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View Poll Results: Describe your childhood freedoms:
Poll Options:
Free-range child in the country. Rode bikes down to the swimmin' hole. 19 votes (59.38%)
Semi-free-range, mom drove us to the swimmin' hole. 3 votes (9.38%)
Latch-key kid in the city. Rode the L Train at age 9. 6 votes (18.75%)
Semi-latch-key, dad gave us money for taxis. 0 votes (0%)
City or Country, my folks never let me out of their sight until I was 12. 3 votes (9.38%)
City or Country, my folks never let me out of their sight until I was 21. 0 votes (0%)
When I was a kid I had to avoid horse-drawn carriages on my 5 mile walk to school. Get off my lawn! 1 votes (3.13%)
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll
Things Our Parents Let Us Get Away With
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andi*pandi
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Sep 20, 2011, 08:34 AM
 
A split from that other thread, as suggested by Subego...

Do we view our own childhoods with rose-colored glasses? Is it possible to have that kind of childhood today? Were our parents crazy? Were we?

I grew up in the country, wandered in the woods, climbed trees, rode my bike all over town, but yet I think my folks always knew where I was. It was a bit too rural for "hollering" at dinnertime, but I did know to come home by dark.

I'm raising my kids in more of a nice suburb, and no way they are getting that kind of experience, which I regret... but it doesn't feel as safe to let them go free-range. That nice woodsy park near my house isn't like my parents 25-acre lot. Maybe I'll build a tree-house in there with my kid, go for a hike etc, but I'm not letting him hang out in there alone.

As for biking, we go on family bike rides, but the school doesn't allow biking to school likely due to traffic or liability. I'm thinking that next year when he's 10 I'll let him bike over to a friend's house.
( Last edited by andi*pandi; Sep 20, 2011 at 08:46 AM. )
     
sek929
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Sep 20, 2011, 09:59 AM
 
I grew up in a medium-sized city. Home by supper on school nights and by dark in the summer. Rode my bike everywhere and generally was allowed a decent amount of freedom.

By high school I had no curfew, as long as my mom knew where I was going. Then again I was never a rebellious kid, and didn't try crazy life-threatening activities on the regular so they grew to trust my judgement.

Don't believe I was ever grounded for any reason.
     
ort888
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Sep 20, 2011, 11:33 AM
 
Grew up in the suburbs and had a ridiculous amount of freedom. I was allowed to do just about anything I wanted whenever I wanted it. Probably because my parents knew I wasn't going to do anything too bad, which, to be fair, I never really did.

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
imitchellg5
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Sep 20, 2011, 11:39 AM
 
When I was elementary age, my parents kept a fairly close eye on me, but I still had the freedom to roam around in the woods surrounding our house, etc. By the time I hit middle school age, I was pretty much on my own. I just always told my parents where I was going and they were cool with it.
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 04:48 PM
 
The one part of my story I left out was I was a fat kid, so I wasn't ever going to get that far on foot, and never wanted to be too far from the supply of Cherry Coke in the fridge.
     
Athens
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The one part of my story I left out was I was a fat kid, so I wasn't ever going to get that far on foot, and never wanted to be too far from the supply of Cherry Coke in the fridge.
ROFL!! That made me laugh.

Mine mirrors imitchellg5, was watched pretty close but had semi free range around the apartment complex. I know the Clifford Olsons murders that occurred when I was around 2 was still pretty fresh in my moms mind growing up. Always had to drill into my head never go with a stranger, never go near a van and stuff like that. Even when I was 12 she would still "remind" me to avoid vans and stuff lol
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Thorzdad
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:19 PM
 
Had to choose "free-range in the country", even though I grew-up in city/suburbia. We were out of the house as soon as possible and never came back until it was good and dark...or until were heard someone's mother yelling for them. Every day, all day. The 60s were a good time to be a kid.
     
Athens
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:23 PM
 
I was going to point out that age has a lot to do with it too. I mean things where a lot different growing up in the 60's and 70's vs the 80's and 90's. And lots have changed in almost every community too. Forests and wet lands for our parents was urban centers and sprawl by the time the next generation grew up.
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The Final Dakar
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Had to choose "free-range in the country", even though I grew-up in city/suburbia. We were out of the house as soon as possible and never came back until it was good and dark...or until were heard someone's mother yelling for them. Every day, all day. The 60s were a good time to be a kid.
     
Thorzdad
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:37 PM
 
LOL. Can't say it was ever that chummy. We were about neighborhood-encompassing wargames, building ramps to jump our bikes off, and stuff like that.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 20, 2011, 05:40 PM
 
And everything you did, this odd ephemeral nasal adult voice narrated.
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:18 PM
 
And then Jean Shepherd would cry.
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
We were about neighborhood-encompassing wargames


This is the Elks Club Veterans' Memorial.

