The child-like is crushed in us by the demands that living in the world makes. I’m not thinking of tantrums or hair pulling or otherwise acting out, as these get translated pretty well into adulthood. I’m talking about a sense of wonder or even a sense of fun that relies only on the simplest of things.
I can still remember being two or three and not being able to pronounce "PEZ" because to me the letters somehow didn’t make sense together. I never had a problem with "cinnamon" or "spaghetti." PEZ was my pronunciation bugbear. I still smile because I used to amuse myself by sticking every vowel sound I could think of between the "P" and the "Z" hoping that I’d fall upon the right one and remember the way the word sounded when my mom had said it. I was also much more adept then at loading the dispensers. It was almost as though my inability to say the word actually enhanced my ability to use the thing.
Most people hurrying through the park have no sense of being where they are. I’ve never seen anyone else there above the age of ten walking down the curb. It makes me sad.