Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simple, Sweet Games

Sitting here thinking about the games I played as a little girl.  Simple games that occupied my time, and I remember feeling happy while playing them with other boys and girls who were my friends at Catholic School.  Those simple games made us laugh, and they also taught us how to play together and be nice to one another at the same time.

Hide the Button was a game where we kids stood or sat in a circle facing in with "IT" in the middle.  The button was passed from hand to hand behind the backs of those in the circle.  "IT" then tried to guess where the button was and upon finding it took his/her place in the circle.  The person who was found with the button becomes the new "IT."

Skipping, or jumping, rope was a grade school fave and could get pretty competitive.  The girls wore sandal shoes back then with anklets, and I'm not sure how we were able to do as well as we did.  We got to where we could skip with two ropes going in opposite directions and skipped to songs like, "Mabel, Mabel, set the table, Just as fast as you are able..." There was another song we'd sing, "Skim the milk" but can't remember the words. 

Hide and Seek......getting warm or cold.....depending on how close we were to the one hiding.

London Bridges Falling Down was the game where we chose two kids to face each other. Then they joined hands together and lifted their arms up to form an arch.  The rest of the kids would line up so they could walk under the arch.  We'd sing "London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.  London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady."  As the kids walked under the arch, the two forming the arch would drop their hands down around the child that was beneath the arch at the last word of the rhyme.  We'd do that over and over again until all kids were captured.

Red Rover was a game with two teams formed in two lines.  The two teams faced each other and joined hands.  One team would start by choosing one person from the opposing team and chanting, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send _____ right over."  The kid whose name was called would run as fast as he/she could toward the opposing side.  If he/she could break through the arms of any two of the team members, he could choose one team member to bring back as he returns, victorious, to his own side.  If not able to break through the arms of any two team members, then he/she became a member of the opposing team.

Ring Around the Rosie was another game we played.  We'd form a circle holding hands and walk around in a circle while singing, "Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down."  We'd stop walking and quickly sit down on the word "down."  The last one standing was out of the game and had to sit off to the side while the game continued.

Hours of my childhood were spent sitting on the floor playing Jacks and Pick-Up-Stix.  Jacks was no easy game, but boy did I get good at it.  Probably because I was alone so much of the time.  Bounce the little ball in the air, pick up a certain number of Jacks without upsetting the others.  That game was all about timing and dexterity.  So was Pick-Up-Stix.

Checkers was never a fun game for me, cuz my strategy skills just weren't sharp enough for me to compete with others.  Chinese Checkers was another game board we had at home.  That game used marbles, but I don't think I ever really understood how to play it the right way.

Smashing Caps on the Sidewalk was entertaining.  Sit on the sidewalk with a roll of caps and a hammer and pop 'em by hitting with the hammer. 

Little Lulu was my very favorite comic book.  Isn't she adorable?  When I think about it, Lulu and I were best friends.  I shared  her world, and she shared mine.

We played with tops, where you'd pump down on the spiral top to make it spin.  If you'd let go, it'd spin on the floor by itself. Noise-makers and clicking frogs. 

Sewing Cards made me feel like I could sew like Gramma.  They were small cards with holes punched around a picture.  I'd take my plastic needle and yarn and sew up and down through the holes until I'd sew a border around the picture.  Then I'd take the yarn out and start all over again.

Oh, my beloved Betsy Wetsy Doll.  I fed her the bottle and she'd pee.  My mom and I made diapers for my Betsy Wetsy using snaps instead of safety pins.  Mom didn't want me to stick myself.  Perhaps that was the ingenious embryo of disposable diaper.  All I know is that she was my baby, and I wrapped her in a cuddly blanket, rocked her, and pretended she was real.  Maybe my baby sister that never came to be.

I still have the original box of my old wooden dominoes.  The way I played with dominoes was to stack all of them in swirly rows and then push the first one down.  Then the whole line would quickly fall over, and, to me, that was the coolest thing.  Many of my hours were spent stacking and restacking dominoes.

When the magic slate came on the scene, well, I thought I had the whole world.  I'd write and draw and erase.  Over and over and over again until the top film would be gouged through and badly worn.  They must not have been expensive, cuz I remember my mom would always get me a new slate.

So it is that those days are years and years behind me.  But, isn't it cool that I can still experience us kids playing at recess time?  We didn't dare act up or misbehave, because the Sister Police were standing guard at every angle, some peering through windows of the convent with rifles (oops, maybe I don't remember that.)  Nuns rarely smiled, so we knew their reactions could only go in one direction, and that was not good.  Maybe, just maybe, that discipline is what kids today are lacking.  From what I can see, the teachers are the ones who have to behave, and the kids can do whatever they please, however they please.  Help me out here......what's wrong with that picture......and why aren't the people in education finding an acceptable way to change that. 

Nevertheless, my mind has taken a fascinating and sentimental break this morning, and it's been a fun diversion.  Remembering the antics of my childhood is like spending time in a cathedral.  I'm very careful, tho, that I sift only the good memories for retrospect.  No sense dwelling on the times that perhaps weren't the best.  And, heaven only knows, all of us have had those times.

Trivia Question

What was the name of Ed Sullivan's pet mouse?