Growing up, guns, pictures and a teaser...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, October 02, 2006

Welcome To THE COUCH...Sit on Down and Get Comfy...
So, an email went around this past weekend talking about growing up as a child in 1987 and the way kids today could not have survived then.

Kind of funny, since it talked about 20 cable channels and Atari-2600 and having to write letters and mail them and the like.

I responded talking about growing up in 1957-1963 (3 to 9 years old) and how we had 7 channels TOTAL - and they went off the air at midnight, and we played board games and did not even have things like Atari and how there was not a mailbox on every corner and the like.
It got me thinking about my years growing up on Long Island.

We lived on a corner house. The two homes across the street in either direction were homes owned by people my mom and dad grew up with in The Bronx. Within 5 minutes walk were about 4 other families that grew up in their neighborhood.

Everyone had at least 3 kids it seemed. And we did everything together. We spent every summer holiday at one home or another.

Within the 10 homes that abutted to ours there had to be 25 kids in total.

In the summers we would play outside from the time we awoke till after dark, never having to worry. And the great thing was our parents didn’t worry either.

I can remember one Sunday when our parents all awoke to find their homes empty. When they went to the front doors, they witnessed 10 or so kids all riding their bikes around the street – in their pajamas!

The Fourth of July picnics we had…and the fireworks displays the dads put on…so much fun.

We would play hide-and-go-seek on our bicycles and the boundaries would be the whole development (which extended probably 3 square miles), late into the evening…never a care in the world.

There was a large hill at the back of the development that we called – of course- Suicide Hill and one day I went down it on my bike and lost control and scrapped my arm real bad… So I just peddled right over to Uncle JR and Aunt Millie’s home to get some care.

Yes, there were many Aunts and Uncles – but we were not related to any of them, other then they were our parent’s friends and that is what we called them.

Never thinking anything of it… that was just the right way to address them.

The kids all played together and had fights and hated each other and made up and had fights...I guess just like today, except there were never any weapons in the fights.

Well..until we got older. Then it was sometimes with sticks and bats, BUT never knives or guns.
Today, kids go to school and have to pass through metal detectors to stop the knives and guns from getting into school. And it is not the inner-city, it is everywhere....good towns..Colorado...Idaho...New Jersey...

And the gangs are no longer just in the big cities, they are everywhere.

There is a proliferation of Bloods and Crips moving from Trenton into Princeton, NJ. They are in Des Moines, IA and Little Rock, AK and probably in your city too.

All we can do is talk to our kids and teach them that being cool does not mean being in a gang and beating on people.
My friend Coco asked in my comments section what she should do about her boy who is obsessed with guns. She writes:
"My little boy is obsessed with guns. I think it is preprogrammed by genetics or something, because I monitor his tv viewing, he has never owned a toy gun and his daycare doesn't allow them either. Every stick he picks up, every cylindrical object, becomes a rifle or a hand gun. So now it falls to me to teach him the reality of guns?"

You can monitor the TV viewing, but that does not mean he does not see the guns. Daycare might not allow them, but he and his friends talk about them in school. Whether it is to play "army men" or "cowboys and Indians" - boys talk about them.

My parents didn't have to talk to us about the dangers of guns...the times did not warrant it.

I had many toy guns...cowboy rifles, Man From U.N.C.L.E. super-guns that were a pistol, but would turn into a Napolean Solo was the coolest dude around...Buck Rogers ray guns (the movie serials we watched before the main feature each week, not the Gil Gerard TV show)...all sorts of guns...but they were make-believe and we all knew it.

Parents today need to talk to their kids and explain that a toy is a toy, but that there are real guns and they are dangerous and deadly and should never be touched without the proper training. Video games abound where the main theme is kill-as-many-as-you-can and sort it all out later.

There are also video games where the object is to run down, by car, as many people as possible. Do we have to explain to our kids that cars are not to be used as weapons of death? ...gosh I always hoped not, but maybe young parents today might just have to.

