When you’re young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Then you grow up and learn to be cautious, you could break a bone or a heart. You look before you leap and sometimes don’t leap at all because there’s not always someone there to catch you and in life there’s no safety net. When did it stop being fun and start being scary?
Having slept long and rested well last night, my mind is bright and fresh today so probing into the past is clearer than most days. The past of the quote that has simmered in my mind this week is the opening line “When you’re young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun”. It has been rewarding to think back about what I thought was fun when I was a kid, before the uncertain clouds of my teen years moved in followed by adulthood. Since most over 40 can probably remember a time before computers, cell phones, movie rentals and video games, I don’t feel like a fossil making a little list of a few things that come from my growing up years.
If you never got to play ‘kick the can’, you missed out. It seemed the time we played it usually was late afternoon and the game usually ended with being called in for dinner. All that running and laughing sure created an appetite.
“Red Rover, Red Rover…” was a game the teachers had us play in elementary school. I suppose it has been mostly outlawed now because it was a physical game. Once in a while someone got a little banged up in a minor way. It was one of the few playground games where being big or wide or both was an advantage.
Does dodge ball still get played in schools? I wonder. While it was not my favorite game by far, I do remember it well. In this activity being big or wide or both was a definite disadvantage.
What happened to merry go rounds on the playgrounds? I bet insurance companies and school liability concerns did away with the kind I remember.
It was considered normal where I went to school for a boy to carry a pocket knife. No one ever got stabbed or cut. It was just a handy tool to have and was essential to play a game called Mumblety-peg. The game had a series of knife trick moves one had to practice to be good. The loser had to pull a peg out of the ground with his teeth. We played it at recess, but the activity would get you suspended or arrested today.
While I was always terrible at it I remember kids playing jump rope of the kind where two people swing a rope at each end. Then a third person (or more) popped in the middle and jumped the rope as it came around. It’s been decades since I have seen kids doing it. I hope somewhere this kind of jump rope is still alive!
Having seen some in a store not too long ago, I know “pickup sticks” are still around. Do any kids today still play that game or is it available for those with grandkids to buy? What about chinese checkers? Or just plain old checkers?
I had an electric race track set, my brother had Lincoln logs and we shared an Erector set. We burned our fingers making creepy crawlers in our Mattel “Thing Maker” but we don’t think we are any worse for it today. Our time was when GI Joe was new and the girls started getting Barbie’s. Just about every one wanted or had a Slinky and Etch-a-Sketch. Hula Hoop and Twister competitions were not uncommon. There were “Dammit dolls” and stroking their long hair was supposed to give good luck (they were not named for a curse word and instead got their moniker from their inventor, Thomas Dam). Skateboards were new and so were three speed bicycles from Schwinn.
What a pleasant little journey down memory lane it is to sit here, write and remember those times long ago. The simpler years of childhood contain some fond memories where some the biggest issues were the girl or boy you “liked” (if you admitted liking the opposite sex at all!) or if one had done their homework. Those years occupy a much broader stripe in my memory than the quantity of the time they cover. While not all was good in my childhood, there are many wonderful experiences I will treasure and will have much gratitude for all my days.
Now where is my old BB gun?
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Unknown