It's the second Friday in May, and that means it's time for a new exhibit in the . . .
This month, we're moving it outside . . . to talk about fun and games out in the neighborhood and, specifically, about our favorite childhood outside games.
So lace up your PF Flyers, grab your favorite hopscotch rock, and c'mon outside and play with me!
(In full disclosure, I was totally sucked into the PF Flyers "hype" based on my love of Johnny Quest. I begged for a pair every summer and swore to my mom I'd wear them. After all, they'd make me "run faster and jump higher." Problem was? Shoes. I hated to wear them, and especially in the summer. Every night, my mom would send me out in the neighborhood to retrace my steps and find my shoes . . . wherever I had left them.)
(I had the ring, too. Although . . . it was not as nifty as depicted in the TV show.)
When I was 5, my family moved into a small ranch house in a mid-century tract home development. The houses were all lined up along a street with a sidewalk out front, and new yards that just went on for blocks. I loved my neighborhood! It was easy for a young child to navigate, I could safely ride my bike on the street, and I had plenty of room to stretch out and spend my summer outside . . . on the sidewalks, front yards, and porch stoops of all my neighborhood pals. (And, trust me, there were PLENTY of neighborhood pals.) We kinda wandered like a pack of wild dogs from house to house, yard to yard, rounding up whoever was available to play . . . and looking for popsicles.
I spent my summers outside. If I could do a thing (read, draw, eat, play), why would I want to do it inside during the summer? Depending on which friends were available, I spent my summer days playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. Or jumping rope (Double-Dutch if I could find two willing rope-twirlers). Sometimes we played elaborate games with our Barbies or "Liddle Kiddles." We rode our bikes up and down the street, often with playing cards clothespinned to our spokes for that "extra-action sound." We put on shows and plays, staged parades, and did tumbling moves out in the grass. Sometimes a mom would turn on a sprinkler for us to play in. There was always, ALWAYS something going on - and someone to play with. In the evenings after dinner, all of us would gather in a yard (usually ours) to play games . . . tag (Freeze Tag and TV Tag were our favorites) or Red Rover; Mother May I or Red Light Green Light . . . until the moms started calling us in for the night (and yelling about finding shoes, of course).
Sadly, I have very few photos of those summer days . . . or my childhood, neighborhood friends. I do have the photo above, though. A little Halloween gathering in 1967. My sister and I (sitting at either end of the table there) were each allowed to invite 2 neighborhood friends. I invited my friend Liz (in the headscraf), who I adored (she was 2 years older than me, and So Very Cool; she introduced me to The Mod Squad AND The Beatles!) and Cindy (eating ice cream) who was my first neighborhood pal (and as I realize now that I'm a grown up, had a very challenging home life; my mom invited her to play at our house anytime). My sister's little friends were her age . . . and my friends and I found them to be very pesty. (That smirky girl in the front? Arlene? She was Trouble. My mom did NOT invite her to play at our house anytime. Just sayin.)
But I'm getting sidetracked here on Memory Lane. Let's move on to the key piece of the exhibit, shall we?
My very favorite childhood game? Jacks! Hands down. I loved playing jacks -- it was portable, I could play it by myself or with friends, and I could play it inside or out (although much preferred out) (as did my mom). Best of all . . . I was really good at it! Double-bounce, Pigs-in-the-Pen, Pigs-Over-the-Fence, Around-the-World, Slides, Taps, No Bounce . . . you name it, I played it.
And you know what I still have?
Yep. My childhood jacks! Still in the spare jewelry box my mom gave me to carry them to school (for recess play. . . ). (The dice was to roll to determine "firsties" when playing with others, by the way.)
It's still fun to throw them out. They're metal, and they make such a satisfying "ringing" sound as they hit the sidewalk . . . and that takes me right back to those summer sidewalks of my childhood.
If I'd had a little ball, I'd have played a game right there with JoJo . . . on the patio!
How about you? What was your favorite outside game?
Thanks for visiting The Museum of Me. Watch for new exhibits . . . on the 2nd Friday of each month.
And if you're a blogger and you'd like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I'll send you my "exhibit schedule" (a list of monthly prompts) and we can tell our stories together.