Thursday, April 3, 2008


It's All A Game

by Joan Kayse

I have a critique group. Four ladies who I have bonded with not only as writers but as friends. We each write in different sub-genres—historical, romantic suspense, category and YA. Yet we all get each others writing and are there to help shape the stories, offer plot solutions, force the historical writer to get rid of the goat….

Ahem.

Anyway, we met this past weekend and spent a good thirty minutes reading the pages each had brought. But halfway through I looked across the table to find the category and YA girls playing football. No, not the kind with an actual ball but the kind played for decades by bored students in study hall. They didn’t have folded paper triangles but tightly wadded foil from every critique groups essential tool…Hershey Dark Chocolate kisses.

They became completely engrossed in the game and to be frank they amazed me with their skill. The category gal was especially adept at flicking the ball through an obstacle course of purple foil to score. The more they played, the more they laughed and the more I decided I needed to bring more pages to keep them occupied.

But their playing of this adolescent game got us to talking about other games we played as kids. Now you have to understand that we artfully dodged SOME discussion lest it date us as to our age.

While jacks and marbles were mentioned, I remembered more clearly those summer time plastic wonders. You know from Whammo or Hasbro. A favorite was a plastic heel you strapped onto your foot. Attached was a long string with a ball and you swung that around and jumped over the string as you would a jumping rope. It took skill, coordination and stamina. Sigh. Those were the days.

Remember Super balls? Man, you could not only put your eye out with those but if hit JUST RIGHT bean that annoying Mike L. in his backyard three houses down :-)


And Jarts. My cousin Bobby had those and we spent hours playing it. I can just hear child safety experts of today saying "It's all well and good until somebody pierces an aorta.". Spoil sports.
Hula Hoops, skates, Frisbees, rocks (Ever play rock school?), chalk for hopscotch, bubbles the "old fashioned way"...blowing.

What were some of your favorite toys as a kid? Tell us about them and especially any unusual stories. The person with the most memorable one will win a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card.

113 comments:

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Bwah-ha-ha! Did I do it?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ah-ha! I did! I knew staying up late to work would pay off one of these days. Grins. Hello, handsome rooster!

Joan said...

LOL, Duchesse!

The GR is yours for the day.

Got any games you're going to play?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Joanie, great memories. I had to laugh about the foil football game. I remember the triangle paper footballs in study hall and the folded paper fortune telling thing. What else? Hmmmm. Hula hoops. That ball swinging & jumping thing you mentioned and I can't remember the name of. Frisbee. I remember some kind of beanbag game too. :> Kickball. Loved me some kickball. Ouch on the superballs. I remember them and having them banished by Mama. One of my brother's broke a lamp into a zillion pieces with one of them. Hadn't thought about the lawn darts in a long time. I'm thinking my parents didn't "go there" given my brother's penchant for weaponry. Heehee.

Fun post, Joanie!

Joan said...

Oh, wow...I'd forgotten about the paper fortune telling thingee (Amazing how so many of our toys from childhood are now called thingees).

It was a very useful tool for predicting your next boyfriend :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, what a great post. I went on a real nostalgia fest then. Sadly, I was always TERRIBLE with anything involving physical dexterity. But I remember loving skipping - my school had great big long heavy ropes so all the girls used to say the rhymes some of which I'm sure went back at least 100 years. Captain Cook had a chook? Clearly an early Golden Rooster fancier! And we played hopscotch and marbles. What I do remember is all this stuff seemed to have a fad time space and then it would be forgotten while we played something else. Another thing I remember very fondly from my childhood, perhaps because they didn't involve physical dexterity, was board games. I was a killer monopoly player. And my grandmother, who did a lot of babysitting, taught me a lot of card games.

Joan said...

Ah, the board games.

I used to love to play LIFE. I was a dreamer even then being one of the few who was THRILLED to land on a space where I had triplets.

(I tease my newly wed goddaughter all the time about having triplets. Who knew young people could go pale that fast? Anyway I assure her she and her husband get the pick of the litter..I'll take the left overs :-)

I remember for my six year old birthday party one of the girls bringing Parchessi....I NEVER understood that game.

SORRY, CANDYLAND, RISK....and MONOPOLY was a fav. I always wanted to be the shoe or the Scottie dog....

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Joan, LOVED the shoe in Monopoly! It was worthy of Tawny or VA!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Scottie dog, all the way. :> (Monopoly) Scrabble. Chutes and Ladders. Mousetrap! Oh, that was fun!

Anna, you have to share Cap'n Cook, had a chook... We don't generally call them chooks in the States (not that I've heard) So I never heard this skipping rhyme.

flchen1 said...

Ah yes... lots of jump rope and Chinese jump rope in my youth... jacks and Chinese jacks... (what is it about Chinese versions of playground games anyway?) Those adjustable skates that you fit over your shoes...

Jeanne, I envy you your athletic ability--I hated kickball and most of those types of games. Takes me back to those horrible days of being chosen last and getting whacked in the glasses with just about every kind of ball available (not all at the same time, thankfully!) ;)

We didn't have too many board games growing up--Candyland I remember, and I loved Battleship and Life whenever we visited friends. We played card games with our grandparents, and then eventually our parents taught us how to play mahjong. Not for money, of course ;)

Amy Andrews said...

Ahhh, Joan, the good old days.

We used to play a game at school - we called its elastics - and it was just a length of elastic tied to form a big loop. Two girls would stand a couple of meters apart and step inside the loop anchoring the elastic around their ankles and then other girls had to jump through it with all these different manouevres and the elastic would be slowly raised. First to the knees, then the hips, then the waist, then under the arms, then the neck and lastly above the head. The tricks got harder to peform the higher it went.
Don't know if it had a proper name.