It has a fence around it because some punk kid was always playing Killer with his friends on the lawn.
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:35 PM
 


My trusty sidearm.

Relevant because I don't think kids get to have these any more. We took ours to school. I built a shoulder holster for it so I'd always be ready to whack someone between classes.
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:48 PM
 
This was right in the heat of the ninja craze, so people brought their shuriken to school as well.
     
Thorzdad
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:50 PM
 
This was my gun.

     
Eriamjh
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Sep 20, 2011, 06:56 PM
 
Born in 1969, I basically could take my bike anywhere I wanted. Lived in Suburbia. Little supervision. I lived. Probably could have been raped or killed by some freak, but I think there were less of them back then. Don't really know.

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 07:04 PM
 
Did you have the full-court press on "don't talk to strangers"?
     
subego
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Sep 20, 2011, 07:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
This was my gun.
There are others like it but this one is mine I found on Google Image Search.

     
Shaddim
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Sep 20, 2011, 09:10 PM
 
Completely free-range here. From ~7 years old, I was all over the place with my friends and cousins; fishing and swimming at the pond, playing ball, riding bikes, camping, etc.. It was like Stand By Me, only we never found any bodies.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
bstone
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Sep 20, 2011, 10:16 PM
 
When I was a kid I basically would take my bike, ride all around, do whatever and could be fine as long as I was home in time for dinner.
     
Poliphilo
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Sep 20, 2011, 11:35 PM
 
Sometimes my mother used to tell me to, "Go outside and play in the traffic."
     
Thorzdad
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Sep 21, 2011, 04:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
There are others like it but this one is mine I found on Google Image Search.

Yeah. But, I actually had that gun when I was a kid. Lost all the bullets and grenades pretty quickly. A couple of the other kids had Mattel M-16's. One other kid had a really cool camouflaged tommy gun. Another kid had a freakin' bazooka. We took war seriously. We had some woods at the end of the neighborhood and an old abandoned family graveyard. Tombstones from the 1800's and stuff. Perfect place for an end-of-the-day shoot-out.
     
Shaddim
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Sep 21, 2011, 05:45 PM
 
Anyone else have a BB gun at that age? I remember running around shooting my Daisy Model 25 all over the countryside. I can't even begin to count how many boxes of BBs I fired from that thing over a 5-6 year period.

Actually, I still have the rifle, it's at my folks' house. I'll have to remember to get it for my kid.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
hart
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Sep 21, 2011, 06:50 PM
 
Andi*Pandi are you splitting from what has turned into the Punishment and Parenting thread? Need some framework for your question.

I was raised seriously free-range way out in the country in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Where I grew up was really back-woods then. No joke, I remember there was a shack up the "holler" (that's rural Virginian for "hollow." I grew up in a place called Bacon Hollow) that we always avoided cause there was a crazy guy who'd shoot at you if you got close. I don't know if that was just childish fears or not at this point. We'd head off into the woods up the mountain when we got home and show up for dinner at 6.

When I got older, like 13 or so, I'd ride all over the mountain on a horse, literally miles away from home by myself.

My childhood makes my own "free-range" parenting choices look tame by comparison.

OH yes, as for the ranting and raving over the horrors of parents who let their 8 year-olds roam unsupervised over on that other thread. People rant on these days about how college kids have to call their moms to decide what underwear to put on. But it all starts back when they're 8. It's important to build an ever-growing web of responsibility and freedom so that kids can take care of themselves by the time they're adults and make sensible decisions.

I don't want to get on a soap box here but statistics support over and over the fact that being a kid these days is infinitely safer than the times that many of us grew up. So in the interest of not getting me started I'll just relink to FreeRangeKids
     
Athens
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Sep 21, 2011, 07:39 PM
 
Are free range kids more expensive like free range chicken eggs and cows?
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Dork.
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Sep 21, 2011, 08:30 PM
 
Interesting thread. I was a free-range kid in the city: we moved (a mile or two away from the old house) when I was in grade school, but I stayed at my old school and rode the city bus to and from school. Then I went to High School across town, and took the Subway there and back. Too early for Cell Phones: I had to carry quarters to call home with if I was going to be late (and a few extra tokens if I was going to be too late to use my school subway pass).

