I was grocery shopping recently and had a craving for a childhood snack — graham crackers with frosting on them. I purchased the box of crackers and grabbed what I thought was standard chocolate frosting. Imagine my delight when I popped open that little container and discovered chocolate mint — double yum!
That got me to thinking about some of the simple things from my childhood that kids today don’t have the opportunity to experience. Back when I was a child life was more simple. Summer was spent playing outside. There weren’t any arranged play-dates set up by parents, we weren’t in day care centers, and our parents did not have us participating in scheduled activities.
We got up in the morning and walked or rode our bike to a friend’s house, rang the doorbell and asked if they could come out and play. When was the last time a child did that? Today’s children probably wouldn’t know how. We didn’t have video games, cell phones, ipads, or any of the other technology that kids today rely on. So what did we do with our time? We had fun!
A field behind the house could be trampled down into “rooms” in which we could roll out our baby carriages and play house. We would lay on our backs and look at the clouds, making determinations on what they looked like. We played Ring-Around-The-Rosie, Duck-Duck-Goose, Mother May I, Red Rover Red Rover, Tag, Kick-the-Can, and hide-and-go-seek.
We only had three TV channels, and cartoons were a Saturday morning specialty. Every kid sat in front of the TV watching their favorites. Between Saturdays we had our comic books to read. My girlfriend and I would put our comic books into the saddle baskets of our bikes, then read our comic books as we rode our bikes down the street no-handed….and we weren’t even wearing helmets!
We would sit on the porch playing jacks. At one time I was able to handle pick-ups of 20 jacks at a time. We played a lot. Do kids play jacks anymore? Are they even available to purchase? Ours were tiny metal jacks with a small red ball. What about hula hoops and pogo sticks? With a swing of the hips your hula hoop could be forced up to the neck or down to the knees and back to the waste. Regular jump rope, Chinese jump rope, and hop scotch kept us busy.
I lived in a small town. We would ride our bikes downtown and go to the library and the dime store. I did a lot of reading. Nancy Drew was my favorite, and so was Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie as I got older. We bought pop in glass bottles out of a vending machine. Everyone chewed Bazooka bubble gum, and we all loved the little tiny comics that came inside. Gum wrappers were used to make chains…what we did with those chains I don’t remember.
We looked for 4-leaf clovers. Flower petals were pulled off one-by-one saying “he loves me, he loves me not.” Dandelions were held under the chin to see if your chin shone yellow, but I don’t remember why. If we found a dandelion gone to seed, a “wisher,” we were thrilled….but our father wasn’t if he saw us blowing those seeds out into the lawn.
Back then most people did not have air conditioning. Windows were open, fans were used. One strong childhood summer memory does not involve me but my father. He would mow the lawn and then afterward watch the ball game on TV. One of my favorite scents and sounds of summer is the combination of fresh mowed grass and a baseball ball game on the TV or radio.
What are some of your childhood memories? No matter how old or young you are, if you are an adult I am sure things have changed since your childhood. Do you have childhood cravings? Do you wish your children and/or grandchildren could experience life as it once was, not as it is now?