Archive for July 27th, 2009

stingray_deluxe I had an old friend show up at the opening of my show at the West End on Friday night, someone I had not seen in thirty years or more.  Near the end of the opening I looked up from a conversation and saw a familiar face grinning at me, a face that I knew immediately even with thirty years added.  It was Jim Langdon.  Jimmy.  Langoose.

Just seeing him triggered floods of memories from my childhood on Wilawanna Road near Chemung, NY, in the 60’s and 70’s.   It was, as I have said before, a different time and on summers mornings like today I would have been up and out of the house by eight o’clock in the morning, heading up the road on my faithful Huffy Stingray, looking for some sort of adventure.  My little Huffy was to me  like Rocinante,, was to Don Quixote- she wasn’t pretty but she took me to faraway (relatively) places.

The kids of that era had a much larger range to investigate and more freedom to do so.  On many days I would be out of the house by eight in the morning and not return until evening and might find myself many miles away in any direction, driving through all sorts of roads and traffic without helmets or protection of any sort.  We had no idea that there were even such things then.  I can’t imagine today’s children being given such leeway, such freedom to investigate life without the watchful eye of an adult always being present.  The freedom to make decisions on your own behavior and see the results, good or bad.  We probably weren’t as safe in many ways as today’s kids but we were more independent, more aware that there was a world outside the one that constantly revolved around us at home.  And I don’t think that’s a bad tradeoff. 

Seeing Jimmy instantly brought back those moments of adventure and fun and yes, sometimes danger and reminded me how much freedom one little golden stingray bike could bring to a kid.  I smiled like an idiot and we reminisced for a while.  Can’t wait to do it again.

Anyway, that’s that.  Now, you kids get the hell off  my lawn…

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