Board games - big scrabble head. Monopoly - but I suck at that. Remind me to never mention the word at Anna's house. And card games. 500 and Euka and Cannasta. Patience, Go Fish, Snap.

Aunty Cindy said...

WTG, Duchesse! The GR is yours at last!

Joanie, thanx for the great trip down memory lane on those games. No lawn darts in my family either... the old "put your eye out" refrain. But we had Slip N Slide in the summer, no doubt to make up for NO POOL. It absolutely ruined the lawn and took off a fair amount of skin if you slid wrong.

Oh, and I was ALWAYS the race car in Monopoly. Prophetic????

AC

Christine Wells said...

Great post, JT! Haven't thought about a lot of that stuff in years.

Amy, you and I are the same vintage, I think. I remember those fads--first it was hopscotch, then knuckles (similar to jacks) then elastics, then shooting hoops at the netball courts. But elastics was a very specific skill and there were all these tricky ways around the rules, IIRC. Oh, for the flexibility of those days! I also remember UNO and Guess Who. Did anyone play those? And Twister. A very silly game. We used to giggle a lot.

Woohoo, la duchesse! I hope you're treating the rooster to a dish of tea at the palace!

jo robertson said...

What a clever topic, Joanie! Games, who woulda thought of it?

Jeanne, hehehehehehe.

Okay, I'll admit to the now politically incorrect toy of cap guns. I loved the popping sounds, I loved the smell of the caps being hit by the hammer, and I loved being the cowboy to my brother's indian. Like I said, soooo not PC!

jo robertson said...

Joan, we called those paper-catching thingies cootie-catchers.

Dunno why, when they told fortunes. Kids, go figure!

flchen1 said...

Amy and Christine, I think what you called elastics is what we called Chinese jumprope--we had a version where the elastic (usually a big chain of rubber bands) was a loop, and a different version where it was a "rope". Both kinds involved starting at the ground and moving up (ankles, knees, hips/waist, shoulder, head--I might have left some out).

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I did a chase on this because I'd forgotten it and I've got a feeling this one is slightly different to the one we used to sing, but it will give you the gist:

Captain Cook chased a chook,
All around Australia,
Lost his pants
In the middle of France
And found them in Tasmania.

Actually another thing that was a huge craze at our school was hand clapping games. You know, Under the bamboo, under the tree, boom, boom, boom, True love for you and true love for me, etc. Or My boyfriend's name is Fatty, He comes from Cincinatti, etc.

Christine Wells said...

Yes, that's right, Fedora! Only we used to do it with dress elastic, just one long loop. Boy, it must have taken forever to make it with the rubber bands! Isn't it amazing to know the same strange craze went on across continents?

Amy Andrews said...

Oooh yes yes Anna. That's it! I was racking my brain to think of it!
What about
Oooh ahhh
I lost my bra
Dont know where my kickers are
Must be in my boyfriends car.

What a crack - must have been all of 8 years old!!!

Amy Andrews said...

Hey yeah Christine, I'm with you. Mucho dedication to make it out of elastic bands!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, Amy, we didn't have anything nearly so risque. Captain Cook losing his daks was about as hot as we got. Do you remember Cinderella dressed in yeller?

Helen said...

Congrats Jeanne

Great post Joan brings back lots of memories
I loved elastics and knuckles and skipping we used to play a lot of board games as well twister monopoly scrabble mousetrap and lots of card games very popular in our house yahtzee was a great game as well.
What I remember and loved most was playing dominoes and draughts my grandmother taught all of her 12grandchildren to play and we would spend hours playing with the adults and children together.
Thanks for the memories

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

Another one I remember although I don't know what we called it, we would put a tennis ball in an old stocking and tie a knot in it stand against a brick wall and sing rhymes while we hit the stocking and ball around ourselves and hope we didn't hit each other or ourselves.
Have Fun
Helen

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

The games people play...:-) little people that is. I remember the jacks, marbles, hula hoops, I really liked the hand clapping game. I had about two inches too much leg and grace is not my middle name. I fell down, a lot. Same with my arms and hands, couldn't catch a ball for the life of me. I was constantly coming home bruised and battered, fingers were always stoved up, my mother didn't know if I was really going to school or war. Does anyone remember the clackers? Or is that the same as the Super Ball?

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR Jeanne!

Buffie said...

Gee, as I child growing up in coastal Florida, the majority of my time was spent either in the swiming pool or on our boat. But I do have memories of skaing in the driveway, playing with my barbies, and my dad always beating me at Sorry.

Anna -- I loved playing the clapping games. Here's a part of one I used to do . . .

Miss Mary Mac Mac Mac
all dressed in black black black
with silver buttons buttons buttons
all down her back back back

Gillian Layne said...

Everyone together now!:)

I went to a Chinese restaurant
To buy a loaf of bread,bread,bread,
He put it in doggie bag
And this is what I said,said, said,
My.. name.. is
(speed up!)
Nickani, Nickani, Pom pom poodles,
Willie, Willie, wiskers,
Chinese chopsticks, chow
Chris cross, apple sauce, do me a favor,
Get Lost!

It has all sorts of very fast hand movements. My girls do it all the time and laugh hysterically when I try to keep up. Love those clapping games!

We played four square outside---and tetherball. Now it's banned from our school yards, cause someone (everyone sing along together again!) Might Get Hurt! Sheesh. It was fun!

Great post, Joan! And congrats on the rooster, Jeanne ;)

Amy Andrews said...

