Friday, June 17, 2016

"Red Rover, Red Rover. Let _____ come over"

Growing up in the '50s. This all seems very familiar:
.... We were a largely unsupervised horde that played rough games and lived most of our non-school hours out of doors, no matter the weather. We built snow forts in order to wage protracted snowball wars, splashed in puddles in the rain, and threw rocks or played sports until it got too dark to see the various balls.

I’m not saying that abandoning your kid in the woods for punishment is an idea whose time has come, but I am saying that it was not at all unusual for parents to have no idea where the hell we were at any given moment – woods, lake, swamp – and most of us kids survived. ....

.... Nobody, and I mean nobody, was obese. The few who were slightly chubby would appear scrawny today. Of course there were no Gameboys or iPads yet. Many of us didn’t even have television. We got our first one when I was 12.

Most of our amusements then are now close to illegal: Tag, Dodgeball, Crack the Whip, Red Rover, Mumblety-Peg, and the aptly-named Kill the Man with the Ball. Others are just hated by the Left: Cowboys and Indians, Soldier, any game with a gun, real or plastic.

We also policed ourselves fairly well, in games, in decisions about what to play. In disputations, we would often vote and enforce the decision with a chorus of “Majority rules!” There was some deference to the older kids, out of fear mostly, but democracy was a quaint cherished ideal to ’50s children and “Majority rules!” was a magic incantation. Of course it mattered who owned the bat and ball. One option was always to “take your ball and go home,” assuming you wanted to play alone till high school graduation. ....

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