Maybe it’s a sign of old age, but it seems all we do now is reminisce.

My husband and I love to tell our teen about how things were back in the day, and she marvels that her helicopter parents were raised as free spirits.

We tell her about things we did that we’d never do now. For example, my parents would leave us in the car while grocery shopping. Sometimes it took an hour or more, and we were left to our own devices. Sometimes we fiddled with the radio, blinker and windshield wipers.

Lots of time was spent bickering, slapping, teasing and laughing.

To entertain ourselves, we sometimes would put each other in a trance. We must have seen this on television and wanted to test our own mystical powers.

One of my brothers or sisters would rub someone else’s temples while repeating commands in a monotone voice. Soon, the sibling would slump as if asleep or lean against the window and stare off into space, completely hypnotized.

Ah, peace and quiet. Truly magical.

Sometimes my parents returned to the car and everyone appeared to be asleep. It was pretty odd, in hindsight.

In our day, children rode freely in the back of pickup trucks, which my daughter also can’t believe and is not allowed to do. My father was a self-proclaimed “station wagon man,” who thought Mainers were crazy for riding around in the backs of trucks. But when Dad wasn’t around and I was going to horse shows, transporting hay and doing other horse-related chores with friends, I got to experience the thrill of the pickup life.

My friends and I also rode for miles, all day long, on horseback without cell phones or GPS. Around age 12 or 13, we took to the trails and the open road and were gone for hours with zero adult contact or supervision. It was heaven.

I recently heard a comedian joke, “My parents didn’t even know where I was from 1980 to 1986.” Well, my generation knows that’s no joke.

When my siblings and I were born, there were no car seats. So how did they bring home their precious cargo?

“I don’t know, maybe a box in the back seat or on my lap, I guess,” my parents would say.

We had no seatbelts either, and constantly crawled over each bother from the back seat to what we called the “way back.” That was an open area that was a free-for-all, generally used for sleeping and settling grudges.

When we would make the long trip back to Rhode Island to visit relatives, my parents would settle us into the back with pillows and blankets and tell us to take a nice long nap.

Eventually we would conk out and sleep until somebody spied a white dome and cried out, “We’re here! We’re here!” waking the whole group. We’d press our faces to the glass and cheer, thinking we were seeing the Rhode Island Capitol in Providence.

“Go to sleep,” my father would groan. “We’re only in Augusta.”

We had metal playground equipment with steep slides that heat up in the summertime. There were no wood chips or rubber mats to break our fall, and there was no shade in sight.

In gym class, we were asked to climb a prickly rope that soared several stories above the gym floor to the peak of the building. I would warily eye the two-inch padded mat on the floor and take a pass on that one.

At age 10 or so, we bought cigarettes at the store for our parents. No note, no questions asked.

Hitchhikers roamed the roads and children walked the train tracks, placing pennies on the rails.

At one point, I had the bright idea of galloping my pony through a beautiful local graveyard. It was fun to zoom up and down the neatly mowed rows. My father heard about it and asked how I would like it if a grave collapsed and I fell into the hole. Needless to say, I never did that again.

My all-girl pony squad and I used to climb up and over the town sand pile, pretending we were Lawrence of Arabia. We jumped over anything we could find, imagining we were competing for Olympic gold. We also used the town gas pumps as a hitching post.

Meanwhile boys on dirt bikes were doing the same in their backyards, zooming around worn trails and over rickety homemade ramps. It was a great life.

My daughter cannot fathom this. She also can’t believe we had a smoking area in high school and that our teachers all smoked in the teacher’s lounge.

We walked in the woods behind our house and ate random things off the trees, including apples, berries and even tasted acorns. We thought we were Donn Fendler in “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.”

When we did get to ride in the front seat of the car, there were no airbags, and our parents were smoking and flicking ashes out the window as they drove.

My father would let us have a sip of his beer after he finished mowing the lawn or maybe on the Fourth of July. We drank out of the garden hose and rode couch cushions down the stairs. My daughter has done none of these things.

While my husband knows almost every detail of our daughter‘s life, I don’t know if my dad even knew the name of our school, our grade level or our ages. Granted we have one child and he had five, but you get my point.

My husband remembers getting the paddle in school after hitting a girl with a snowball. Pregnant women smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol throughout their pregnancies. Many people littered far more than they do today, simply cleaning up after a picnic by shaking out the blanket and walking away.

I’m sure some would say a childhood like mine instilled a lot of self-reliance, confidence and coping skills, along with independence and responsibility. One thing is for sure: it also created a generation of parents who worry about their own kids a whole lot more.

And the beat goes on.

Kris Ferrazza is a former reporter, assistant editor, copy editor and columnist with the Courier newspapers. She lives in Waldoboro.