By Joyce Caughron Rhodes
Sometimes, when someone relates to you a memory they have had, it will bring forth a memory from your past. Some spoken word made me think of the great differences in the kind of games that were played when I was growing up and the entertainment the kids have today.
When my childhood friends and I played, it was almost always outdoors, in all seasons. Do you remember jumping rope and especially doing Double Dutch?
Now this required your attention because you had two ropes going in opposite direction and you had to time it just right, ‘to jump in.’
Another thing I really loved was playing Jacks. I must admit I was pretty good with this. I know you remember, you would throw the jacks down, toss the ball, then pick the jacks up one at a time, without touching the next jack or dropping the ball.
When they were picked up you would start on your twos and so forth until you picked up all ten in one quick sweep. I don’t think the kids now days would have any idea about making Can Stilts and walking on them.
I remember we would find two old empty tin cans, pretty big, and punch two holes, one on opposite sides of the can, and run a stout string through the holes.
We then pulled the string up and tied the ends, pulling the string tight; stepping on the cans and walking.
My girlfriends and I would get together, or me by myself, on a rainy day, and cut out paper dolls. If we didn’t have paper doll books, we would cut paper doll clothes out of the Sears & Roebuck Catalog. You had to be sure to cut it so as to have tabs, to hold to your paper doll. Red Rover, Red Rover was another fun game. We would have the same number of people on each side, boys and girls played and we would lock hands over the other’s wrist, real tight and one side would call out “Red Rover, Red Rover, We dare Johnny to come over.” Johnny would run real fast, trying to break the line. If he broke the line, then he could take one of our players back to his line, but if he didn’t break the line, then he had to stay with our line.
My brothers and their friends would play marbles and sometimes they let me play. They would draw a circle on the flat ground with a stick and then a straight line outside the circle to shoot from. Each person would toss a marble toward the opposite side of the circle and the one getting the closest to the circle line got to start first. Each one had their Steelie or Shooter marble ball and would shoot the marbles out of the circle, with the Steelie staying in the circle. If you were playing ‘Keepsies,’ you got to keep the marbles you shot out of the circle. My brother Donald was really good at this. He would come home and say, “Momma, look at the marbles I won today.”
Now, I know some of you have probably played Hopscotch. You would draw the Hopscotch diagram on the ground, toss your stone or whatever to #1 square, hop over that one and hop on one foot to the next square, without getting out of the lines. When you got to the double square you would jump on it with both feet and continue to the end. You then hopped around on the end square with one foot, turning around and starting back. When you got to your stone, you bent over and picked it up, while still on one foot, then hopped over that square. On your next turn, you would toss the stone to #2 square and so forth.
Then by the light of the moon and the streetlight across from our house, all the neighbor kids would be out catching lightning bugs or fireflies. We put them in jars, then tried to see who had the most, of course, we later let them go. I mentioned how some of these games are played, in case someone hasn’t played them. I wish the children today could go back in time, for a short while, and see what all they have missed.