|My three sisters, one of their friends. I’m the smallest kid.|
“Make sure you are home in time for dinner!”
That was rule number one when we were growing up in a small gold-mining town located in the coastal mountains of British Columbia Canada. We got up, hurriedly spooned down our bowl of porridge sweetened with brown sugar and reconstituted Pacific-brand evaporated-milk. Maybe we slowed down long enough to snag a piece of toast and peanut butter before heading out the door on weekends.
Accompanied by our willing, but slightly dim Cocker Spaniel, we ran up and down the dirt streets exploring our neighbourhood, swung out on rope-swings over rocks and blackberry brambles, and fooled around on abandoned bits of mining machinery. During summer vacation, once mom and dad were able to afford a rustic summer cottage on a nearby lake, we were turned loose to explore the shorelines, and hillsides. At sunrise my third oldest sister would drag me out of bed to go fishing in dad’s canoe. We’d troll up and down the lake for several hours – finally bringing in enough Rainbow Trout for breakfast. Rule number two was “clean and eat what you catch.”
|Lawrie’s first bike, before the 2-wheeler.|
Lawrie’s childhood memories of growing up in the City of North Vancouver are similar. From the time he was old enough to ride a two-wheel bike, he frequently rode eight to ten miles a day exploring the surrounding city. Or he and his friends played cowboys and Indians in the nearby forest, once tying his hapless sister to a tree as their captive.
Hours later when he returned home his mom asked: “Where’s your sister? Oops!” His forgetfulness earning him a spanking. Other times Lawrie and friends would try their luck with fishing in nearby rivers, using a simple hand-held line with a wooden handle.
He explored from sunup to sunrise, coming home at dusk, hungry, tired and happy.
We were free to roam. Free to explore. Free to do as we wanted.
|Friends out watching the release of baby turtles|
That’s what Lawrie and I really like about Mexico. The children are out doing things, playing, and exploring.
Not many of the local children have electronic games, or televisions that would keep a North American child spell-bound, and house-bound. The older siblings let the younger ones tag along, no quarrels. It’s their responsibility to look after the youngsters.
There is a large group of young ones living just down the street in the Colonias. Once the nearby North American home owners have left for the summer season a group of five, six, seven, or a dozen youngsters will explore various swimming options before invading a pool – clothes and all. If they were a touch more stealthy in their approach no one would be the wiser. However, the gales of giggles emanating from the pools are always a dead-on-clue that something is up.
|An intense game of Foosball|
Other groups of children, made up of various brothers, sisters, and cousins play in the surf with an older sibling keeping an eye on their antics. There is a little ‘tienda’ in the Colonias that has an outdoor foosball table set up on their veranda. The local kids spend a few pesos for hours of raucous fun.
And when the storms bring the Soisin fish close to shore a group of three brothers and a sister will cooperate and fish together, reeling in dozens of fish for a family dinner.
For us, living here is like stepping back to a more innocent time – to when we were kids.
|Riding double on a bike|
The one improvement over mom’s rule number one: “Make sure you are home in time for dinner!” We can go out for dinner, or eat in. Our choice. We’re all grown up now.