20th Century Play

Carol Ann Scholl with Bike

Carol Ann Scholl, Grasmere School Album, 1948

Judy Ingham, Sledding

Judy Ingham, Gramere School album, 1948

Peter Gallagher, Baseball

Peter Gallagher, Gramere School album, 1948

Steven Teeling with Frizbee

Steven Teeling, Fairfield Citizen-News Collection

The baby boom years saw a huge growth in civic organizations that provided activities for children and teenagers. Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA Indian Guides and Indian Princesses, Little League, and the Wakeman Boys (and later Girls) Club were among the youth organizations that were active in the Fairfield area. These groups could be seen marching in the town’s Memorial Day parade every year, showing their role as an important part of the community.

At the same time, children and teenagers had great freedom to play and roam on their own. Many of the fondest memories of growing up in Fairfield include spending days playing in and exploring neighborhoods and the town’s open spaces, whether  on foot or bicycle.

This kind of freedom has drastically declined for many children today, due to growing concerns about safety and a need for more supervision as more parents work outside the home. Children today are much more likely to spend their time in structured activities that include adult supervision. At the same time, much of the open space available to youth in past decades has vanished as a result of development and liability concerns.

 

“When I look back, [it] seems like I could ride my bike all day, go alone to the beach and back, didn't worry about much except getting home before dark or for dinner. After dinner catching fire flies, playing touch football, or just hanging out with the neighbors’ kids.” (Anne Patten)

“[I remember] getting on my bike in the morning and being free to ride up to Greenfield Hill or to the Hunt Club or where ever my adventures took me, as long as I was home for dinner.” (Liz Kilfoyle Esmiol)

“[I remember] knowing our neighbors, playing baseball or hide ‘n seek with the kids that lived in the neighborhood. Then waiting for the Good Humor man to come up the street. Spending summer days at Jennings Beach.” (Judy Forstrom Imler)