A, My Name is Alice

"When I was a kid"... boy, that sounds like something your dad would start out a conversation with when he was trying to make a point of "how easy you kids got it today", right?  Let's try this again... "back when I was a child" (sounds better, right?) all we needed was a piece of chalk, a ball, and a jump rope to keep us more or less entertained all day. Not that we wouldn't have been distracted by a Wii if Wiis were invented, but we didn't have them, and managed to while away the summer days in idyllic bliss!

Many of our summer games used a basic rubber ball with a good bounce. There were basically 2 different types of ball games we played. First, the type that involved some type of grid on the ground, like Four Square. This required more than one person. The other type of games were usually played by yourself, while waiting for a friend to finish lunch. These were bouncing games, either on the ground like "A, My Name is Alice", or off a wall, like "7-Up". 

I am sharing just a few of the ball games I enjoyed the most. As with all these games, there may...Read more

Hopscotch

We grew up in little house in a large subdivision. These "subs" were popping up in the shadows of large cities all over America. They were the product of the post World War II Baby Boom. My siblings and I were born at the tail end of the boom, but our childhood, and I'm afraid now our aging years", were dramatically impacted by the boom. As a child, it was great! New neighborhoods sprung up, and EVERY house was full of kids! It was a time when parents didn't have to drive their children places for "play dates". You simply walked over to a friends, stood on their porch, and with a melodic lilt, called out your friend's name. "KAAARRRRRRREEEEEEEEENNNNN!!! (This proved to be a great time saver. Instead of ringing a bell, possibly waking up a sleeping child and suffering the wrath of a frazzled mom, you were able to announce from the porch, whom you came to see.) Of course, all those neighborhoods still exist, but there is now an age diversity in the families that live on those streets. There may be elderly couples with no children, quasi empty nesters with children away at school. Families with young children, and young couples that haven't...Read more

Jacks

In the summertime I could spend hours playing Jacks. And when I talk Jacks, I must talk Grandma Pearl. My Grandma Pearl taught me many things, including how to knit, BUT as a child, I was most impressed with her Jack playing expertise. This old lady was a Jack playing wizard! When she pulled out her little bag of Jacks, she was 10 years old, sprawled out on the floor, flinging the ball, and picking up Jacks at break neck speed. Impressive. When I first started playing, I was all thumbs and felt terribly clumsy. But, Grandma was patient. She gave me tips, gave me more than my fair share of "start overs", and was willing to bend the rules on more than one occasion. 

But her patience paid off. Before long, I could play Jacks with the best of them. I even became a rival to Grandma Pearl, although I never surpassed her Jack playing prowess. For years, in the summertime I never went anywhere without my jacks and jump rope. Yesterday, Fairy spent the night. It was great fun giving her her first Jacks' lesson. When she was leaving this morning, she said, "Gammy, I think I need to borrow...Read more