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?
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