Last night, I relived part of my childhood. My mind took me back to a simpler time of crisp fall afternoons jumping into freshly raked piles of leaves, playing football with friends, parties that were great fun, and of course, Halloween candy. I am talking about taking 30+ minutes to watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on TV.
It is hard to believe that the show is 51 years old. I was too young to remember when it first aired in 1966. Honestly, it was probably around 1970 or 1971 when I first remember watching it with my parents. In those days, we only had one TV in the house, and my Dad usually determined what we would watch. I cannot recall if it were him or Mom that decided we would watch the show I am sure that they had seen it each year from 1966 until that year.
A story about the program tells how children from around the country would send some of their own Halloween candy to CBS and Charles Schulz to give to Charlie Brown. There is something wonderfully innocent about this. It involved quite a bit of effort to actually package up and mail something to someone back then, as opposed to emailing a link today. In fact, the grammar program prompted me to change the word “mail” in the previous sentence to “email.” Good Grief!
Every adult reaches a point where they find themselves reminiscing about their childhood, and I am no exception. When I think back to my childhood years, I think of a simpler time without all of the technological gadgets that run our lives. I believe that Charles Schulz captures that time perfectly. We had no cell phones or computers. Snoopy taught us to open our imaginations and become the WWI flying ace in his Sopwith Camel using whatever we had available to us. We didn’t have to have the newest gadget to spark our imaginations and have a great time. It almost seems as if a child who uses their imagination rather than technology today is considered a freak who needs attention, rather than a perfectly healthy child learning about the world around them.
Playing football with friends was another memory. Rules were seldom enforced because we played for the fun of it. This made the games exciting and memorable because we weren’t concerned with anything other than having a good time. The same logic applied to jumping into freshly raked piles of leaves and sending them flying everywhere. There was no purpose other than being alive and enjoying ourselves in the crisp fall air.
Now, football is a business. Now, everyone has leaf blowers rather than using rakes to clean their yards. Now, children don’t play outside nearly as much. Sad.
The world of Charlie Brown is devoid of adults. While this wasn’t the case with us in our youths, we were much more free to get away and find things to amuse ourselves until the nightly ritual of parents calling out names began, signaling us that it was time to go home for dinner and a bath and homework and bed. I am not a parent, but I cannot recall the last time I heard that ritual repeated while living in neighborhoods with families today. The term “helicopter parent” seems very appropriate for today’s society.
Even the notion of children trick or treating together without adult supervision seems alien today, yet it was the norm growing up. A Halloween party was the highlight of the evening where we would all brag about the tricks we got, and we would play the games like bobbing for apples without a care in the world. The thought of spending the night in a pumpkin patch is a bit far-fetched because parents would eventually come looking for us, but the idea evokes a long-lost time.
Eventually, the memories faded again, and I found myself on the couch here in 2017. At least I got to relive a part of my childhood thanks to “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”