Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Games We Played

by Patricia Bradley

I'm working on my second book in the Memphis Cold Case series and my heroine, Kelsey, discovered a croquet set in a shed from her childhood home. So of course, the hero--Brad--challenges her to a game. 

I don't know about you, but it's been umpteen years since I played a game of croquet. But YouTube to the rescue!

And before long Brad and Kelsey were engaging in a hotly contested game of croquet. 

So what happened to croquet? And some of the other games we played? 

Like Hopscotch. 

And Jump Rope?
Or Kick the can, for that matter. 
I asked a couple of kids at church about Kick the Can. They looked at me like I'd lost my mind and asked, "Why would you kick a can?"
I started to explain that it was a game I played outside when I was their age, but I gave up when they rolled their eyes. Then, it dawned on me. Kids don't play outside unless it's organized sports. And that got me to thinking about other games, sayings, and not only games but things that we used, like a dial phone. Here's a list:
  • Sandlot baseball  - a ragtag group of neighborhood kids choose sides and find a vacant lot and play baseball.
  • Cowboys and Indians (I was always an Indian) And in the same vein, sheriffs and bank robbers. I bet I ran a thousand miles every summer, riding my stick horse...or just pretending my legs were horses. Whoever was the robber went in the house and got one of their daddy's handkerchiefs to fold in a triangle and tie around their face.
  • Rolling down the window. Kid's nowadays have automatic windows rather than the crank ones I grew up with.
  • Double Dutch..
  • Riding in a car without a seatbelt. I remember stretching out in the floorboard or on the backseat  or standing in the middle on the hump in the floorboard. I even remember standing up in the back of a pickup as it breezed down the road. Maybe somethings are better now...or at least safer.
  • Watching the radio. Just like it was a television, only there was no picture.
  • Leaving the house after breakfast and coming home at noon just long enough to wolf down a sandwich and then go back outside until my mom yelled it was time for supper. And then going back outside to play kick-the-can or tag or hide-n-seek or catch lightening bugs.
  • Dialing a phone...or being on a party line. I can remember on Sunday afternoon listening in while some of the old ladies talked. I bet they were all of thirty years old. So how about you?
 Can you add to the list of things kids don't do anymore? Or we don't do, for that matter?


  1. I remember making forts in the tall grass out in open smashing down the grass. I also rode my bike and roller skated without safety gear...a lot of bumps and scratches.

  2. And we lived to tell about it, Debbie! Sometimes I think we safetied fun out of our children's lives. Of course we must keep them safe, but really, don't we want our kids to experience things like climbing trees?

  3. Oh my! The memories that started surfacing with this - - Whitewash painting the picket fence and our reward afterwards to go swimming in the creek (sometimes skinny dipping) - going to the A&W drive-in for a rootbeer float - - playing with the new kids (goat kids) and spring calves - - going to the county fair - - horseback riding for hours & hours (we were suppose to be rounding up strays - but....) and at night gathering lightening bugs in a mason jar (and we just KNEW if we got enough of them we'd have a kid version of a kerosene lamp - lol) - - as you can see my memories were of life on a ranch/farm - - pretty good memories!!

  4. I totally forgot about catching lightening bugs! Great memories, Pam!