Most of that is probably the distorted view we all use when looking through our mind's prism into the past. The vision turns into something different than the reality. But it's still warms my heart to look back.
I remember my friends coming to my house around 9:00 in the morning, right after mom made breakfast. Or I would run to their house. We never rang doorbells. Instead, we would stand on the doorstep in front of an open door and yell in a sing-song voice, "Oh, Jo-ey," or whoever's name it was. As I got older, I discovered this manner of greeting was unique to my neighborhood.
The person would come to the door, ready for the day. Not just the morning, the entire day. We would collect our bikes, complete with pegs for carrying friends we'd meet along the way. Then, we would disappear.
The street turned into a playground surrounded by woods at the end of the street. The woods shielded the remnants of a seldom, if-ever, used and decaying railroad track. The wooded trails led to creeks and forts built by our street forefathers. It was a new direction everyday. Follow the tracks to the next town, or county? Float, swim, or fish in the creek on a hot day? Or repair the forts and hack new trails in our version of the Amazon rain forest?
Parents never questioned where we were going or what we did. No one set-up a play date for us. The only curfew was to be back before the first street light glowed. It was like country living in the suburbs.
Sadly, those days are gone. As much as I want to, my own children will not have that much freedom. We now live in a world where ten year olds are abducted on city streets in broad daylight. I'm sure these events happened back then, but it seemed that no one knew about it or worried about it.
Witness the frightening and sickening events caught on tape: