“Those were the days” —- great for brand new Beatles love but I was a teenager still at home with very strict parents & I was oldest. In some ways a very good family BUT parents totally diapproved of “long-haired” Beatles (!!!) & disapproved of my highschool reading list. I came home from high school with a friend one day (whose parents were both very open minded teachers) & my mother held up my copy of Catcher in the Rye & yelled “this book should be burned!” I was actually quite shy & had very little confidence at that time & always seemed to displease them. So: wouldn’t trade those days for now in a million years. Though I must say I learned what I thought & believed innately by being constantly attacked (not physically): no censorship of books and many many other things.
I don’t quite understand the connection between “oldest of five” and “greater freedom.” I was oldest of four but a large gap between two sets of kids. Infants in succession put in my room (mom terrible hearing; dad tired from work): lots of walking crying babies at night (from when I was 10 til 15 or 16) & lots of diapers & babysitting. I was very lucky to have a best friend from 10 onward who had big wonderful old house & slightly scruffy grounds (orchard, grapevines, treehouse, etc) where we roamed free. Our house was homey but smaller & my parents were around all weekend; hers were often at work at a hospital downtown. I’m sure if my parents had known my friend & I were alone: making huge messes in the kitchen (which we cleaned up), bicycling all over, acting out plays with friends — all harmless — but no parents, they (my parents) would have freaked out! So I had more freedom than my parents knew. I wasn’t truant in high school tho I got into my share of trouble in my early twenties.