GAMES CHILDREN PLAYED

Children in the thirties had energy and imagination left over even after doing a good days work as many of them did, or after doing just a few chores, such as milking the cow, bringing in the stove wood, carrying in water for drinking and bathing, and other things that their parents could think up to keep them occupied and to build character. (And also to help keep the body and soul of the family together).

There were quiet games like checkers and jacks, pick-up-sticks and games that required nothing more than the hands. One such game was a stack of fists made by grasping the thumb of the hand underneath. The person whose fist was on last on top of the stack of hands that were fused with thumb was asked, “Knock it off, or take it off, or have the crows to pick it off? and so the fist was removed by some one or the other method. I am not sure what the object of the game was…aside from keeping children focused on something.

Marbles and jump rope were both good ‘time consumers’ at home and at school. They fell somewhere between passive and active play in energy consumption. Marble players sometimes took the game very seriously and a good ‘taw1 was a special marble worth several ordinary ones. Playing for ‘keeps’ was a permissible thing,(but cards were generally frowned upon as related to gambling).

Active games such as ‘pop-the -whip1 was somewhat rough and in my experience could result in some hurts and bruises, for the child ‘popped off the end of the line’, and for the child holding on tightly, sore muscles resulted. London Bridges & Drop the Handkerchief were more or less considered ‘girls games’, Boys played “mumblepeg” since that involved pocket knives being flipped about on the ground.

Ball games were much the same as today, and girls could play ball if the boys would let them. Blindman’s bluff and Baby Take a Step was everybody’s game, as was Hide and Go Seek, which we called “Hide -n- seek”

One of the nicest things about living in a little house as I did, was being able to play “Annie Over” a game in which sides were chosen and the two groups took up opposite sides for the house. One side yelled “Annie” and the other side, in possession of the ball yelled “Over”, and threw the ball across the house. The person who caught the ball ran around the house as the teams changed sides and tried to hit someone with the ball. If tagged by the ball, that person had to change sides, until one side had all the players, they won of course! It was fun, and I wish I could still run like that.

Written by Bernice Castleberry Alien




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