Well you know us public school girlie's Anna ;-)
I do remember the cinderella one vaguely but you'd have to remind me. My daughter is really into all those clapping games at the moment and they're practically the same as when I went to school. She's away on camp at the mo otherwise I'd be a font of info.

Deb Marlowe said...

Oh, yeah, kick ball and four square at school, along with those little fortune tellers. Now my youngest is addicted to those. Pick a color, Pick a number! C'mon mom!

At home it was all about the pool and badminton. (Is that really the right way to spell it?? I could hit that birdie a loong way!

Maureen said...

When I was a kid one of my favorite toys came about when my mother's clothes line would break. That meant that my father was putting up a new line and there was always left over which I used for jumping rope. The jump ropes I bought my own daughter when she was young were pathetic compared to the heavy clothes line that was long enough for a girl to be on each end and then all the rest of us would take turns jumping in and out of the swinging rope.

Joan said...

Good Morning everyone! Jeanne, I hope you and the GR didn't wake you too early with his crowing.

Isn't it pitiful none of can remember the name of the "plastic swinging, jumping thing". But I know every summer there would be some cheap, novel toy like that that everyone wanted.

Joan said...

flchen, I don't remember Chinese jump rope. Similar to the Aussie girl's elastics?

Did y'all have to always make your own elastics? Or were they sold in the stores?

I also learned lots of card games from the grown ups....poker and Tripoli. When we'd get together with the aunts and uncles they'd let the kids play Tripoli with them for pennies.

They also taught us kids how to mix drinks...like Highballs...

Hmmm....I think we were being used.

Joan said...

Amy, I played card games (besides the poker) like 500 Rummy, Go Fish, Uno, War. I never leared Ueker or Canasta.

BTW, did the elastic ever snap and BREAK during these tricks? Ouch!

Joan said...

LOL, AC....we never had a Slip N Slide :-(

But we did get to have a pool. You know the flimsy ones that if JUST the bit too much water would cause the sides to collapse.

Then the driveway became an instand Slip and Slide...asphalt no fun.

Joan said...

Oh, my how could I have forgotten Twister, Christine?

Man talk about memories of flexability.

Right hand Red, Left foot Yellow....behind the right hand.

Joan said...

Cootie Catchers? Ahhhh...maybe because they did foretell of your next "love"???



Cap pistols, LOL. I can actually bring up the memory of that smell. Different times indeed...different times.

brownone said...

My sister was a girly girl and I was a tomboy. We both had roller skates, but I liked climbing fences or seeing what cool tricks I could do while on my roller skates, like rolling down a backyard ramp backwards (didn't work out too well BTW). I LOVED my pogo stick and would bounce all over the place. Oh, and my skateboard. We won't get into the horrible accidents I would get into on that thing! Sit and spin was always fun. I always liked my sister's Lite Brite but she never let me play with it because she SAID I kept losing all the colored pegs (I think she lost them and just blamed me). Funny thing...we got one for my kids and one day my sister and I were hanging out writing dirty words on the Lite Brite and cracking up!

Joan said...

Helen, my BFF has taught me dominoes in only the last few years. I love to play it!

And Mousetrap. I never got that cool game either...I was stuck with Parchessi....

But I did get Operation...Bzzzzzzz

Joan said...

Oh, poor dianna.....

I wasn't the most coordinated either and my early softball career was cut short when I was pitching and my brother at bat line drived the ball right into my nose....

I can still see that ball headed toward my head!

And clackers is very familiar but wasn't that something similar to the heel/ball/jumping thingee????? I may have to Google that later...

Joan said...

I guess I had a deprived childhood as I do not remember clapping games being popular round here in Kentucky.

Skipping, or jump roping as we called it, did have some jingles associated with it though I was always so focused on not tripping that I didn't pay attention to them :-)

Joan said...

Deb! I played 4 square and 2 square too! That was fun as was playing H O R S E at the leaning basketball hoop.

I was pretty good with ball games....except softball...

Excuse me while I have a flashback..

Joan said...

Maureen,

Yup, clothes line did make the best jump ropes.

This isn't really a game but I miss having a clothes line outside that I can hang laundry on. NOTHING smells fresher than laundry in the sun on a spring day.

Ahhhh...

doglady said...

Way to go Jeanne! Watch out. I understand the GR is quite the card sharp. Do no play poker with the Rooster!

What a great topic, Joan. This has certainly been a trip down memory lane. I remember the ball and hoop thing around the ankle. Loved that. Hula hoops and lawn darts too. Although why anyone thought giving US sharp pointed throwing things is beyond me. We three (my two brothers and I) were horrible children. I mean, its bad when trailer park moms won't let their kids play with you!

Monopoly was our family game and it still is. Scottie dog here. I have so many wonderful memories of sitting around the dining room table playing with my parents and brothers. We still play at holidays when we get together, especially Christmas. My Dad was always a big kid at heart and playing together now that he is gone makes us miss him a bit less. The niece and nephews love it!

I remember elastics and the hand games and skipping rope. Anyone ever do double dutch? My Mom taught me. I doubt if I can still do it, but my 72 year old mother can!! She and my niece double dutch for my niece's friends and those kids thing my Mom is amazing. She also plays basketball with my nephews - all 4'11 of her!

We played a game in England called 'conkers' It was like marbles but you use a horse chestnut with a shoelace threaded through the middle. One person holds the end of their shoelace with the conker hanging down. The other person takes their conker between their thumb and forefinger, while holding the shoelace with the other hand and flings the conker down at the other guy's conker as hard as he can. The object is to break the other guy's conker or to knock it off its shoelace. I cannot tell you how many hours we spent under these huge chestnut trees in the 'conker field' across from our house in Kelsale playing conkers. Every kid in the village either watched or participated. Grown men would come to watch as well! We also spent hours looking for the biggest and best 'conker'. When we left I remember my brother James, who was a grand champion conker player, gave his prize conker to his friend Ivan. It was a very solemn occasion as only two nine year old boys can make it. My brother recently got in touch with Ivan via the Internet. He STILL has James's conker in a cigar box!

rebekah said...

I remeber play with a pogo ball when I was little. It was a ball that has plastic around it and you stand on the plastic part and jump. My daughter bought one a few years ago and they renamed it moon ball. I use to play Frisbe golf with my brother in parks, that was a fun game. I also remember sitting down at recess and doing all of the hand clapping games. My daughter has even taught me new ones and I have taoght her some of the old ones, like Miss Susie Had A Steamboat. My sister played tether ball alot. And my bother did Freestyling in his bicycle. What fun we had as children, sometimes I miss those days.

rebekah said...

I almost forgot I played alot of cats in the cradle and chinese jump rope.

Joan said...

OMG, doglady...the conker game? How did you get the shoelace through the nut? Sounds like it should have been considered for the Olympics ;-)

My brother had marbles but I never really played them.

We did have a tabletop set up to play Skittle....small wooden bowling pin type things with a stick with a ball on a string that you swung around to knock down the pins.

Monopoly seems to be a big one here in the lair. Can you believe the many variations they have of that game now? Star Trek, Disney, High School Musical. Hey! Maybe we can lure them into making a Bandita version!

We could have a GR, a boot, a crop, a teeeeenie little gladiator ....

I'm calling Parker Brothers

Joan said...

rebekah, you're younger than me because when we were young we just had pogo sticks....no fancy balls.

I could hold my own on one of those for,oh, about 5 seconds.

I loved my banana seat bike with the high handlebars.

petite said...

I enjoyed your lovely post today which brought back wonderful memories of another era and where I grew up. I used to be outside for hours on end and just ride around on my bike, a Raleigh which I loved to bits. No gears and going up and down hills etc. ANother favorite pasttime was jumping double dutch and using hoola hoops. Those were the days!

MsHellion said...

I had a pony, does that count for unusual? *LOL* But that was when I was older.

I also had a WONDER HORSE. One of those plastic horses on springs. He was gorgeous. A golden brown horse with dark mane and tail, a red saddle, and a wild-eyed, open-mouth look: full gallop, baby. I rode that horse all day, every day until I was literally too big to do so.

My dad says he remembers buying it. He set it up and put it in the back yard. He then tempted me outside for a ruse reason to see how long it took me to notice the horse. I was only 18 months, if that, but by this time I was completely horse mad. (My older sister had a horse; and I loved him.) So once outside, I spied the new horse; and Dad says I squatted low as if I were trying to sneak up on it by stealth. Once determining it was a horse, I trotted the long away around the house to FLANK the horse and slip up behind so it wouldn't take off. I think I fell asleep on it in mid-gallop as well, because they say it was the only way they could get me off it.

My other favorite thing to play with as a kid was Mom's Newly Washed Sheets. I loved to set up tents in the living room. Drove Mom mad, since I operated under the rule of "It's easier to seek forgiveness than permission."

jenna said...

This post brings back my fondest memories. Thanks so much. My ultimate games were chinese checkers and loved all card games. We were outside whenever possible and had roller skates that you slipped onto your running shoes and tightened with a key. I used them for years, saved the key and cherished this unique mode of tranportation.

p226 said...

Jarts... A friend of mine.. his buddy put a Jart through the hood of his dad's card. That didn't end well.

Me? I was hell on a bigwheel. And bicycles. It was all about airtime baby. We built suicidal ramps out of anything we could find. Oh the crashes.... Epic. Just epic. I once completely disintegrated a bigwheel by using a big mound of dirt made by a construction crew as a ramp. It was at the bottom of a very steep apartment complex driveway. I must've hit that ramp at 30mph. I don't remember the landing, because I was knocked unconscious. My friends said it was "the coolest g$%^ d@#$ jump they'd ever @#$%@#$% seen!"

We had about a tenth of a mile nearly vertical hill near my house. The tree-trimmer guys came through an cut all the trees back away from the road and the power and phone lines. Where did they leave a five foot high pile of wood chips? Oh yeah. Right at the bottom of this hill. I must've hit that with my bike at 40mph. I remember being about 15 feet in the air and thinking "whoops, misjudged." The dry creek I landed in (about 45 feet past my anticipated landing zone) provided no cushion. That hurt for weeks. Never told mom n dad though.

And sleds!

bwahahah...

http://tinyurl.com/26fmb7
(tinyurl so it'll fit in the blog layout)

Deb Marlowe said...

Oh, p226--I forgot about my big wheel! My sister started kindergarden with two black eyes and a goose egg on her forehead, because we got into a giant big wheel wreck the night before. Man, was I in trouble!

And we lived for our bikes and sleds too. My cousin slid down a HUGE hill, went into the neighbor's yard, hit the gigantor tire on the Dad's 18 wheeler and gave himself a concussion!

Jeez, it's a miracle we all survived!

p226 said...

OH!

And the "Brick Factory!"

I think I was three. And I had a brick factory. Yup.

Dad had this car....

