Back to the Past When Kids Were Either Good or Bad

I was watching Back to the Future recently and thought how great it would be to revisit my own past to perform a Do-Over on a couple of events.

Anyone that says they have no regrets must have lived a perfect life, or else they have come to terms with mistakes of the past. While I must say I am pretty darn happy with the way things turned out and I am incredibly blessed with my current life,  just for kicks I think it would be fun to do a time travel backwards and make an awkward situation better. It would be great to evaluate things on an older-but-wiser level and act accordingly, thus having smoother life transitions. It would be even better to have the self-confidence I have as an adult back in childhood.

I grew up in an era where emotional repression was at its peak. Therapy, and emotional assuaging didn’t come till much later. Self-esteem wasn’t even a concept. If someone was sad, they hid it. If someone told you they were sad, you ignored it. Parents regularly used terms like “Snap out of it!” or “I’ll give you something to cry about!” instead of exploring feelings.

In school, you were either “bad” or “good.” There was no ADD, virtually no special education, (“those” kids were institutionalized) no political correctness and the teacher was always right.  My school only became integrated in the mid 60s and we lived in the liberal northeast, not the South.

If you had a family problem, there were no counselors to talk about it with, and in fact our counselor in high school was called a “college counselor” and her sole function was to inform 9/10ths of us that we weren’t college material.

So wouldn’t it be fantastic to revisit that era with today’s sensibilities?

Case in point is my early elementary years. I had a few close friends and I was always friendly to everyone, but I learned to suppress my social-ness to be a goody-goody in school.

For that reason, I think I was mostly invisible, instead of memorable.

The class clowns were memorable but they were considered “bad.”

I had the extreme pleasure of going to a mini old-neighborhood reunion type thing last week and I saw some kids I had not seen since elementary school. A few remembered me, most did not.

One guy named Joey had not a clue who I was. Of course I was a tall blonde at the reunion, and was a mousy brunette in elementary.

When he introduced himself, he asked if I remembered him. I said no. But then my brain started processing the long-held memory, the cobwebs cleared as I looked at him, and I had a clear vision of a precocious little boy who was ALWAYS in trouble.

I blurted out, “I remember you!” “You were bad!!”

Joey jumped up and down with glee and started laughing and clapping.

“You remember me!”

We talked and laughed at the memories of teachers pinching his ears. They really had no patience with poor Joey and he eventually dropped out. The story ends well though – he got his GED and became a master plumber. He probably makes more than over-educated me.

Joey, of course, did not remember me back. I explained that I was very, very good and he understood.


  • Yes, Arlene, definitely have a number of do over moments myself but honestly not sure any of them would have helped. Destiny is destiny, no getting around it!

  • I was bad and I do remember you! Great blog, as always!

    • Of course you were bad Ronnie – you are hilarious so you must have been a class clown. Looks like you survived well! It was sooo great to see you, look forward to more in-person cracking up over you next summer in Margate!

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