When I was growing up, I was pretty much a free-range kid as were my friends.  We headed out in the morning to play, came home for lunch, went out again, came home for dinner, went out yet again, and only came home when the streetlights came on 😊.  Our parents had a vague idea where we were but weren’t in constant contact since we pretty well stayed in the neighborhood.

“You don’t remember the times your dad held your handle bars. You remember the day he let go.”

Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry

Our doors were rarely locked, probably for 2 reasons.  The first was that our parents apparently weren’t concerned about safety and, second, because they knew we would lose any key that came our way.  So, what was the point?

Note: Our hometown was then the largest city in Montana with a population of just over 55,000.

We left Montana in the late 70’s, but my parents stayed in the house I grew up in.  My dad died in 1982, but my mom stayed put.

On April 4, 1994, my mom was subjected to what would now be called a home invasion robbery.  Two juveniles (one was her paperboy), attempted to rob her at gunpoint.  They broke a small window in her front door with a stolen gun and pointed it at her.  Fortunately, the door was locked. They left when she called the police. Have I ever mentioned that my mom was a tough customer?!  She was 84 at the time. They went on to rob a gas station later that night and shot the attendant twice.  The attendant was paralyzed. 

The recent home invasion and horrific assault on 82 year old Paul Pelosi reminded me of my mom’s ordeal. 

Fortunately, she wasn’t physically hurt but I am sure the trauma continued for the remaining 6 months of her life.  She died in October of that same year.

Back to unlocked doors.  I moved back to my hometown in 2007 for a brief stint.  While the population was about the same as it was when I was growing up (just over 56,000), I know I locked my door while I was in the house or out and about in the neighborhood.  Maybe it is because I have lived in urban areas for so long that I am careful, but I also learned a lesson from my mom’s experience. I just always lock my door, regardless of where we happen to live.

Wishing Mr. Pelosi a speedy recovery!



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