Bicycle Cards

It amazes me sometimes to think about the things we take for granted in today’s world. We talk, text or email people around the world from a little device we carry in our pockets. We scroll through hundreds of channels looking for a show to watch on television. Or to DVR so we can watch it later.

But it wasn’t always so. . . .

With no X-boxes, computers, I-phones or other fancy high-tech devices to play on, we actually had to make up stuff with our own imaginations. If we got tired of using our cap guns and pretending they were real, we’d get out a football and pretend we were Doak Walker or Kyle Rote or Bobby Lane. For those too young to know, there were big-time football stars from the caveman days when I grew up.

Or we’d gather a bunch of kids in the front yard—or back yard—and play “Red Rover” or “Mother May I?” or other such games that required no equipment at all. For some reason, we always seemed to play those games when we went back outside after supper.

If someone in the neighborhood was having a yard put in—or any kind of excavation work—the pile of dirt trucked in to use became our fort. We’d throw dirt clods at one another, or occasionally at cars. Well, of course I never threw them at cars.

We’d get a brick or some similar object and put one end of a board on it to make a ramp. Then we race our bicycles toward the ramp to see who could fly the farthest. I guess nowadays we’d probably scare most mothers to death, but in the 1950s they thought of that as normal behavior.

Speaking of bicycles, what young boy doesn’t pretend his bicycle is a motorcycle? Every kid I knew had that fantasy, but we did more than just fantasize. We built real motorcycles.

Well, real fake ones. At least they sounded like motorcycles. We would get a couple of playing cards and a couple of clothespins . . . do they still have clothespins?

  Anyhow, we’d clip playing cards to the braces that attached the fenders to the rear wheel axle—one on each side. The cards would point inward, laying across the spokes. Then when we rode, the flapping of the cards against the spokes would make a noise exactly like a motorcycle. Okay, somewhat like a motorcycle, but in our imaginations . . . Besides, this is my memory, not yours.

Ø Think of your early childhood—what things would blow your children’s or grandchildren’s minds compared to their lives today?

Ø How did some of these things from childhood mold your development?

If you liked this, feel free to comment and repost link on Facebook or Twitter.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
This entry was posted in Archives and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Bicycle Cards

  1. DM says:

    I remember Red Rover. We played it often during recess. It was 1st or 2nd grade, and this boy and I liked each other. No matter who the teams called for, we’d call each other. Thank you for bringing that sweet memory back.


  2. hawleywood40 says:

    Goodness, what great memories. Roller-skating around the neighborhood. Playing ‘adventurers” on a wooded hill behind the community where I lived. Walking to the snowball stand for icy treats in the summer. Snow forts and snow men and snowball fights. Movie marathons using the VCR. Playing with collectible toy horses I got in West Virgina. Uno and Phase 10. I wanna be a kid again! I’m kind of glad I was one of the last of the “pre-internet” generations for childhood – I think I might have been sucked in and missed way too many wonderful things outdoors.


  3. Barb Estinson says:

    Hey, I remember playing all those things … sometimes with you. I also remember playing baseball in the vacant lot with some of the neighborhood kids … while you played football in the back yard. Those forts in the living room were fun!


  4. We did the cards-on-spokes thing, too. And played telephone with a tin can at each end of a string. Now, kids whip out their cell phones and call around the world.

    Once a week, we went across the yard to our grandparents’ house to watch one hour of TV after school (1/2 hour of cartoons, and then my favourite, The Lone Ranger, came on at 4:30). Black and white, of course. On the weekend, our whole family would go over to watch Lawrence Welk and Walt Disney. It was a far cry from today’s handheld video players.

    Oh, and how about this? Does anybody else remember extension libraries? We could look at a paper catalogue and mail-order library books from the central library 50 miles away. It was so exciting when they arrived a week later in a canvas envelope with big, heavy silver snaps. Today, practically the entire world of literature is accessible almost instantaneously on the internet. Last night, I searched for books on a specific topic, selected one, paid for it, and started reading it on my Kindle for PC in moments.

    Wow. Never mind the kids. The changes blow *my* mind.


    • Thanks, Diane. I’d forgotten about tin can phones. We were always outside playing unless it rained. Then we’d set up card tables and put blankets over them to make tents. I think we had more fun when we had to use our imaginations instead of having all the high-tech toys kids have today.


  5. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    We always played kick the can and spied on the people that all lived on our farm. (All relatives!)


  6. Lynn says:

    Everything you mentioned in this entry kids were still doing when I was little (except the football players they were imitating were different). But I do remember seeing boys with cards on their spokes. My boys even did lots of this stuff. Definitely cap guns and bicycle ramps. Fun stuff!


  7. Say, your blog brought back membory flashes. Don’t forget “Kick the Can.” Didn’t those playing cards get demolished and ruin the whole deck?! Anyway, did enjoy. Keep up the fine writing. Love, Sharon K. Walker


Comments are closed.