I think back to when I was my kids' age, and we spent a lot more time playing outside. But I think we had to: there was less to do inside. My mom and the other moms would sit on one of the stoops outside one of the houses chatting while I played with the other kids on the block. That's your Social Network right there.
     
ghporter
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Sep 21, 2011, 08:40 PM
 
While it wasn't actually "in the country," I did ride my bike far and wide. I walked to school except when very young, I was expected in at about dark (darker on summer days, but that was later too), and generally everyone felt pretty safe and protected in my little town. Of course it was small enough a town that my parents knew a substantial fraction of the population, so I really couldn't get into real trouble without catching real heck from my mom and dad, but I did "get away" with a whole lot of freedom.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Athens
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Sep 22, 2011, 02:09 AM
 
Think this story is very appropriate for this thread. I grew up in the decade this story is about, so I just can't image what its like to have total freedom. I also grew up in a major city so my options growing up was already limited from that too. My parents grew up more free that is for sure.

http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/clif...p=1&s=dd#video <- the story of the crime

Our stolen innocence - News Hour - Videos | Global BC <- the story how it changed everything
( Last edited by Athens; Sep 22, 2011 at 02:19 AM. )
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2011, 04:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Anyone else have a BB gun at that age? I remember running around shooting my Daisy Model 25 all over the countryside. I can't even begin to count how many boxes of BBs I fired from that thing over a 5-6 year period.

Actually, I still have the rifle, it's at my folks' house. I'll have to remember to get it for my kid.
Oh yeah. Went through a couple rifles, and had a CO² powered pistol modeled off a Beretta 92. That one looked realistic enough it became a prop in later years.

Didn't get much use out of them in the city though. We tried to make ballistics gelatin, and for the most part failed, but that didn't stop us from performing "tests" of a really overpumped shot versus a way too ****ing overpumped shot.
     
subego
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Sep 23, 2011, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Yeah. But, I actually had that gun when I was a kid. Lost all the bullets and grenades pretty quickly. A couple of the other kids had Mattel M-16's. One other kid had a really cool camouflaged tommy gun. Another kid had a freakin' bazooka. We took war seriously. We had some woods at the end of the neighborhood and an old abandoned family graveyard. Tombstones from the 1800's and stuff. Perfect place for an end-of-the-day shoot-out.
I'm just messing with ya. I had to immediately go to GIS to get a pic. My actual copy is sadly lost to history.

Luckily, at the time, you could buy reloads of the yellow, soft plastic bullets it used. It only held 4 shots too, which cut down on losing ammo.

There was another larger model in the same line which had a six shot magazine. We'd cannibalize those and lock them in with a rubber band.
     
subego
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Sep 23, 2011, 06:40 PM
 
When did people graduate to full fledged firearms?

It was 14 for me, but AFAIK, I was the first person in the family to own one.
     
Shaddim
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Sep 23, 2011, 10:12 PM
 
I was 12 when I got my first firearm, a Remington .22/.410 over-under. It's a fantastic rabbit and squirrel gun.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
Jawbone54
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Sep 24, 2011, 12:18 AM
 
Our area feels like a much bigger city while in town, but drive ten minutes, and it feels semi-rural.

I grew up fishing in the bayou, slinging mud, romping around in 6-foot tall weeds, shooting snakes, and playing sports in everyone's yards until dark. My parents (along with the parents of four of my friends) also made the mistake of getting me a dirtbike when I was about 13. We were chased by cops, did really stupid things, and pretty much all of us have lasting injuries from those days.

The question is whether or not the city-dwellers in this thread feel like they missed out on the rural or semi-rural life, and whether the rural people feel they grew up without enough activity around them. I for one am about 90% happy with my childhood environment -- I wish it would've been a bit more rural, actually.
     
Jawbone54
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Sep 24, 2011, 12:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
I think back to when I was my kids' age, and we spent a lot more time playing outside. But I think we had to: there was less to do inside. My mom and the other moms would sit on one of the stoops outside one of the houses chatting while I played with the other kids on the block. That's your Social Network right there.
*sigh*

It was just a healthier world. Sure, we had some pretty big warts as a society, but some aspects of communities and childhoods were definitely better the old way.
     
Shaddim
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Sep 24, 2011, 02:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
*sigh*

It was just a healthier world. Sure, we had some pretty big warts as a society, but some aspects of communities and childhoods were definitely better the old way.
Indeed, they were. Our community was "family", even if some weren't blood. We all knew each other, ate at each other's homes, played in each other's fields. I could fillet a bluegill by the time I was 7, skin a rabbit at 12, and never spent more than an hour /day watching TV, except on Saturday mornings when cartoons were on. We've lost something, as a society, and even considering all we've gained, I'm not convinced it was a fair trade.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
subego
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Sep 24, 2011, 02:33 AM
 
Do people in the suburbs not let their kids out to play anymore? I thought that was the only reason to live in a suburb.
     