A 1971 SS Malibu Chevelle with a 396 High Output motor. It was a ROCKETSHIP. And it was his baby. And it'd been home for a grand total of four days from its trip to the paint shop where it got this BEAUTIFUL dark blue, metallic flake, high gloss paint job. It was gorgeous. And it was parked next to a large pile of bricks. And.... I apparently needed a factory.

So I slid the bricks up the trunk.

Across the roof.

Clunk clunk clunk down the windshield onto the hood. From there, I pushed them off the hood into a pile in front of the car. It was my Brick Factory. And it was FUN!

After about an hour of this, my mother comes outside looking for me and finds my really cool brick factory.

I didn't understand all the fuss. I didn't understand why she ACTUALLY PACKED UP AND LEFT TOWN for fear of what dad was going to do to me. Seriously, took me 100 miles away to a hotel in another town before he got home from work.

In the end, he just laughed and said "boys will be boys."

That's one of my earliest memories.

Esri Rose said...

Okay, tell the golden rooster to cover those little holes he calls his ears.

Although we mostly lived in the 'burbs when I was growing up, we usually kept chickens. My mom was used to farming stuff, Daddy wasn't. Still, he always killed the roosters because Mom's method would have been to grab them by the neck and swing them over her head, and that was just too cruel for Daddy. So he'd get out the machete he brought back from Korea, and lay the chicken on its side on the killing stump. Then he'd stroke it and talk to it until it closed its eyes and was completely still, because he wanted to get a good chop the first try. Very kind-hearted man, my father.

Before turning the dead rooster over to my mom to prepare, he'd cut off one of the feet and tie the main tendon around a matchstick. When you pulled on the matchstick, the toes would close like "The Claw" in Toy Story, and you could pick up little rocks or surprise people with a creepy pinch. And that, my friends, was a very cool toy.

flchen1 said...

Wow--p226! That's quite an industrious project you created for yourself! I'm not sure how we'd react today if our kids decided to invent this... *reminding self to avoid parking next to piles of bricks*

And we LOVED our Big Wheel! (Don't think the brakes ever worked very well and eventually broke off...)

Christine, I think they sold elastics for that purpose, but I don't remember ever buying one... As for making them, I remember saving up all the rubber bands I could find... I was a little envious of my best friend, who made hers out of a big bag of ones that looked exactly the same while mine was a bit uh... patchworky, I guess ;) They all pretty much worked the same though!

And Anna, et al, I loved those clapping rhymes but can't for the life of me remember any of them in detail... Rockin' Robin?

limecello said...

I'm too young to remember Jarts, I think :X. The skip it! That provided endless fun! And scraped ankles. There was also the bouncy ball stuck in the middle of a plastic platform you were supposed to jump on... ack can't remember the name. Clackers were fun, and torture for parents.
I remember some serious jump rope games too, though I never mastered double dutch. I could do a double jump - though that's not the same. Horse shoes, badmitton... tether ball, hopscotch... oh man and Red Rover. What a *horrible* game! Maybe ok for kids all the same age/size... but I permanently injured my wrists playing with college kids in middle school. (It wasn't really a choice thing.)
Swings were really fun too - underdogs/underducks, and cherry bumps. Hehe - great memories!

Anna Sugden said...

What a fun and fab post, Joanie! Brought back lots of fond memories. Growing up in both the UK and the US, I remember most of the games and toys the others have talked about ... I love Life and Mousetrap because they had so many cool bits to them.

Conkers! Best game ever! It's a growing up ritual in the UK. Taken very, very seriously ... even by grown men. There may even be an annual conker championship. I think there's some weird statistic about the number of accidents in the autumn caused by boys and men climbing tress to get the best conkers.

Oh, and some people used to cheat by soaking them in vinegar. Pfft.

Just want to say, I was really bad at skipping and elastics, but a mega-star at jacks.

Anna Sugden said...

www.worldconkerchampionships.com

Check it out!

terrio said...

Wow, this is really taking me back. I hadn't thought about some of this stuff in years. Loved board games - Clue, Monopoly, Battleship and Chutes & Ladders.

Euker is the game in my family. My grandparents and godparents used to play every Saturday night and I'm pretty sure all of us kids knew how to play by the age of five. Even now, during family gatherings, we have Euker tournaments. The trash talk is hysterical.

Never had the Jarts but the older guys two houses up would drink and throw them at each other turning it into more of a game of chicken. Yeah, blood flow happened often in that yard.

My sister and I once drove a sled directly into a large tree. Technically, I think she was steering and that could have been the first signs as to why today she is 39 and still never had a license.

I stunk at Jacks, loved Hopscotch and jumprope. And my 8 year old now does those hand clap things and the rhymes have gotten very involved. She was doing one last night with a little girl on her softball team and it seemed highly involved to me.

Aunty Cindy said...

Yellow, yellow Cinderella,
Went upstairs to kiss a fella.
Made a mistake
And kissed a snake.
How many kisses did she take?


I like Amy's rhyme about leaving knickers in the boyfriend's car a LOT better.

I'm just sayin...

AC
P.S. Jo, we called them "cootie catchers" too!

MsHellion said...

Here was our most popular "chant"

East, West
I met my boyfriend @ the candy store
He bought me ice cream
He bought me cake
He bought me home with a bellyache
Mama, Mama
I feel sick
Call the doctor
QUICK, QUICK, QUICK
Dr., Dr. will I die?
close your eyes and count to 5
I said a 1,2,3,4,5
I'm alive!



And Joan, I loved the little hand game that told your fortune. We spent a LOT of time creating those things, decorating with markers....

Jane said...

In the schoolyard we played hopscotch, jacks and jumped roped. I've always wanted to learn how to Double Dutch. I think my favorite game was water balloons in the summer. What's more fun that lobbing water balloons and soaking your enemies? We were such evil kids that we even dropped them from the windows onto unsuspecting pedestrians.

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Joan. I feel very late in coming here today. Every time I would try to post this morning my phone would ring or a delivery truck would pull up. But work is settled now and I have twenty minutes before the sophmore is home.

And Joan! Parchessi. I will have to teach you that game. It's one of my favorites. There's nothing like a good block to keep thing interesting in that game.

Coming from a large family we played a lot of board games and cards. A great card game is progressive rummy. You have to play with a big group and several decks of cards. You play 10 hands and each one gets harder.

ruth said...

We always met with friends around the area and the most fun that I had was when we all got together with a few tennis balls and started to lob them against the brick walls of the schools when they were closed all summer. We spent hours competing. If we tired of this we brought our cherished bags of marbles and played marbles. The different ones had colors and were valued more than plain ones. We would meet everyday. I know that at the time I looked forward to this each day.

Esri Rose said...

I was a tomboy, so I did zero jump roping. Or is that rope jumping? But for one summer, a friend and I did this circus thing with a large board (or piece of plywood?) set on top of one of those parking space bumpers. Girl 1 would stand on one end of the board, and Girl 2 would jump on the other end. When Girl 1 felt Girl 2 land, Girl 1 jumped, and vice versa until, with the board boosting each jump, we were catching maybe four feet of air. It was somewhat dangerous, it's true (although we never got hurt). I think it was only winter and the loss of our board that stopped us.

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, I certainly remember clackers - you're talking about the hard little plastic balls on strings? Another thing calling for more coordination than I could manage. And goodness, I still bear scars from falling over all the time. I think we would have got along FINE at school!

Maureen, that's exactly what our long skipping ropes were like. A girl at each end and then everyone jumping in until they stumbled. As you say, the little ropes just don't cut the mustard - or pepper which is what used to call it when the rope went really fast!

Joan said...

petite I too enjoyed bike riding up until high school when I finally got my 10 speed bike.

It was too tall for me and for a long time the only way I could figure out how to get off of it was to fall off....

Don't ask...really.

Joan said...

mshellion,

Awwwwww....that's a pretty cute story about the (ta da) WONDER HORSE!

I still have a bouncy horse from my babyhood. It is blue and pink and I would ride it like the wind.

And tent making! Yes! There has never been a more mysterious and wonderous hideout than the one made with blankets, afghans and sheets around the dining room table.

Joan said...

jenna, those were the kind of skates I had too. With narrow little feet I had to tighten those puppies pretty good to keep them on my feet. (It was hell on the Keds)

Up and down the driveway. Sometimes I'd use a broom like an oar.

Joan said...

My friends said it was "the coolest g$%^ d@#$ jump they'd ever @#$%@#$% seen!"

p226. You were on a BIG WHEEL, right? The kind that toddlers rode? You hung out with toddlers who talked like this????

Boy, you are a tough one.


LOL, about the brick factory. Your Mom really drove away??? Awww....

The closest I came to anything like that is using a set of wooden blocks for play food. Oh, and playing camp....bucket of water over some sticks and then go around gathering ingreidents for soup...green onions, dandelions, poison ivy...

Joan said...

flchen and limecello....

Along with p226...

They didn't even MAKE Big Wheels when I was a kid...

And before any smarties say anything, YES they had invented the wheel!!!

Joan said...

Anna, I have to say that "conkers" leads my imagination way beyond a chestnut tree...


WAY beyond..... :-)

Joan said...

Esri,

OMG.....points to dad for his ingenuity. Even Pa Ingalls never came up with something like that for Laura!

Jeanne, keep the GR away from the blog today.

Joan said...

terrio,

I LOVED battleship! I'll take the original as opposed to the high tech version out now.

Much more fun to make bomb noises as you score a hit.

Joan said...

LOL, jane. Water ballons could be lots of fun. Unless you're the target! :-)

Joan said...

Alas, Christie I've long since misplaced the Parchessi game.

The girl who gifted me with it did not get to come to the party. She had disobeyed her parents to call me on the phone and so she had to just bring the present and leave without cake.

Maybe if she'd got to stay she would have taught me!

Joan said...

Ruth,

I always thought the marbles were so pretty but it was never a huge thing in my neighborhood to play the game.

Most of what I know about marbles I learned from "Leave It to Beaver"

Esri Rose said...

Joan: Poison ivy? Bummer...

Anna Sugden said...

Joanie - LOL - smart little girls were very good at conkers. Somehow that meant the best boys wanted to play with them. Go figure.

(They were also very good at Kiss Chase, but that's another story).

What starts at 6 ... never stops *grin*

Anna Campbell said...

P226, your brick factory anecdote is gorgeous! You HAVE to write that down as a story somewhere.

Made me think of an incident from my childhood. We were mad cubbyhouse makers. Except that this particular time on the farm, we'd just had loads of chook manure delivered as fertiliser. And the delivery guys had left the big scoop behind (a poop scoop?) to be collected later. My brother decided it would make a wonderful cubbhouse for a little boy (it did - just the right size). So he took all the washing off the line, including all our winter dressing gowns, and decked out a fantastic living space. Except for the smell! Chook poo is pretty potent! Mum and Dad came up from working on the farm and man and did the chook poo hit the fan! Nothing was salvagable - that chook poo is way powerful stuff. Not even industrial strength laundry detergent will get rid of the stink! And my poor brother was like you, P226 - waddididooooo???

Joan said...

I know Esri....

