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Play

from Gayle

Does anyone remember those evenings on the front porch breaking beans and stringing them to make 'leather britches," peeling little knotty apples to dry them on a screen in the sun? Makes my mouth water now just thinking about fried apple pies and old timey stack cake. Children playing with June and lighting bugs. I remember taking the light part and wearing it for a ring. Oh, the things we did to amuse ourselves. My grandparents, Tilman and Emily Dunn Keck were a very important part of my growing up years. I just wish I had listened closer back then.

Does anyone have any ideas how we can impart this important message to our children, today?



from Jackie

Gayle, the only suggestion I have is just DO IT with your kids...go outside and sit on the porch, shut off the TV and talk. Let the kids play. I live out in the country, and I have to beg and plead with my kids to come in to eat, etc., let alone go to bed. They come in filthy...and oh do I mean filthy.

My kids play a lot like I did when I was growing up, and I really have to bite my tongue to keep from getting on them about being filthy etc. I remember catching lightening bugs, but what I remember better is making mud pies...oh was I an awesome mud pie baker!! My pies had green grass, dry grass, hay, straw, sawdust, rocks, pebbles, sand, leaves and you name it used as special ingredients.

People have just gone away from the "family" way of life and everyone leads their own life from the age of birth now days. TV is more important than family time.

Sooooo until I get that message properly written...I will simply say...spend time with your kids like your parents spent time with you...you say why can't things be like they used to be...well they can....just do it...bring back the old ways.



from Mary Ann

Did you ever sweep the dirt with a broken tree branch and rock line the wall for a play house? You definitely did not walk over the walls, you went to the appropriate door. Or did you grade the dirt to play cars and make roads? Have you put a quilt out in the shade of the house and found the pictures in the clouds in the sky? How simple the days were, but fun. We played together at any age and got along because we were taught to love and respect each other.



from Pat

Yes, yes, yes, Mary Ann...I've done all those things! How about raking and using leaves as the walls of the house? Not as orderly, but they worked. Hopscotch, jacks, hide-n-seek? How many still have their skate keys? I have my skates but the key has been lost...:@( I remember sitting on the porch swing in the summer. My father would sit and brush our (my sis and I) hair in the evening and tell us what it would be like when we grew up and had a family of our own. Things didn't turn out the way I first imagined, but I had a wild imagination *grin*. We sure didn't have the worries that kids do today. Thanks for the memories... :@)



from LaRae

Oh, Mary Ann, such a nice memory! I gathered pine needles and wrapped twine around the tops....made the best playhouse broom! And those playhouses plotted out in the dirt....you must walk to the 'window' to see who was coming to visit!

I've been a quilter since the age of 8, and have always made 'play quilts' for my children and grandchildren to spread out under a shady tree to read and play. I was surprised when my daughter included one of her own childhood play quilts in with her daughter's things on a recent visit. It was hard to believe the little squares came from leftover fabric from her toddler dresses!



from Patti in Alabama

Just wondering if only people from the South remember sitting on Grandma's front porch, eating watermelon and spitting the seeds off the porch, ( when your parents had always told you to eat it at the table like a civilized person)?



from Katherine in Colorado

I remember the porch at our house as a child. In the day it was a good place to take our naps, as it was covered with vines to keep it cool, and as was just mentioned a nice place to gather for cores such as snapping beans, and shelling peas, preparing apples for a pie.

But the most fun was laying in the grass and watching the art work in the clouds, and then at night the wonderful starry creations. To many city lights to see all the night beauty, but do still lay in the grass during the summer, with my grandkids, and giggle, and as my little 3 yr. old grand son says -- we're just watching the world go bye.



from our ListHostess, Shirley

Our neighbors always had a nice garden. I only remember us having one once...maybe Mom got tired of doing all the work?! So...I remember as a child snapping peas and beans with the neighbors, feeding the goats, horse, chickens, guinea hens (Lord, how they screech!!) and other assorted critters.

Time has passed and even though we haven't been neighbors for 30+ years, we've kept in touch. I told the mom recently my happy memories of when she did homemade rootbeer. She was surprised I remembered it. LOL - I remember wondering if the lids would blow off. And helping to wash/sterilize all those jugs!!

We don't have lightning bugs in Washington State :( but I saw them in Kansas when I went there 2 years running in the early 90s for family reunions. The first trip, I went alone. The 2nd time, Mom and my sister went with me (oh, what trip!!!). When we left the nursing home one evening after visiting an elderly cousin, I was in the car and couldn't figure out why Mom and Linda were taking so long getting from the sidewalk to the car.

Looked over, and Linda was pointing at something. Well, there wasn't anything to look at that I could tell... When they finally got into the car, I asked what they'd been looking at. Linda said, lightning bugs. Oh, I replied, maybe that's what I kept seeing here last year. I thought I was dizzy and seeing stars!!! Sheesh...one more blooper for me to live down...



from Della

I remember snapping those beans, not for britches but to eat.(smile) I also remember playing with lightning bugs. The summers I spent with my grandmother will always make me smile. Thanks for helping me remember truly good times



from Glenda

Oh man, you picked some great memories!!! My great aunt and uncle lived "in town" and they had a front porch swing. My legs weren't long enough to reach the ground to help "push," but I remember being fascinated with the perfect rhythm of that swing. We fed birds and tossed nuts to the squirrels that lived in this huge shade tree in the front yard, snapped
beans, ate watermelon and generally watched the world go by!

My great aunt and uncle never had children and I remember spending lots of time with them ... and loving it. My great aunt taught my sister and I to slurp spaghetti like big worms (we could only eat it that way at her house!) My great uncle taught me to fish (with the patience of Job, I might add), and he had a workshop in the basement. I used to spend hours with him "fixing things." They were in their sixties when I was born, and some of my best memories are of time spent with them.

I think back and am amazed at the constant relationship I had with them all through my childhood. I always wanted to stay overnight at their house (and they would let me!). When my uncle was in his 90s he would help me do my chores (had to mow 3 acres with push mower, rake the grass and haul it to my mom's garden) ... and no, it wasn't punishment, it was my regular summer chore.

Now punishment took a different angle: my dad was not a violent man, but he did expect that a child should do as they were told. I can't remember what I did wrong, but I remembered the punishment well enough to never get in that much trouble again. My dad had a "chat" pile (very fine chipped rock/gravel) which he used for various work. For punishment I was to move the chat pile from point "A" to point "B." Eleven wheelbarrows full -- two of which I dumped over because I filled it too full and couldn't push it.

By the time I got the piles moved and told my dad I was finished, I had big plans to stay out of his hair for a while. Well, that's when the real punishment began -- my day wasn't over until I moved the chat pile back to where it was in the first place! He didn't need it moved, but I needed a lesson I wouldn't soon forget!

This page was last updated June 24, 2002.