Athens
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Sep 24, 2011, 02:38 AM
 
how much of it is parents not letting kids play out side and how much of it is kids not wanting to because of Xbox, Internet, TV and other stuff.
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subego
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Sep 24, 2011, 03:22 AM
 
I gotcha. I was reading into it that there was a safety issue.
     
subego
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Sep 24, 2011, 06:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
The question is whether or not the city-dwellers in this thread feel like they missed out on the rural or semi-rural life, and whether the rural people feel they grew up without enough activity around them. I for one am about 90% happy with my childhood environment -- I wish it would've been a bit more rural, actually.
I was lucky in that my dad wanted to get out of the city, so my summers were often in more rural environments.

My grade school of all places saw the importance of getting city kids out of the city, and would set up multi-day trips. We rafted, skied, and (this was soooo awesome) did a week's worth of genuine archeology in southern Illinois every year.

I feel like I had the best of both worlds.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 24, 2011 at 06:42 AM. )
     
Dork.
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Sep 24, 2011, 10:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
The question is whether or not the city-dwellers in this thread feel like they missed out on the rural or semi-rural life, and whether the rural people feel they grew up without enough activity around them. I for one am about 90% happy with my childhood environment -- I wish it would've been a bit more rural, actually.
While I was growing up, I never thought I was missing out on anything. I was aware that rural life existed, but never had any interest in it. You've all seen this picture, that's how it felt (Only my view started in Queens.)



Now, at least, I know there's some pretty cool stuff in the middle there. I feel at home on back country roads in the middle of nowhere as well as on 86th Street. I'm trying to instill that same sense in my kids as well, but that's kind of hard when my kids only get exposed to City Life once or twice a year, when we're visiting my folks.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Sep 26, 2011, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
When I was elementary age, my parents kept a fairly close eye on me, but I still had the freedom to roam around in the woods surrounding our house, etc. By the time I hit middle school age, I was pretty much on my own. I just always told my parents where I was going and they were cool with it.
That's how I would describe my childhood as well. It was a fairly rural area at the time.

"One ticket to Washington, please. I have a date with destiny."
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2011, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
At least you could see Russia from your house.
     
hart
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Sep 26, 2011, 06:52 PM
 
My three kids are growing up in Brooklyn not only do they not feel deprived they're disdainful of the idea of moving out of the city.

When we go visit my mother in Virginia they hate that you have to get Mom to drive you everywhere for everything. With cell phones and such from 9 or 10 onwards they can pretty much manage their own playdates and stuff. Admittedly lots of kids have schedules that are so full they can't hang out and play anytime for the next 15 years or so but my kids and their friends have, albeit on a slightly reduced scale, the kind of city childhood that lots of you remember fondly.

Of course, you can't play stick ball in the street (that old classic) as you'll get run over by a speeding car service car and the penny candy at the corner store is a dollar now but generally the neighbors out on the stoop, kids roaming between houses, playing outside on a summer evening, all that is true for us.

I think that the burbs are actually perfectly designed to isolate people, especially kids. You get in your car and drive around and never have to see anyone who lives near you.
     
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Sep 27, 2011, 05:59 AM
 
Totally free range.

I'd like to think I could let my kid be as free as I was as a child.

I'm not sure if I buy there were any less dangers for kids (child molesters etc.) when I was a kid as there are now. I don't believe the depths of human nature ever changes in the population, what changes is that it finds ways of hiding itself among whatever is otherwise socially acceptable.

Back in the day, we weren't told to be fearful and paranoid of the possibility 24/7 by frantic talking heads on CNN and elsewhere. Terrible things went on just the same, I'm sure. But people weren't as open to talking about it, and I'm sure a lot of the bad was simply swept under the rug. The molesters of bygone ages probably hid their rotten deeds more successfully behind the taboo that being victimized was just as bad/worse than the act itself.

As mentioned already: I also think people used to look out for each other more. As kids, we used to wander off and do whatever, but rarely were we completely alone. There was always someone nearby watching out for you- if not your buddies, then neighborhood adults. The idea of me or one of my friends as kids just being snatched up off the street by some stranger without all hell breaking loose just doesn't in my recollection seem remotely possible.

Now-a-days, I think people keep to themselves more and don't look out for each other nearly as much.

On the other hand, we have technology today that I never dreamed of as a kid- like cell phones, GPS tracking, etc. If you really want to know where your kids are, you can check on their whereabouts constantly, and demand they check in by phone at whatever intervals. By comparison, my parents didn't have a clue exactly where I was half the time as a kid. The idea of actually 'calling' me home for dinner on my own private, portable line- that would have been like some Star Trek plot. As it stood, we knew 'be home for dinner by thus and such' and we were. Or all hell would have broken loose.
     
   
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