But what do 8 year olds know?

p226 said...

p226. You were on a BIG WHEEL, right? The kind that toddlers rode? You hung out with toddlers who talked like this????

We were about 7 or 8. And yeah, we all talked like that.


LOL, about the brick factory. Your Mom really drove away??? Awww....


Yep. Packed up and left town.

Cherie J said...

I remember one year for Christmas when I was 8 I got a Barbie Town House for a gift. I had wanted Santa to bring me that toy so bad. Nothing quite like the joy of seeing that special toy on Christmas day. My memories of that toy are bittersweet however because about six months later our home burned down in an electical fire and we lost everything. It was hard enough to lose so much and for the most part I was able to deal with iteven though I was scared about what our future held. The one thing that ate away at me inside was losing that one special toy. I did not say anything to my parents of course because I knew they were already suffering and I did not want to add to their suffering so I knew I had to keep my sense of loss inside. I guess because I internalized that loss it has stayed with me into adulthood and so I can honestly say that it is the toy I have never forgotten.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

The clackers could do some serious damage to a accident prone girl, they were finally taken away after I blacked my own eye...LOL They were hard plastic balls hooked to a string and the aim was to get them going where they hit on top and then bounced off each other and hit on the bottom. Needless to say I was not good at it (the cooridination thing again) and they would always go beserk and I would get hurt. After the black eye incident they disappeared.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Anna, we would have been fast friends I have no doubt. My mother kept telling me I would outgrow it but I am now 56 years old and I still can walk without hurting myself, I have fallen down the back steps so many times I start to hyperventilate when I go out there. My momma lied to me :-(

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Dianna, ain't it tragic? I've fallen over so often, the pavement thinks it has a special relationship with me! Because I keep kissing it! I'm just as bad as I ever was except that being old and staid now, I'm not quite in harm's way as I was as a kid when I was running around like a loon.

Anna Campbell said...

Cherie, what a sad story! Hugs.

Amy Andrews said...

Nah Joan - the elastic NEVER snapped. Go figure. When I think about it, it probably should have.

P226 - what great memories. My brothers used to do crazy stunts with their bikes. Oh, except it wasn't their bikes. NO, no, no they ALWAYS used mine. So it ended up all dirty and muddy and banged up and theirs were still shiny and pristine for, you know, actually riding places!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Anna, you would think after 56 years the ground would figure out the affair is over. LOL

alissa said...

I am enjoying all these wonderful stories. When the whole block of kids got together we would all go for an extremely lengthy walk downtown. To us this was venturing into unknown territory. Spending time exploring the shops, bakeries, candy stores, and then finally ending up at the soda fountain in town was more fun than anything. We were on our own and loved this independence.

Anna Campbell said...

But Dianna, can you blame the ground for being confused when we keep throwing ourselves at it in wild fits of passion?

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Anna, it always looks to me like it is coming up to me. The same with sign posts, parking meters, little kids, they jump in front of me all the time.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

My beloved son had to grow to 6'3" in self defense so I would quit tripping on him.

p226 said...

Don't say sign posts....

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Bless your heart P226, this one just stepped in front of me, it didn't try to run me through like yours did.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi again everyone! I've had the GR out for the day. My three year old and he had a blast digging for worms. Then they both had a nice lunch and a nap. :> We're going to pop popcorn and have a movie tonight. Scooby Doo Pirate's Ahoy, I think, so nothing to upset his royal GRness. Grins.

Fedora, I wore glasses too and spent hours (and much $$$) at the opticians having them straightened from too much rough-housing at playground and with my brothers.

Jo! Cap guns! BB guns...ahhhh the fun. Grins.

Anna, that jumprope chant is hysterical!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, man, Big Wheels! Yeah! You know they have these tournaments for adults with those things...talk about living dangerously! P226, I have to say you've got one really busy, and highly successful Guardian Angel. Grins. I had to ROFLOL about the brick factory. OMGosh.

And ahhhhhh, water balloons. Manomanoman. Those were SUCH fun. On a hot day, there was nothing like a water balloon fight. And we were guerilla warriors with those things, all over the neighborhood.

Anna, I was LOLOLOL about the Chook poo. OMGosh I would have wanted to kill your brother, had I been your mother, but I'd'a been laughing my fanny off too, so he'd've been safe.

Bikes. Riding bikes in the summer, bannana seats, 10-speeds, stunts. Oh, my. That kept me at the optician's too, for the dropped, broken, run over glasses. Sigh. Hated the dratted things anyway...

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Jeanne, I think Mum was in your position. She honestly did want to murder him - the dressing gowns were new and a major extravagance because farming families don't have a lot of spare cash. But the idea of someone setting up house in a chook poo scoop was just too priceless. Talk about location, location, location - NOT!!!!

p226 said...

BBguns!

How could I have forgotten about bbgun wars!?

Yeah... We'd put on some safety glasses and have wars. The battle ground was a 1.5 mile stretch of road and the associated neighborhoods.

Yeah. We broke stuff.

Yeah, it hurt.

I only had to dig a few bb's out of my skin.

Then I had to stop when mom had to dig one out. Ronnie (of the tinyurl link above fame) shot me in the back of the head point blank. I couldn't see to dig that one out, and it was bleeding so much Ronnie wouldn't dig it out. So mom had to do it. She was not pleased.

Dina said...

I remember playing jacks, paper dolls, toss-across, kerplunk, hop-scoth, and a game where you would toss coins on the sidewalk and the one closest or in the crease that was between the steps won the money. I liked that one, lol.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Dina! Welcome back to the Lair! And as the Mom in Moonstruck said, "Thank you, for answering my question!"

