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Old 09-24-2013, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,689 posts, read 36,118,702 times
Reputation: 63246

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
Quote:
In the town that I grew up in, I remember a time when my town had a bowling alley, a drive-in theatre, a couple of small ice cream shops, a mini-golf course, a flea market, little league games, roadside fruit stands, and even a lake that people swam in for free, with a rope swing. I used to see people walking down the road with fishing poles in hand, and kids in pickup trucks wearing wet swim trunks after a dip in the lake. Now many lakes have chain link fences around them! All of these pastimes seem to now be gone.
I agree with what you're saying to some extent. However, I want to point out some things about where I live - and I think my small Texas town is pretty "typical" when it comes to small town America.

Our bowling alley is alive and well and packed every weekend - in fact, it's busy most of the week.

We don't have a drive in movie theater, but recently one opened up about 20 miles away and seems to be doing well.

We have a snow cone shop that is so busy in the summer that people will wait in line for thirty minutes for a snow cone there! Best I've ever tasted. Also, we have an ice cream shop that stays pretty busy as well.

We are less than an hour from the largest and oldest continually open flea market in the United States. Naturally, it brings so much traffic to the area (first Monday and the weekend bumping up to that first Monday of each month) that it has spawned other local flea markets as well. So no shortage at ALL on flea markets around here!
First Monday Trade Days - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We are also chock full of Little League games, private leagues, etc. as well as soccer teams. High school football is HUGE in Texas and our town is no exception. This very popular and well attended parent/child/grandparent/family interaction is one of my very favorite aspects of living in a small Texas town.

We have quite a few roadside produce stands as well. I think this is still pretty popular in most southern states. We also have several large farmers markets in the area.

We enjoy numerous lakes in this area. Some of them are free, and some of them are state park areas and may require a very small entrance fee - you can buy a yearly pass as well. They're very popular. Most of them have swimming areas with picnic areas and are very popular. Water sports are a really big thing around here.

I do agree with some of your observations though. People walk less than they used to. I think it has something to do with how many teens have cars. When I was a kid, not everyone had a car at age 16. Not only that, but we played outside more and so we often found ourselves walking or riding our bikes to the corner store or to some far flung activity. Now I see less spontaneous outdoor play and more structured activities.

Quote:
Is this common across America? Or is this way of life mostly gone? I suspect that now:

- no need for drive-ins, as people have entertainment at home
- no need for bowling alleys, as people have Wii bowling and mini-golf
- most people now just go to the supermarket and buy Ben and Jerrys to eat at home
- flea markets take up too much space with not enough profit

- kids are homebodies and parents are too afraid to let kids play
- swimming in lakes for free are a hazard and do not generate any money
The bolded ones really aren't the case around here. The ones in italics are the ones I agree about. One thing I've noticed in particular is just how few SMALL kids (under age 10) actually play "in the neighborhood streets" these days. When I was a kid, we stayed outside playing in the neighborhood till the street lights came on. Not anymore. However, I do see our neighbors' kids playing outside in their own yards. My kids are grown now (in their twenties) but they always played outside a lot.

Quote:
I think that people are less happy today and many studies show that many Americans see the future as being worse than the past, because we've all ensured our safety and buried ourselves in little safe cocoons. I think part of our unhappiness is due to our disconnect from the loss of these pastimes.
This could be the case, which is why I encourage people to move out of the suburbs of urban areas and back into smaller towns. Get involved in these communities. There are still areas that place an emphasis on many of these "old time" activities.

Quote:
What are people doing nowadays for fun? Just shopping? Drinking at TGIF? I hope to find a place to live that still has some of these old time pastimes.
Your best bet would be small to mid size towns that aren't close to big, urban areas - towns that haven't morphed into "bedroom communities" of huge cities. Small towns that have retained (or in some cases regained) their unique personalities.

Quote:
It seems like the new most important things are how much data your phone gets, who said what on Facebook and Twitter, cool apps, and finding new ways to get free TV or cable. But no one bats an eye when a chain link fence blocks off a lake or the local bowling alley shuts down. My search continues to find that elusive old fashioned place.
Good luck! Check out East Texas while you're at it!
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Appalachian New York, Formerly Louisiana
4,100 posts, read 4,730,726 times
Reputation: 5374
When I was a kid I did have video games (8-bit/16-bit era). But my mother made damn sure I didn't spend all of my time on them.

I loved to be outside. We lived in a rural area near Watkins Glen in the hills of southern NY, so there was plenty of outside to be in.

My grandparents had a fishing camp on Cayuga lake (LONG before the modern build up) and my sister and I would spend summers there swimming and such.

Sometimes we'd go up to Penn Yan and have ice cream at a stand, I think it was called mac's. Don't recall clearly. They still exist.

I look at the way things are today for most kids and I pity them. They are so sheltered and narrow minded in their hobbies and imagination, comparatively. People are so paranoid now and everything is so go-go-go that nobody makes memories anymore.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:48 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,226 posts, read 19,531,226 times
Reputation: 12969
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
This could be the case, which is why I encourage people to move out of the suburbs of urban areas and back into smaller towns. Get involved in these communities. There are still areas that place an emphasis on many of these "old time" activities.
I don't get why people would not find community things to do in the suburbs of large cities. Maybe they're not looking in the right places?

I live in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. In this area you will find farmer's markets, flee markets, pumpkin patches, sailing clubs, kayaking, swim clubs, golfing, shooting ranges, hunting, fishing, community centers, video arcades, yard sales, dog parks, playgrounds, lakes, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, carnivals, theater, art districts, garage bands, jazz festivals, school activities, college sports, major league sports, Renaissance festivals, boat shows, flying lessons, historical tours and on and on and on.