To explain that one is a game and the other is a lifetime in prison.

Or do you just forbid these things into your home? I think this might be the wrong approach.
How many of us have known kids who were never allowed chocolate or soda (pop, tonic etc - depending upon where you are reading this), in their homes and when they finally go away to college they go absolutely nuts and can't stop eating or drinking the stuff?

Moderation is the key word here...everything should be in moderation...and parents need to teach their kids that anything in moderation is fine...but when you have too much of anything it is bad for you.
Dad Vince sent me an email regarding the picture of me as a baby in the baseball cap (furthest on the left on THE COUCH). In that email he wrote the following:
"Did you know?
The picture of you in the baseball uniform, leading off your
blog was taken by Bill Stahl, senior staff photographer of the New York Daily Mirror, which was first published by William Randolph Hearst in 1924.
It had the second largest circulation of all newspapers in the United States.
The New York Daily News was #1.

The Daily Mirror ceased publication in 1963 after a long strike.

The moral of this story;
(aside from being a bit of trivia) make friends with award winning photographers while you have young kids -- and -- if you work for a newspaper, consider the consequences before you go on strike.

Dad spent most of his career in publishing with, among others, American Home Magazine and Esquire Magazine, where he was advertising sales manager for somewhere around 15 years (he will correct that statement, I am sure.)

His business took him down south much and I got to travel with him one summer...but I will leave that story for tomorrow...


Thanks for sitting on THE COUCH, hope you enjoyed your stay.


Remember .. Nets For Malaria - - find the big SI's Nothing But Net logo ... Or call 202.887.9040. Every cent goes to buying nets to place over the beds of children in Africa to stomp out Malaria. PLEASE HELP.

Keep that spark of insanity kids...It helps keep you an individual.

5 Of Your Sparks

  1. Coco Says:
  2. Thank you for your considerate and thoughtful response to my questions, Vinny. I have always known I could count on you.

  3. Bond,

    I remember the e-mail going around over the weekend about growing up in 1987. In 1987, I was a young girl of 22, but I do remember growing up in the 70's. The days where you could leave your home, go on a family vacation for a week and never have to worry about locking your doors. I will write a blog on day about growing up in small town I did.

    As far as the guns... Guns DO NOT kill...IT'S the PERSON behind the GUN that kills. A gun is just a piece of metal. It cannot go off by itself.. I have several guns in my house. I grew up around Dad even taught me to shoot a gun... but I RESPECT THE GUN! My kids have NEVER once tried to take the gun from the gun rack. No my guns aren't locked up... I don't feel that I should have to lock them up because my 17 year old son and my 11 year old daughter know better than to TOUCH THE GUNS FOR THE PURPOSE TO HARM ANYONE. I'll leave it at that...

    I think that the parent has to stress to the child the importance and dangers of a gun. My kids have always had toy guns in the house, have played cowboys and indians, have played army, but they respect the toy guns as well as the real ones that I own. Just because I have guns doesn't make me want to go out and shoot an innocent person. But by george let me say this.... if someone was breaking into MY HOUSE to HARM one of my kids... you darn tootin... I'd shoot....

  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. From the mind of Meribah:

    Wow! The world has gotten worse, hasn't it? When I was a youngster, I never had to worry about gun violence in school. Come to think of today still don't have to worry about it where I'm to, seems like. I guess that's the benefit of living on the edge of the world! LOL

  6. Unknown Says:
  7. Testing...testing...I have two testings...

    Let me know if you get this Bond - I've left some comments but they seem to be disappearing!

  8. COCO: I hoped my response helped you deal with B. and his little "obsession". You can't stop it, you can only guide it.

    DIXIE: Passionate about the subject - huh? LOL I would also, if I owned a gun do as you have with Matt...and would, if threatened use it without a second thought.

    MERI: Well, after yesterday you can't really say hat, now can you. When it hits in a quiet Amish town, it makes you realize that it could happen anywhere.

    DANA: Testing testing....puff pufff is this thing on? LOL


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