my happy place: a quote

March 23, 2010

the novogratz’s are everywhere…actually, many of you have probably blogged about them.  for those of you who don’t know, they are a husband and wife self-taught design team.  miraculously they are also parents to 7 beautiful children, which actually maybe why their designs are so appealing to me: incorporating stunning design, with the perfect amount of playful whimsy.  

i recently purchased their most recent, wonderful design book downtown chic…amongst the pages and pages of gorgeous interiors, design knowledge and family photographs i found this quote and i have not been able to think of anything else since…which is why i have to share it with you.  i realize it’s long, but do yourself a favor and take the time to read it and take it in:

According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or even the early 80s, probably shouldn’t have survived.  Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.   We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking).

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.  Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.  We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.  Horrors!  We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.  We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.  

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of wood scraps and fruit crates and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.  After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.  We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

Now one was able to reach us by cell phone.  Unthinkable!  We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no ninety-nine channels on cable, videotape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.  We had neighborhood friends!  We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.  We played other games such as Kick the Can and Capture the Flag.  We fell out of trees, got cut, and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.  They were accidents. No one was to blame but us.

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.  We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did worms live inside us forever.  We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in.  Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.  Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some of us weren’t as smart as others, so we failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.  Horrors!  Tests were not adjusted for any reason.  Our actions were our own.  Consequences were expected, no one to hide behind.  The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the law.  Imagine that!  This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.

sometimes i forget.  i would like to thank “anonymous” and the novogratz’s for the reminder.

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  • Felicity

    Well said! Those thoughts play in my head all the time. It's nice to see them articulated.

  • please sir

    What joy to read this kind of quote. I was born in the 80's and our family didn't have much. I played in the backyard making up pretend games…in the woods thinking of stories…inside drawing all day. It was great. I wish I saw more of that today, but it seems like such a complicated balance with all the technology and toys offered to kids. Where do you draw the line?

  • ampersandity

    thanks for this… i had quite forgotten the feeling of riding in the back of my dad's pick-up with my brother. i think it's why i love the sensation when riding a bike downhill. going fast with the wind in my face — nothing beats it.

  • LouBoo

    This is soo true! I grew up in the 80s…I have clearly become my mother as I hear myself saying to my kids 'why don't you play outside? When I was young…'

  • kath@retromantic antiques

    I love this and will be sharing. It is so true. We are watering down society with all of our "protection"


  • Wally

    Oh yes! I remember reading this great quote in the book too. I am a child of the 70ies, and remember how I played with my friends in the woods near by, where there was swamps and small lakes all over the place – and no grown up´s was their to look after us.
    … and then I wonder: How did I become such a "Watch-out!"-parent myself?

  • erica@ moth design+luxe life

    Such an interesting post…I really really wish I was able to get this show. Sads…. don't get the channel in Canada. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  • knack

    Holy cow…AMEN!!


  • la la Lovely

    could this be any truer and brilliant…. love it.. love them…love the book.. i posted a quote from the book today on my blog too 🙂
    x Trina

  • Vintage Simple

    Ha! Good reminder! 🙂


  • cerealjoe

    (here through 74 lime lane)

    That quote sure is true. I sometimes wonder what kind of adults our kids will grow up into. As the quote says, we had to learn to deal with things… something I see the younger generations forgetting.

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