What a great thread this is!
I remember rollerskating (yes real rollerskating-4 wheels on each skate) up and down my block with all my friends and no one ever complained. During the summers a mini ferris wheel on a truck would drive through our neighborhood (just like the Good Humour Ice Cream Man) and we'd all get on for a ride.
The ice truck used to also come to town and we'd all squeal for a chip of ice. Not to mention (eeh gads...how did we survive this???) the mosquito truck used to drive through the streets and we'd all run after that darn truck, inhaling all those toxic fumes (what did we know?).
I remember one summer afternoon we all walked down to the town library which was a couple of miles away. We sat on the front steps and spent hours waving at the cars. I did get in trouble for that one. My mother was worried sick and when I got home very late in the afternoon, she dragged me down the street by my ponytail because she was so mad at me. It's funny now; it wasn't so funny then.
I also used to walk about a mile to the local bakery and get a free giant sugar cookie just for the asking.
Those were the days that we did our own selling of Brownie and Girl Scout cookies. No Mommy helping on this one. We went door to door, ringing bells, making sales. We had no fear; we had no need to be afraid. The best part was ringing the doorbell of the little boy you had a crush on. David Axtel. The sun rose with David Axtel. How he cried when his mommy wouldn't let him go with me to sell cookies.
Halloween was the greatest. We'd all get our pillowcases and walk for hours and hours unescorted. We'd ring every doorbell for a straight mile and it didn't matter if the house was dark; we rang anyway. We'd finally get home, goodness knows when, and pile our candy high on the table. We didn't know about bad people and razorblades. Occasionally we'd pass by old "Crazy Bob's" and know that that was one of the doors you would never ring but that was rare.
If you needed a glass of water or had to use a bathroom, you simply knocked on your nearest neighbor's door where you happened to be playing. No problem. Come on in. All are welcome.