We seniors have so many great memories from our childhood. Sure, times were tough then and we didn't have everything, but we made do with the things we had. Personally, I think it made us stronger and more appreciate of what we have now. I know that there are those of you that will disagree with me and that's fine.
You ladies will remember trying on your mother's high-heeled shoes and then trying to walk in them without falling down. We really just shuffled our feet across the floor in those much too large shoes, but we felt so very grown up when we did it. I have no idea if boys tried on their father's shoes and tried walking in them because I had no brothers.
We did have so much fun playing our different games and most of them were done outside. One of my favorites was jacks, and figuring out how to pick up the newly required amount of them each time you bounced the ball. You had to bounce the ball a little higher, but not too high or you'd lose control of it. We never had fingernail polish on our nails back then, for that game alone would have wore it all off on the sidewalk.
Pickup sticks, marbles, checkers, hopscotch, tag, hide-and-go seek, croquet, Mother May I, Old Maid and Go Fish were just some of the games we played over and over again. We had no need for batteries or electricity back then as none of our games needed them.
I can remember spending hours outside playing with my friends. About the only rule for us was we had to come home when the streetlights came on. If there was a creek anywhere near where you lived, then you were in heaven. You could capture tadpoles in a jar and take them home to watch them grow into frogs.
We would follow the tracks of a raccoon left in the mud and try to find them, but we never did. I don't think we ever thought about what we'd do if we did found one; it was the chase that was exciting for us.
There were also lots of tiny fish in there to watch as they flashed through the stream like little lightning blots. I'm not sure what they were now, but I think they were mosquito fish.
We did have lots of mosquitoes in Minnesota and some were so big they needed landing lights.
Vacant lots were another adventurous place for us to play in. Full of weeds and insects of all kinds and types that we could investigate. We could bring some of the caterpillars home in a jar full of whatever weed they were on. Then we'd keep feeding them that type of weed until they turned into a pupa. After that, it was the long wait for them to emerge as a butterfly or moth.
Butterfly was a word that mystified me as a child because it wasn't a fly and had nothing to do with butter. I always thought they should have been called a fluttery, for that's how they moved around. Perhaps other children had the same idea about that.
If you lived somewhere near a railroad track, that provided more fun. You could run as fast as you could through the field toward the train and wave at the engineer. They would always wave back to you, and for some unknown reason, that was a lot of fun.
Sliding down a grassy hill in a big cardboard box was another thing that kept us in giggles.
We used cardboard boxes for a multitude of things; they could become cars, forts, castles or whatever our imagination could think of.
It's a shame that so many of today's children never have the opportunity to enjoy the many things we seniors did as children.
A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.