Real Estate Agent with R3 REALTY, LLC

My childhood neighborhood was full of wonderful places and things that were attractive and fascinating to a kid - only a block from the tracks and the sand piles.  I don't know why they were so inviting, but all the kids had to go there. 

 Once in a while, we would get together to walk the tracks after school.  One foot on the rail, one foot on the tie, right foot rail, left foot tie, right, left, up, down...  We never went too far, the train may be coming soon.

We would go with our pockets full of pennies.  We put them on the rail and waited for the whistle of the 4:00 Milwaukee Northwestern to come in from the east.  


"You kids, stay away from those tracks!" Mom would always say.  "What if you got your foot stuck?  What if no one knew you went there?  What if you got hit?  What if...?"  Well, none of those things ever happened.  I tried to figure out how anyone  could get their foot stuck anyway.  I couldn't.

 At 4:00 the train would come by and smash our pennies.  We would run to look through the tall grass near the tracks to find our treasures of flattened copper.  You could hardly see Lincoln's face anymore.  They looked more like carnival trinkets than pennies now.  Like the trinkets, the pennies weren't worth anything either.  They were just NEAT!

There were so many neat things to do there.  The Street Department was close by, and the sand piles...  Actually, there was a pile of gravel, a pile of sand, a pile of pink rocks, and, in the fall, even a pile of salt rock.

Standing 10 - 15 feet high, the sand piles were great for playing King-of-the-Hill.  I don't recall ever being King, but I didn't mind.  I always got to the top, but didn't try to claim the hill.  It was more fun getting pushed off - to tumble down the soft sides of the sand, dust flying.

"Don't play on those sand piles!" Mom would always say.  "The guys at the Street Department wouldn't want you kids messing them up.  What if there was a slide and one of you got buried.  What if they couldn't find you in there?  What if...?  No one ever got yelled at by the guys at the Street Department.  I tried to figure out how there could be a landslide.  I couldn't.


The salt rock pile was my favorite.  I would fill my pockets with the rocks.  I'd stick a few in my mouth and suck on them.  I love the taste of salt and these were the best!

"Don't stick those dirty things in your mouth!"  Mom would always say.  "You don't know where they've been.  What if you got sick?  What if..."  I thought about what she said about the rocks.  I washed them off first.


When I was young, I said, I would never say "Don't... or What if...?" when my kids wanted to explore the world around them.  I never saw the dangers that my Mom always did.

Years later, I heard those same words coming from another mother's mouth to a child who was venturing out to test the world.  This time, however, the words rang back to my ears like an echo from my childhood.  I was the one saying "Don't... and What if...?" to a child who was searching for her own tracks and sand piles. 

That child is now a parent herself,  I wonder how long it will take before she hears those echoes too.


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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
Hi Rita - I'm not sure how/why this one was overlooked, but I am including it in the weekly recap post for Family Ties.  It is really evocative of childhood for me, too.  As a parent of three great kids, I often find myself saying things that I used to hear from my mom.
Feb 09, 2008 03:17 AM #1
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Rita ~ Don't we all have memories of what our mother's would tell us not to do!  I remember the first time I caught myself sounding like my mother, and just cut myself off and shut-up. 
Feb 09, 2008 05:28 AM #2
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

It is scary when I hear my mother's words come out of my mouth!  What a well written post, thank you.


Feb 09, 2008 07:02 AM #3
Jan Evett
The Premier Property Group LLC - Rosemary Beach, FL
Broker Associate, 20 years+ in real estate
Rita, I found you through Jason's Family Reunion post today.  Very good post!  I'm right there with you!
Feb 09, 2008 08:10 AM #4
Roberta LaRocca
Simply Vegas Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, Property Management
Rita, Your post is so true!  I hear my mother in my own words with my boys all the time!  Funny how that happens.
Feb 09, 2008 04:16 PM #5
Kelly Shoemaker
Coldwell Banker SELECT - Broken Arrow, OK
Realtor Broken Arrow, OK
Rita - Beautiful sentiments ( I hope I spelled that right)...As much as we want our children to explore and learn we are always there to worry and share in their excitement of something they discovered!  Great Post!
Feb 10, 2008 12:11 AM #6
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

The first deja vu with my oldest daughter was a real eye opener.  I was up there with the finger point down when the deja vu flashed thru my head of my dad pointing his finger at me and saying the same exact thing I was saying.

Scary stuff!

Feb 10, 2008 01:25 PM #7
Rita Narragon
R3 REALTY, LLC - Sioux Falls, SD
Thank you all for your comments.  It's easy to see that this phenomenon is universal.  Before we become parents ourselves we swear we will never say the same "lame" stuff our parents told us.  It sure doesn't take long before we turn into them ourselves.  For me, I remember the exact moment I turned into my mother and it happened right in front of her.  She knew it, and just smiled that "I told you so" smile.
Feb 10, 2008 02:45 PM #8
Rita Narragon
R3 REALTY, LLC - Sioux Falls, SD
JASON:  Thanks for finding my story and breathing some life into it.  I was beginning to think it got lost in the ever changing shuffle of blogs.  There are so many excellent writers on AR and there are many stories that get overlooked.  Blogs come in so fast that if they don't get read within the first 15 minutes, chances are it will slide right off to page 5 for the day.  Thanks again, Jason.  I truly appreciate it.
Feb 10, 2008 02:56 PM #9
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate
I loved this, Rita.  I have to laugh at myself for indulging in the very same parental worry and admonitions that I so detested as a child.  My oldest is all of 2 & a half, so I chase him all over the house saying "don't do this" and "don't do that."  It's a product of understanding consequences.  Cause and effect.  Responsibility for something other than myself.  And yet, I hate it.  I don't want my boys to be afraid of the world.  Afraid to take chances.  Afraid to live.  If you figure it all out before I do, be sure to send me the blueprint ;)
Feb 11, 2008 12:52 AM #10
Rita Narragon
R3 REALTY, LLC - Sioux Falls, SD

PAUL:  Aahhh! 2 1/2've got a long haul ahead of you, my friend.  Mine is 28 and has a 3 1/2 year old herself and I'm still flying by the seat of my pants.  Blueprint? Sorry, Don't think there is one.  That's why it's so hard to hear our parents' voices coming from our mouths.  I'm afraid it's all we got?!?

You're so right that we all want to see our kids experience the wonders of the world around them.  Despite the fact we know the great things we did in youth (and survived) it's hard to stand back and watch without warning.

Thanks for stopping by.

Feb 11, 2008 09:04 AM #11
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Rita, I enjoyed reading your post.  Very nicely written and thanks for sharing this with us.


Feb 17, 2008 10:26 AM #12
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate
Climbing up 10-15 foot piles of stuff? sounds like fun to me!  but if my daughter tried it, I'd probably be saying, "watch out! what are you doing? you could slip and blah, blah, blah..."
Feb 17, 2008 10:46 AM #13
Elaine A. Cook
Connect - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate
Oh the adventures!!!  I burst out laughing at myself the first time I sounded like my mother....called her on the phone and told her she was right....She replied...I know, and I knew you'd figure that out!!!! lol
Feb 17, 2008 11:13 AM #14
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