We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's true, things used to be different. I walked to school alone in kindergarden, maybe a half mile. There were crossing guards.
We moved out to the country when I was 8 and my most significant memory from that time is of taking off into the woods to explore with friends. We never got lost. We never had any real adventures, but we wanted to.
A few years later I went with a friend on a 20+ mile bike ride to visit friends in another town. Those big "free range" adventures are the ones that stand out in my memory.
I walked a mile by myself to get to school in first grade, crossing a major intersection (with a crossing guard). And my siblings and I played for many hours on the undeveloped acreage behind our suburban home when we were elementary school age.
My mother would send us out with peanut butter crackers (saltines) and kool-aid to spend most of the day exploring the outdoors in the summer. She also taught us about many edible wild plants that we could eat, and we tried them all. My sister had to get stitches once when she cut her lip on barbed wire in a bike accident.
Sometimes we got to walk a half mile and go across a highway to the curb market for cokes and nickel candy. Good times.