Toss-across! The bean bag thingie. Yeah. Loved that.

P226...I got in SO much trouble because of the bb guns. As youngest, it was such an EASY form of revenge...waaaaaay too easy.

Then there was the chemistry set. Bwah-ha-ha! Bubble bubble, toil and trouble...

Anna, was LOL about 'location!'

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, you, Anna C and I can form a non-athletic team. Maybe we can have a spelling bee or make up poems about the athletic girls (Jeanne - pfft!). *g* That's what you get for grabbing the GR!

Joan, we had Jarts and managed, somehow, not to impale anyone. It was one of the few games where I remember having my FATHER as a coach and referee. I think he was the one who bought them, so Mama made him oversee their use. Ha!

We played so many games of gin rummy, I can't even tell you. We would play with two decks of cards so it would last longer. We also played two-deck games of War.

And absolutely endless games of Monopoly. My next older sister tended to cheat and hide money under the board.

One of our favorites was Masterpiece. That one was fun because you got to practice swindling people by selling them your forgeries. You know, in case we weren't good enough at cheating already thanks to my two older sisters. Loved it!

Clue, too, was a great one. Battleship. And one I was good at: Operation. Steady hands, have I!

My siblings and I were a little too smart for our own good and we LOVED to match wits. Made for interesting games at our house. Some bloodshed at times, but always interesting. *eg*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

How fun, Caren!! And War! Wow, I hadn't thought about that for a while. My oldest brother learned how to play whist one summer and taught the rest of us. Jeeez, talk about cheating. :> Then again, he's the one who turned into the successful entrepreneur.

Caren Crane said...

There were five of us, so we had every toy and game known to mankind!
-tricycles
- bikes
- scooters
- pogo sticks
- hobby horses (the one you could really ride that had HUGE springs to fling you back and forth)
- EZ Bake Oven
- Barbies (with Townhouse, Dreamboat and Camper)
- Little Kiddles w/ purses to carry them in AND a house for them (I LOVED them b/c they smelled so good!)
- dozens of types of dolls and army men
- jigsaw puzzles out the ying-yang!

I think my parents seized on anything that looked even moderately amusing in the hopes it would keep us occupied! Oddly, we didn't really play checkers, but we all played chess. Hm...

Joan said...

Wow, guys what great stories and memories!

Personally, I think p226's MOM should win a prize.... :-)

Cherie j ((hugs)) on the dollhouse and the other house. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it is to lose everything.

Dianna and Anna C. I think we need to tie a rope around you two to keep you safe! (Says the gal who jigged her face to the pavement outside Bunratty Castle). It's a wonder I still have knee caps.

Alissa, now THAT'S a game when it ends at a soda fountain (I've been craving ice cream all day) and dina...wow, you could earn the money to buy the floats!

Joan said...

Jeanne!

I knew our feathered friend would be in good hands with you but tell us....exactly how does one tuck in a rooster for a nap? Does he get a blankie?

Caren, I love CLUE! Miss Scarlet in the lair with the crop....

:-)

Joan said...

EZ Bake Oven!

I lourved my Easy Bake. Culinary finesse by 100 watt light bulb.

The brownies were pretty good but the pretzels and the candy? Bleach.

That's when I started experimenting with chocolate chip cookies...and scones...and cakes...and...

Trish Milburn said...

I still love board games, but not many people I know or have the opportunity to spend time with do too. I remember the winter of 1977-1978, we had tons and tons of snow. We were out of school for like a month. We were all going stir-crazy at home, and I've never played so much Monopoly in my life. I still like Monopoly though, and I have the National Parks version now. :)

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, Trish, you should try Sequence! It's a game some friends at church turned us on to. The whole family is addicted now!

Joan, you're right, the EZ Bake brownies were the best! Cookies came out pretty well, too, as did the tiny little cakes. But it took FOREVER and I always wanted it to OPEN! I pretty much left that to my sisters and just went straight to Mama's oven. *g*

Pam P said...

Fun post. We had a lot of kids in our neighborhood, most of the girls would play jacks, the boys, shoot marbles, hop-scotch, jump-roping (my sisters was great at double-dutch). Tag and hide-go-seek were popular, and the hula-hoops were lots of fun one year, gave us lots of laughs.

I loved playing with paper-dolls indoors, my nieces today can't even be bothered. We all loved the board games - Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, then later favorites were Clue and Battleship. Another favorite was Caroom, sort of like a miniature pool, shooting round checkers across the board into the net pockets.

flchen1 said...

Caren and Joan, I would have LOVED to have had an EZBake Oven! (That and a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine...)

And Caren, let me know if you get that little non-athletic club together--not sure I'm much good at poetry either, but I'll give it a go! :) (Maybe if it somehow involved chocolate, too...)

Yep, p226, your mom's a goddess!

doglady said...

Good evening all! Joan, you got the shoelace thru the conker with a really big needle of course. I cannot tell you how many of my Mom's big sewing needles we bent or broke doing this! And Anna S I zipped that website off to both of my brothers as soon as I got home! I can't wait to hear what they think. Joan, I had one of those pink and blue bouncy horses too!

p226 are you SURE you aren't a brother I never knew about? My two brothers made my Mom prematurely gray with their ramps and jumps for their bikes!

Joan said...

flchen,

I had a Coca Cola dispenser. You twisted this spout thing in a small bottle of Coke (that's the way they came THEN....NOW their (*)(&%$ collector items Grrr)slid it into the casing and pour Coke into these little minature Coke glasses.....less than a shot glass.