Guest Author - Carolann Stefanco
Times certainly have changed from the walks I took as a kid listening to my transistor radio that received only three stations and playing my old 45's on the record player to dance to. Technology may have surpassed those times countless times over, but I wouldn't change or trade the fun I had growing up in the times of the fifties. Obesity problems and boredom was practically non-existent. Kids were way too active and creative in so many different ways.
During the winter months long walks to the other side of town brought you to the town lake for ice skating. Sledding took place at the river's falls, where the path started near the top of the falls, and stopped just a few feet from the river itself. It took a lot of energy to climb back up that steep hill and sled down over and over again.
Springtime offered opportunities to play hide and seek with friends and neighbors as well as collecting clover flowers to make a necklace chain. A simple blade of crabgrass was thick enough to hold between your thumbs and blow a screeching sound that could be heard from a distance. The magnolia trees had seed pods filled with tiny red seeds, that of which we all were curious about and liked to find them in places on the tree. We picked red berries from the bushes and placed them in pails to count later in the day to see who had found the most. Lucky was the person who also found a four leaf clover in the lawn.
On the side street the kids gathered to play 1-2-3- red light and tag. Someone always brought a laundry rope for several of us to jump in at the same time. We brought along out roller skates and of course carried the skate key around our neck to have handy for tightening our skates. If you were lucky enough to have a pinkie ball you could organize a punch ball game for all to enjoy.
The days of summer were wonderfully long and using your imagination you could make mud pies after a summer rain as well as make "soup" with leaves and twigs and stir it up in the rain barrel. It was fun to cool off in the lawn sprinkler or just simply pick up the garden hose and run the water over your head and body to feel cool in the summer heat. Lolling in the canvas hammock in the shade and reading a good Nancy Drew mystery book certainly made the day. Running down to the corner confectionery store for a chocolate or lemon ice was all that was needed to quench our taste buds.
It was fun to sharpen our Crayola crayons and color the afternoon away and sometimes cut out the Hollywood stars paper dolls, like Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds. Many times we just made our own from cardboard found in the house.
Nighttime was the time to catch those lightning bugs and place them in old pickle jars with lids filled with holes, only to let them escape right back into the night.
Once Fall came around and school was back in session, the days became shorter for outside play. Late afternoon was time for a bike adventure to a nearby field, where there was always a thick rope someone hung from a tree that you could hang onto and swing yourself across a brook. Sometimes a fun walk with a friend on the deserted railroad tracks would take you right through most of the town. If you stepped on a track nail you would get an alphabet letter and you would lose the game if you spelled donkey.
Each season brought new and exciting adventures with family and friends.All the activities helped to keep us healthy physically as well as in mind, heart and spirit. It certainly was a time of good old fashioned, carefree fun and innocence, and most of all childhood happiness.