Growing up in the 1945-1980 period! What did you do?

What was it like growing up in the 1945-1980 period? What did you dothat you don’t see kids do today?


Play unorganized ball hockey even in minus 30 weather for hours and hours

Play pick up ball with enough players even to play outs for hours

Ride a bike no helmet on a good old ten speed or on a banana seat bike .

Throw cards against the wall or marbles .

Play I declare war with a stick and dirt where you draw lines and had to reach over and pick up the stick .

Ride our bikes and ski behind with a skateboard very dangerous ( glad they don’t do that ) .

Buy penny candy by the little brown bag at a small independent corner store and pick out Mojoes ,pixie sticks ,etc… other unique candy like the old mackintosh toffee

leave home after lunch, go anywhere alone we please as long as we back by supper.

panhandle dimes for “phone calls” or “bus fare” :slight_smile:

go bike riding through parks such as Stanley park and Central park in Burnaby BC.

ride kamakazi down long steep hills (we got lots)without helmets trying to go as fast as cars. Be scared shitless to do that now.

after school paper routes.

Pick up football, soccer, and hardball.

play ping pong on tables put out by park staff during the summer. (wonder how many decades ago they stopped those summer jobs)

That’s just some of activities outside between ages 8 and 13.

Back then during Thanksgiving, we used to use my washtub that morning to wash my turkey, which in those days was known as a “walking bird”. We’d always have walking bird on Thanksgiving with all the trimmings: cranberries, injun eyes, yams stuffed with gunpowder. Then we’d all watch football, which in those days was called “baseball”…

…lol, old timer Mark…

If it was nice outside - we were outside. Playing road hockey, football, baseball, shooting hoops. I’m amazed thes days to see empty ball diamonds and football fields all day long - all summer long.

Yeah! Unbelievable and a sad statement about present day parents and kids.


We used to play on our street, it was a side street, throwing baseballs, footballs and street hockey, back when I grew up these moveable basketball thingys weren’t around so you had to go to a schoolgrounds or park to toss some hoops.
Rarely do I see kids playing in the side streets anymore though.

I/we did so many things when I was a kid in elementary school from 1957-65 that I never see kids doing today:

  • Walking close to a kilometre to school unaccompanied by any parent/adult as soon as kindergarten in the fall of 1957.

  • Just leaving the house in the morning to go out and play with friends, whether it was baseball, football or whatever activity in the park, or hide-and-go-seek or any other game right out on the street. Sometimes we’d ride our bikes as much as a mile away to a particular park or street. The key though was that there was no need to report to parents, so long as we were home by the time it got dark.

  • Trick or treating on Halloween with my buddies without any balls and chains(a.k.a. adults) in tow. Using a pillowcase to maximize my haul.

  • Being given bus fare and taking the bus downtown by myself for French, Lithuanian or accordion classes. The latter of course required lugging a full size accordion on the bus.

  • Hitting up my parents for a dime to go to the skating rink or swimming pool with friends. No parents to supervise of course. Pools had lifeguards. What more did you need?

  • Hitting up parents for the twenty cents to go to the Saturday afternoon kids’ matinees with two movies and cartoons or Three Stooges shorts at the neighbourhood theatre.

  • Going out for little league football without the parents knowing anything about it. I mean why would they care?

  • Reaching into ice water coolers in variety stores to select soda pop in dripping wet proper ten ounce refillable glass bottles.

  • Roaming streets looking for empty pop bottles for the two cent deposit. I needed the money for cards, comics and potato chips because I was always collecting something.

  • Going to the local library several times a week to check out books and read the newspaper and magazines such as Boy’s Life, Model Airplane News, Life and Look. I didn’t watch much TV at all since our B&W TV only picked up one channel and I wasn’t allowed to watch TV on school nights anyway.

  • Looking through the spinner rack at corner variety and drug stores to select ten and then twelve cent (eeeeek!) comic books. Specialty comic shops weren’t even imaginable, let alone comic books fetching even $1.00.

  • Sneaking peaks at the titty magazines in corner variety stores.

  • Flinging baseball, hockey, etc. cards up against brick walls in winner take all games with nary a thought as to future “values”.

  • Selling newspapers and chocolate bars door-to-door.

  • Having an early morning or after school paper route.

  • Being sent to the store to buy cigarettes for my dad, or six bottles of pop for the family.

  • Hitting up my parents for dimes and quarters to buy firecrackers before Firecracker(Victoria) Day. I mean what’s wrong with young boys letting off firecrackers? Playing with caps all year round.

  • Playing with marbles, Yo-Yos and Duncan Spin Tops. Sidewalks would often be taken up by young girls skipping rope. When was the last time any of us saw any little girls engaged in this splendid aerobic activity?

