Friday, June 11, 2010

The Sandy Kids and The Twilight of Innocence

We were born in the Twilight of Innocence.

In the fading glow of the Space age, and before the dawn of the Information Age, when kids were still allowed to be kids, we were raised to dream big. Our world was very small -- a few blocks only -- and very safe. We were left to ourselves and our friends, because it was okay to do that then. It was like Neverland.

My generation are the last of the innocents. As children, the world was not intruding into our lives. There was no 24 hour news cycle. Days ended and began again, fresh and new. Each morning we took a blank canvas and painted it with life and adventure, and at night we hung it in the grand gallery. The next day there was a fresh new canvas to paint that day's story on.

No internet, no video games (not quite yet), no texting or cell phones or ipods or any of the hundreds of other distractions that we can no longer live without. We had dirt hills and basements and backyards. We had bicycles and roller skates and swings and monkey bars and jump ropes and four-squares painted on the ground. We had each other. We interacted. We laughed and cried and fought and played.

We were happy. And we were innocent.

Innocence is neutral ground, and once you leave, you can never return. The problem with innocence, however, is that you don't know what you have, until you no longer have it.

No one really wants to be innocent again. What we really want is to return to neutral ground, knowing what we know now. We want to be happy, and to know why we are.

What prompts me to write this is something that has been taking place over the last few days:

I grew up in Sandy, Utah, in the greatest neighborhood in the world. It was a new community, where all the families were young, and had young children. LOTS of young children. My family was one of the first to arrive, in 1975, when I was three years old. Over the next couple of years, they poured in -- family after family, kid after kid -- filling the streets and the neighborhood. And no one left. Almost all of the kids were within a couple of years of my age -- hundreds of kids -- and no one moved away. We all grew up together, and we all knew each other. It was a perfect storm for creating a magical childhood.

Eventually, we did move on. We married and almost all of us moved away. But we each kept this childhood neighborhood in our hearts. Then, two days ago, through the magic of Facebook, and the determination of one of us, who finally decided to push us to do what, inside we all longed to do, we started to come back together.

The call went out. A neighborhood reunion -- for any and all who had once lived in our neighborhood. Come home. Talk to old friends. Share your new lives with your oldest friends. It's a spontaneous and phenomenal experience to be a part of.

I knew how I'd always felt about my home and childhood, but it's amazing to hear the same sentiments from every other person who grew up in that neighborhood.

And they came, and are coming still. If one person reaches the end of their network, another picks up the trail and keeps searching until everyone who can be found is found. And on July 10, in a park in Sandy Utah -- our home -- we'll come together to shake hands and to laugh and to tell stories. We're chasing that elusive dream -- to be innocent again, but also to be happy.

And to know why we are.

I, for one, can't wait.


Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

And you had better have your camera with you! I know you will...

What an awesome plan and what an awesome way of putting it. I grew up in a similar area and this sounds like such a cool thing to put together. Thank you! Hey, Facebook is good for something I guess! :-)

Aaron said...

Yeah baby!

koreen (aka: winn) said...

That sounds like a great reunion. Not having ever been part of a community like that... I don't know what you're missing. But I hope it's everything you hope it to be. =)

Kat said...

That is just AWESOME. :)

Your childhood sounds much like mine. I think the midwest stayed like that longer than other parts of the country. I hope that there are still places that are like that.

{krista} said...

I'm older than you? *sigh*

Emmy said...

You are right... That sense of neighborhood and community is rarely found anymore. Have fun.

SalGal said...

Thank you, Chris. This was beautiful.