I grew up in Springfield, Illinois back in the late 1980’s (when things were seemingly safer). The school days dragged and then came the one hour of homework. It seemed back then since the WWW hadn’t came around yet, that all the kids, including myself, would emerge at he same time from their houses to all go play in the field where there was no houses built. I am not telling a story about one person but rather about all 10 sets of parents from the block. It was almost as if an unwritten understanding went between them all. When the last one arrived home from working their long day they would honk the horn and we all knew it was time to go in.
We always hoped that someone’s parent wouldn’t notice that they were last and no honk would ever come. It always did. One late Wednesday night, the last parent decided that I guess we looked as if we were having too much fun and I remember looking over along with everyone else and waiting for the honk. On that night, a most perfect night, maybe he just didn’t want to go inside yet himself. He went and sat on the porch watching us and laughing as he did. Imagine 10 or so kids just looking at him as if to ask, where is the honk? After a few minutes we realized he was giving us extra time…the extra time needed to finish the simple game of tag we had going on. Nothing special, just a simple running game. To be able to finally finish one meant so much.
It wasn’t until I was older that I had realized that my neighborhood were true believers in the phrase ‘it takes a village’. They were my village. All of the parents watched out for each other’s kids. All the kids respected each other’s parents. As I said this was when things seemed safer. While it might not have been, on that block it was. We all have grown up and moved apart and I am sure all had kids of our own. I only wish that I could find my way back to that block with all the kids that grew up there. Then, maybe us “village kids” could be the horn honking parents and I could be the one that goes to sit on the porch…and lets them finish their game of tag.