  • My skateboard was a first generation wooden one with steel wheels very much like this Nash Shark model here:

We didn’t do any tricks with it. We just did our best to navigate down hilly pothole infested roads without wiping out.

  • Doing wheelies on my bike. That’s something rarely seen these days. Whether wheelies are no longer fashionable or whether kids don’t get the chance to pop any wheelies under the ever present gaze of helicopter parents is a question I can’t answer.

  • Playing nickel pinball machines at local variety stores or diners. There were no pinball arcades in London, Ontario at the time. Then the killjoys banned pinball machines as potential gambling devices for about a decade.

  • Building model kits and slot cars. Racing these slot cars at the hobby shop track downtown. Kids don’t build models anymore. Kids these days aren’t interested in anything that doesn’t provide instant gratification, i.e. anything not TV screen related. Just check out the clientele of the few remaining hobby shops. They’re all aging boomers.

  • Firing up the .049 Thimbledrone engine of my Cox Spitfire gas powered plane in the house. What a racket! It was line control but I never mastered the trick of flying it without crashing immediately. I had to order a new body from Cox to replace the one I’d shattered beyond repair.

  • Playing with pea shooters. My parents giving me a BB gun and a bow and arrow with a steel point.

  • Carrying a jack knife around for games such as knife baseball.

  • Going for a dip in the creek behind the house which my father had dammed up to form a swimming hole.

  • Camping out in a tent overnight with friends in the backyard.

  • Climbing trees.

Oh, I’m sure modern parents would all be aghast. They want the kids safe in front of the TV with video game consoles at all times. And that’s why so many kids are obese and end up with deadly peanut and bee sting allergies. Keep kids squeaky clean and of course they don’t develop their natural immunities.

Deny kids deadly pea shooters and (heaven forbid!) metal lunch boxes and they end up arming themselves with real knives and even guns to go to school. It’s the principle of the dam. Keep denying kids whatever is “unsafe” and the pressure just keeps building up and building up till it explodes.

The ultimate irony of course is the parents who demonize sugar (of course their inactive kids don’t need the extra calories). These kids then take to experimenting with alcohol, pot, crystal meth and cocaine at first opportunity. It’s the boy who cried wolf syndrome. “Hey, remember, you were the ones who told us sugar was so bad! You think we’re going to listen to you now when you tell us to avoid booze and drugs? And what about all that Scotch and gin you drink and those sleeping pills and pain killers you pop all the time? Sure, sure, we kids are going to listen to you old farts. Yeah, right.”


LOL - I started school in '78 - Did all that stuff. We used to take the subway downtown then the ferry across to the islands to ride our bikes and hang out. When older we would go the the World’s biggest bookstore and the arcades on Yonge St. No parents in tow. Just had to call if I was going to be late for supper.

Loved finding enough friends to play a full game of baseball, football or soccer. If you could only find one or two we would go fishing in the Humber or all the way out to Mississauga and fish the Credit river. Sure, we had video games but that was for a rainy day. Even better was going to the movies - Took my brother and sister, bought popcorn and drinks for $20.

We would just take over any empty field or diamond until a league team came along. We play road hockey or foot hockey (when the sticks were at home but we have a tennis ball). Sad seeing empty fields and courts these days.

Not much. I was lazy as a kid. Still am. :slight_smile:

I fished the Humber as a kid in the 60s. We also did raft trips right down to Lake Ontario. Where did you fish ? We were mostly up around the 401.

We also used to shag behind cars. That was where you grabbed onto the bumper and slid around when the snow was on the road. Bugs were the best. Easy bumper to grab.

Buck night at the drive-in movies or smuggling a bunch of people in in the trunk of the car. 5 feature dusk til dawn marathons. Keg parties every weekend in the summer. Skied at Marmot Basin, Jasper with my Dad before there was any lifts in the area. Hauled freight up in the mountains with old 10 hp skidoos and homemade trailers. Lots of great memories.

I got laid

And you still made it past grade eight?


Willingness to play “house” with the girls down the street served you well it appears!


Who said I made it past grade 8 ? ;DHey, you’re only young once but you can be immature your whole life!

Ok so I was with you on good portion of your “youthly” endeavors until I hit this one.

What exactly is “knife baseball”?

Thanks for the memories Hank01. Did many of the same things. Can remember running home after school for the daily pick up road hockey game which would usually end with the street lights coming on and Mom’s yelling out the front doors “supper”!

Summer was at the ball diamond for the pick up game, battle for the world series!

And yes the corner store for a cold Dr Pepper and some double bubble gum (that was some hard bubble gum!).

They were good times Tony. I don’t think I see a kid use a field for anything on their own nowadays .

Computer games rule .

They have no idea what they are missing it burned a lot of life’s growing up vinegar and piss much better than shooting an image on the screen .