No pastimes left in America? Really? Where do people live these days? lol
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:13 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,554,590 times
Reputation: 33051
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I don't get why people would not find community things to do in the suburbs of large cities. Maybe they're not looking in the right places?

I live in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. In this area you will find farmer's markets, flee markets, pumpkin patches, sailing clubs, kayaking, swim clubs, golfing, shooting ranges, hunting, fishing, community centers, video arcades, yard sales, dog parks, playgrounds, lakes, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, carnivals, theater, art districts, garage bands, jazz festivals, school activities, college sports, major league sports, Renaissance festivals, boat shows, flying lessons, historical tours and on and on and on.

No pastimes left in America? Really? Where do people live these days? lol
That's about what you'll find in suburban Denver, as well. Probably moreso than in the city itself.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:19 PM
 
12,644 posts, read 10,487,316 times
Reputation: 17460
Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
In the town that I grew up in, I remember a time when my town had a bowling alley, a drive-in theatre, a couple of small ice cream shops, a mini-golf course, a flea market, little league games, roadside fruit stands, and even a lake that people swam in for free, with a rope swing. I used to see people walking down the road with fishing poles in hand, and kids in pickup trucks wearing wet swim trunks after a dip in the lake. Now many lakes have chain link fences around them! All of these pastimes seem to now be gone.

Is this common across America? Or is this way of life mostly gone? I suspect that now:

- no need for drive-ins, as people have entertainment at home
- no need for bowling alleys, as people have Wii bowling and mini-golf
- most people now just go to the supermarket and buy Ben and Jerrys to eat at home
- flea markets take up too much space with not enough profit
- kids are homebodies and parents are too afraid to let kids play
- swimming in lakes for free are a hazard and do not generate any money

I think that people are less happy today and many studies show that many Americans see the future as being worse than the past, because we've all ensured our safety and buried ourselves in little safe cocoons. I think part of our unhappiness is due to our disconnect from the loss of these pastimes.

What are people doing nowadays for fun? Just shopping? Drinking at TGIF? I hope to find a place to live that still has some of these old time pastimes.

It seems like the new most important things are how much data your phone gets, who said what on Facebook and Twitter, cool apps, and finding new ways to get free TV or cable. But no one bats an eye when a chain link fence blocks off a lake or the local bowling alley shuts down. My search continues to find that elusive old fashioned place.
I think you're being a bit dramatic to be honest, though I get your point. Things are different, life is less simple and spontaneous.

Around where I live, there are still plenty of ice cream shops (small, family owned, homemade ice cream - especially along the Jersey Shore), bowling alleys (I live close to 3), and I believe NJ still has a few operating drive-in theaters throughout the summer. Another favorite in parts of NJ during the summer are movies shown on the beach at night, as well as weekly fireworks displays over the ocean, these are awesome! There are street fairs and flea markets throughout towns in my state and the largest at the Meadowlands, weekly for about half the year. I agree that fewer kids just play like they used to but I think this varies from town to town based on safety and camaraderie. I live in a town with a river winding through it and a lot of parkland, so there are at least 3 large playgrounds for the kids and basketball courts, tennis courts, etc. The river isn't exactly swimmable, but I always see people fishing and canoeing. We actually have a 100 year old canoe club in my town that still operates and a favorite thing to do in my town is cruise along the river in a canoe or kayak, many of them owned by people living on the river with their own docks, in the summer, spring, and fall days. In the winter, if the river freezes well enough, people ice skate and play hockey. That really feels like older days, ice skating on the river, pond, or lake.

There is a mini golf course in the town next to mine, and again at the Jersey Shore you can't drive 5 blocks without finding one in most beach towns. There are farmer's markets and fresh produce stands all over the state, there's even a small farm in my town that still operates and sells fruits, veggies, flowers, and things seasonally. Little league still goes strong where I live and I always enjoy watching the boys from all over the world play and have fun on the Little League World Series televised games every end of summer.

I do agree that kids need to be outside more, and that technology has grabbed our attention more than anything outdoors or even in the real world around us, but I still think we have retained many old pastimes, as you've called them. Things evolve, that's all. It's a shame, we may feel nostalgic, but it happens. In 50 years, we may find ourselves asking where life in 2013 went.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:58 PM
 
363 posts, read 617,103 times
Reputation: 281
I think it depends on where you live, and what kind of people live there. In my small nebraska town for instance, even though we have about 3,000 people we have some of the things like farmers markets and places where people interact like Church and school, but for some reason we lost our bowling alley. We closed our movie theatre, and sadly, we only have one real restaurant in town (i don't count fast food). I think in some towns people get bored and want excitement and drive to a larger town to have fun. I think a lot of places are becoming bedroom communities where people simply sleep and send their kids to school, and when they want to have fun, get in the car and drive. However it's these same people complaining there is nothing to do in our town. Maybe they should start by trying to do something. Heck one of the little towns not too far from here with 100 people started showing movies on projector outdoors. It's a blast
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:30 AM
 
449 posts, read 1,479,285 times
Reputation: 197
My younger years were liked NannyGoats, we walked miles to go check out things. Or skated, just were ouside all the time. It was boring to stay in for tv. I noticed when my kids were young a lot less people outside. No one sitting out on the porch or steps, often we were the only people at parks or walking around town. It feels less community like if you don't see anyone else walking to the store or library. Now my oldest is an adult, her friends think its way to far to walk even under a mile, especially if you're not heading somewhere.
People just seem to be inside more, either at home or inside for physical activity like a sports club. Maybe jogging on a trail at a bigger park instead of around the neighborhood. We've lived in a few states and have found the same thing. I do think part of it is feeling a time crunch though, people are busier. My friends parents growing up preferred staying home after work.
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