until then, it was just the field. I can picture heading face-on into freezing cold winter wind, with my little sister, the neighbour's girls and my friend around the corner, who was holding a swatch of my scarf over her face, and tears were streaming down her cheeks because the wind was KILLING HER EYES.
Remember the BLIZZARD OF '77? Oh yes, we walked. My Mom bundled my brother and I up, and off we headed to school. School, of course, was closed. When we turned around to trudge back home, miraculously, our neighbour was there to pick us up. Rare treat. In Mom's defense, I think the blizzard was just getting underway, and the snow wasn't quite up to our chests yet.
|get to school b*tches! It's the 1970's and your MOM does NOT want you at home!!! (image from HERE)|
EVERYBODY walked to school. Groups of kids could be found hoofing it to and from school every day--even if they lived far. I even walked home by myself at the end of my kindergarten day, since the kindergarteners were let out of school 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the kids. So, five year old karen headed home all by her lonesome. Then I'd get to my street, and I had to stand across from my house and holler "MOM! MOOOOOOOOOOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!" until my mother finally heard me, stuck her head out the front door, looked both ways and said; "okay, you can cross now." Nevermind that I'd just made the long trek all by myself--I wasn't allowed to cross my own street alone.
So, I make my kids walk to school. It's only about a 7 minute walk, but oh how they complain. They complain bitterly:
"waaa! Why are we walking? Why do we have to walk? We should drive to school! I HATE exercise! I don't wanna walk to school!"
And then it's the same thing after school:
"Mom, did ya BROUGHT THE CAR? Why didn't you BROUGHT THE CAR Mom?!? I don't want to walk! I HATE walking! Next time, Mom, BROUGHT THE CAR!!!"
Bad grammar aside, the kids see ALL the other kids hop into cars and zoom home in luxurious comfort.
But seriously--would it kill these kids to walk? And would it kill their parents to walk? When we lived in Suburban Hell, we lived a kilometer from the school (1 km = 0.621371 mi. Technical enough for you, eggheads?) That was pretty far. And it was slightly uphill the whole way there too.
Jack was eligible for the bus for kindergarten, because they figured that was too far for a kindergarten aged kid to walk to school. However, in grade 1, you were on your own. Apparently it's too far for a 5 year old, but when you're 6 you're fine. Idiots. Anyhoo, because the bus basically SUCKED, he'd take it to school in the morning, and I'd toss little Ella in the double stroller and walk to school to pick him up--whenever it was not raining.
And I noticed something: I made the other parents nervous. Without me even saying anything, they'd get shifty and voice excuses to me as to why they always come in the car. It just made me smile. Personally though? When I was the parent with the little children, it was genius to kill as much time as possible OUTSIDE, because being inside all day with little people is like a slow, torturous death at times.
And yet, I'm still fat...go figure...
Anyhoo, the other day I commented to one of the mom's at school how nobody walks anymore. Hardly anyone lets their kid play at the playground after school, and I often wonder: why are they in such a freaking hurry to get home?? To do what?!? I say, let the kids burn off some energy after being bored nearly to death by that same old crusty, fusty, uninspired CURRICULUM.
but I digress...
So, when I noticed again how no one walked, I couldn't help but wonder if one of the biggest reasons was PARANOIA OF THE PERVERT. Thanks to a sensationalistic and often irresponsible media, it's easy to believe that the world is absolutely teeming with perverts. I snickered at the notion that there are more perverts than ever before, and then I did some fond reminiscing:
When I was in grade 1, and my brother in grade 6, we were walking home from school one winter's day. A guy was standing in that big open field, a fair distance from us. He offered my brother 50 cents to watch him (the guy, not my brother) take a leak. "Um, no thanks," my brother said. "How about her?" the guy asked. Once again, my brother declined. I, being the bubble head I was, hadn't caught the convo, and kept asking my brother; "what? What did he say? What did he want you to do?" My brother hissed; "NEVERMIND...just keep walking!"
Ha ha ha, we laughed at that one for years.
A friend of mine had stories of some guy going around by her elementary school and flashing kids from the other side of the fence.
When my mother was a kid, some youngish guy was in his car, asking some girls for directions. When they approached the car, they noticed his dink was hanging out of his pants.
When The Man was in grade 8, he and some friends were out for the day, and some guy drove up and asked them if they'd help him "move some furniture".
Hrm....maybe there IS something to this not letting the kids walk to school business. Still, I walk with my kids, even though it totally pisses them off.
Everybody has an encounter with the pervert story, come to think of it...
Give me your stories people!
Hey, I fell from 57 to 71! SACRE BLEU! For crap's sake, just click the link! Exclamation point!