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Sep 01, 2021 05:17PM ● By Tracy Patterson
Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

The article in this month’s edition on page 20 reminded me of one of the most important aspects of my childhood days—having freedom, especially when it came to being creative. My friends and I were in a constant creative mode, and I don’t actually recall a time that I went to my parents and bugged them for something to do.

I could create a barn for my plastic horses out of a cardboard box; fish for oysters in the hallway of our home (a towel for a boat, a twig with string for the fishing line, sunflower seeds for the oysters—doesn’t make sense, I know, but that was my creative license!); make porridge from the seeds of our birch tree in the front yard; build forts of all kinds, on the couch and bed, or in the yard or field at the end of our block; dress up and sing while standing on sawhorses as a stage; and the list goes on!

That doesn’t mean we didn’t do things as a family; camping was a popular activity, with a few friends in the mix. Once we were out in the woods or mountains at our campsite, it was a challenge keeping us kids in check! At one lake we frequented, there was a long road with horses in a field near the end of it, and we spent many an hour walking down that road to visit our equine friends. We also spent hours creating miniature fire pits and endeavoring to keep them lit (an amazingly hard task!), and putting on miles around the campsite exploring every nook and cranny nature had to offer. Anything involving water was particularly fun—for example, trying to stand on air mattresses on a lake, another difficult task. I often came back to our camp home soaked to the bone, even after my mom specifically said to me, “Don’t get wet!”

I was the poster kid for what now seems to be a “new” concept in the realm of raising children, although I’m not sure that my parents gave me this freedom through design so that my creative juices could flow. It was likely more by default, and due to the fact that I was very independent early on and loved spending time with my friends. Whatever it was, we kids of yesteryear spent endless hours creating almost anything you can imagine, often out of little bits of this and that we found lying around. My hope is that today’s children have the opportunity to stretch their creative wings and experience the essence of what it really means to be a kid.