Growing Up Moments

Way before technology showed us magic and fun, we, ourselves, created magic and fun with our neighborhood friends and in our minds. As a new year begins we can forget to look back. “Look back to what?,” you ask. Then read on and then close your eyes and relive those magical and funny moments of growing up. Moments that brought us here for a new year.

“Red light, Green light,” “Red Rover, Red Rover,” Kickball and dodgeball, “Ring around the Rosie,” Jump rope, “You’re It!” The ultimate weapon? Water balloons.

Parents stood on the front porch and yelled, or whistled, for you to come home (no pagers or cell phones). The best reminder to return was when the street lights came on.

Running through the sprinkler. Cereal boxes with great prizes on the bottom and Cracker Jacks with the same prizes. Ice pops with two sticks to break and share with your buddy. Catching’ lightning bugs in a jar. Saturday mornings – “Tom and Jerry,” “Captain Midnight,” “Cisco Kid,” “The Lone Ranger.”

You first day of school. Climbing trees for absolutely no reason, except you could do it. Swinging as high as you could, reaching for the sky. Mosquito bits and sticky fingers. A strictly enforced weekly bath. For no apparent reason – pillow fights and jumping down the steps. In the movie theater, watching the movies for the third time.

Being tired from playing. (You may to read that sentence once more.) Work? Taking out the garbage, cutting the grass, washing the car and doing the dishes. (Which any capable adult is able to do!)

Your first kiss – with your eyes open and mouth closed. Summer’s drink? Kool-Aid; also a swig from the hose. Giving your friend a ride on your bike’s handlebars. (“One Call, That’s All!” if that happened today.) Attaching a baseball card to your bike’s spokes to make it sound like a car. When nearly everyone’s mom was home to greet you after school with milk and a snack. Receiving a quarter allowance was a miracle from heaven. When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited you at home.

Decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo.” Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “Do over!” “Race issues” meant arguing about who was the fastest.

Finally. Nobody was prettier than Mom. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and healed by her. And, getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.

Now? I can answer telephone calls on my wrist. Where’s the magic and fun? I hope it never leaves me or however the next generations define it.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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