Guest Editorial: How We Grew Up by Ricky Smith

Let’s Spread Peace …

(BALTIMORE – July 7. 2018) – I grew up on Whitelock Street between Callow and Lakeview in the Reservoir Hill area of Baltimore, MD #BMOREPROUD In our neighborhood there were a ton of kids living side by side. ALL parents were OUR parents. When we went outside to play, we got dirty. We ate bologna (cold or fried), peanut butter & jelly, grilled cheese sandwiches, pork-n-beans & hot dogs, corn flakes & milk and we all drank kool-aid. We had home cooked dinners every night. Our daddies or mothers called out the window when they wanted us to come home which meant we were never far off.

We watched Eyewitness News with Jerry Turner and Al Sanders. We were up on Saturday morning to watch cartoons like The Jackson Five, The Cosby Kids and others with Schoolhouse Rock in between shows. You took your school clothes off as soon as you got home and put on your play clothes. I walked to school with friends. We played skully, tackle football, baseball, ‘catch one catch all’, and other games in the street. We would go to Mr. Jerry’s store to buy penny candy. Yes I said, “penny”. That’s how much it cost then. Mary Jane’s, Now & Laters, Squirrel Nuts, Fire Balls, Candy Lips, Candy Necklaces, etc.

We played Freeze Tag, Red Light Green Light, Hop Scotch, Hide & Seek, Red Rover, Softball, Stepball, Kickball, Dodge Ball, Spin the bottle and rode bikes all over the neighborhood. We literally would line up and race for fun! Staying in the house was a punishment, and the only thing we knew about “bored”, was board games. There was no bottled water. We drank from the tap and the water hose. We watched cartoons, and cleaned house on Saturday morning before going outside to play. We went to church on Sunday.

Your neighborhood was a city within the city. Someone had a fight, that’s what it was and we were friends again the next day, if not sooner. The street lights were your curfew. You had to be home or on your steps, not on your way, when they came on!! School was MANDATORY and teachers and police were people who you could TRUST and RESPECT. We watched our MOUTHS around our elders because ALL of your NEIGHBORS were your parents, and you didn’t want them telling your parents if you misbehaved. Yes, everyone RESPECTED elders! Re-post if you’re proud that you came from a close knit community and will never forget where you came from!

These were the good ole days. Kids today will never know how it feels to be a real kid. I loved growing up when we did. It was a great time!

Let’s Spread Peace … The kids these days will never understand how we grew up if we don’t let them know.