We played outside. We climbed in trees. We dug holes in the ground and covered them with boards and the dug out dirt to make forts we could crawl into and hide. We roller-skated at the school – which was open 24/7 and only a block or so away. Sometimes we climbed on the roof. We got there on our bikes or by bare feet over dirt roads with ruts and gullies in them. We swung on the swings and marked out hopscotch with chalk and used broken chains as markers since they landed so well. We played four square – or two square if there was only two of us. The big boys played football on the long strip of grass that lined a string of classrooms – the wing for the first and second graders because it was the flattest. The girls hung on the sidelines dreaming of one of the big boys becoming their boyfriend.
I wasn’t much of a fan of football in those days any more than now and I had no illusions that one of those boys would like me – my sister was so much cuter than I and all they could see was her. Shallow boys.
The house we lived in was too small to stay inside much. On rainy days we had to. Our mother had drawn roses on pieces of white cloth for us to embroider – or we played dolls or board games or watched a cartoon or two – or spun in the chair that was a swivel until Mom yelled out to us to stop. Some rainy days she would drive us up to the laundromat just to dry a load or two – normally, she hung them on the line outside – the same frame my sister and I used as a monkey bar. She would leave us there and come back later. We loved that chore because the U-totem was hooked to the laundromat and we each had a nickel for a candy bar. Oh joy!
I’m so glad that I was born in the 50s. What a wonderful era it was. So fresh and clean. So trivial.
We seldom had nothing to do.
It’s possible there were greedy, controlling monsters behind it all – but they were hidden behind the veil that still existed.
Evenings the adults would gather on someone’s porch and the kids could hang out among them if they wanted to. I loved to. I loved to hear the adults talk – they seemed to have all the answers and all the best of the gossip.
Ruts and gullies.
Roller skates, dolls and Cooties.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Now the beast is clear.