We’re watching To Kill A Mockingbird this week as an antidote to testing. One of the many reasons, I love the book and its movie adaptation (and there are indeed many) is that its young protagonists spend their free time playing outside, acting out stories from weekly serials and comic books. Though they do border at times on being stalkers, they remind me so much of my own childhood. Sure we had our football, hide and seek, flashlight tag and the like, but we had imaginative play too.
Just like Dill came to visit every summer, my next door neighbors had cousins who came to stay. Robin was a few years younger than me, but we got long famously. We used to pretend to be two outlaws, planning a bank heist in the Old West. Her name was Shorty, but I don’t remember what mine was. I do remember “smoking” candy cigarettes and walking around bow-legged a lot. There was also a period where Robin, my sister and I acted out Starsky and Hutch, but my memories are much hazier of this.
Even when no one was around, we still managed to have fun. My brother, sister, and I used to play restaurant fairly often. Our cooking skills were quite limited, so patrons usually ordered grilled cheese, hamburgers, toast, cereal, or PB and J. We took turns running the restaurant. Whoever was waitstaff manned the “grill” as well. The others alternated between being a Russian diner who wore a fur hat that used to be my grandmother’s and a customer who ran out on the bill. This required an elaborate chase scene throughout the house before we all sat down to eat.
We also used to play communion until my parents caught on, complete with wafers made from Wonder bread and veils fashioned out of slips. Once my parents put the kibosh on that, I’m sure we resorted to making more Blood Demon horror movies in the woods behind our house. My oldest brother always had a camera in his hand. He’s the one who captured the rest of us in the photo below in a quieter moment without any fake blood to be found.
Of course, we also played Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Clue, and any other board game we could get our hands on, but our fondest memories involve Madame Bushka, running through the scrub pines, and each other.
I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. Won’t you join me?