Growing up in our rather isolated rural home in southwestern Kansas as a young girl with my brothers and neighborhood friends, we had tons of free time on our hands between school, chores, and scheduled activities. There were only three channels on the television and it was in black and white until the 1972 Summer Olympics when our parental units broke down and bought a color T.V. so we could watch the games in color or, much more likely, so our athletically inclined Dad could watch the games on the Peacock Station.
Some of the silly games we played in our free time included:
- Cops and robbers on bikes all over the neighborhood
- Football in the backyard — watch out for Dad’s tomato plants!
- Basketball in our driveway — long games of HORSE and shirts and skins
- Kick the can in the front yard long past normal “lights out” time in summer
- Tetherball in the side yard
- Schoolhouse– since I was the youngest, I never got to play the teacher. We actually made a dunce hat out of construction paper and tape. That wouldn’t fly today.
- Tag (anywhere and everywhere) and all varieties and forms
- Wrestling (started inside on the dining room rug until we got kicked outside by before mentioned parental units)
- Suicide (mixing edible ingredients in a coffee can and daring each other to eat it or just to SMELL it)
- Gunsmoke (we made a makeshift saloon bar out of an old cot, then mixed watery concoctions with food coloring to make drinks like a “red-eye” or “snake eye” for our guests). We usually got a belly ache after this game.
- And one of my personal favorites was Spaceship especially on a rainy Sunday afternoon upstairs in T.V. room. We would take the rattan couch and side chair that my parents lovingly brought home from their stint in Japan. They spent a couple of years there in the early 1950’s where my second brother, Ed, was born and our dad was in the Air Force. Many years later, we turned this same rattan furniture upside down, lined the underside with cushions that just previously sat on top and we would pretend we were astronauts inside a capsule headed to the moon or better yet, Mars. Just like Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. This was before Sally Ride so these guys were our heroes along with most of the nation in the 1960’s. We would make the roaring sounds of the blast off, shake the chairs like we were buffeting through space, we often crashed, or came too close to the sun, but we had a grand time with our imaginations. When we landed on the moon, we would crawl out from our rattan capsules and moonwalk around the room very slowly (this was before Michael Jackson) before returning to the safety of the lunar module. We would blast off again for home and hope Mom was making homemade chili and cinnamon rolls because using our imagination so vividly makes a kid hungry.
- Lastly, pretending to go to church, but sitting in the balcony, and sneaking out early to go home to play some more. Oh, wait, I didn’t do that but I know some brothers that did. I was virtuous and sat in the downstairs section with our parents. The cookies in the Fellowship Hall were not half bad either. Turn off the TV and the video games and turn on your imagination.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein