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Old-Fashioned Fun

 
Old-Fashioned Fun

 

When we were kids, summers seemed to stretch out forever, like the taffy we pulled or like the distance to the peaks of the hazy mountains we call home. There was so much fun to be had in cricks and mud puddles, on crawdad hunts or special-ops Hide-and-Seek missions. Whatever we played, we played hard until Dark Thirty … or when mom called us in. For many of us, in those times that we remember as the good old days, the world was our playground—outside was its own resort, the living room was a fort, and when we got together to play … watch out, world.  

Imagination and the one mother we all shared, necessity, had us inventing games, playing old-fashioned favorites that were simple, complex, and as vivid and wild and wonderful as our minds wished. Some of the best memories we have are of those good old days, simpler times, great laughter, fun with friends and family-- you know, the good stuff that is forever captured in our hearts and minds. We wanted to hear about everyone's best old-fashioned fun memories and set about asking around the water cooler, what did you do for fun as a kid? We took an unscientific survey at the home office and Valle Crucis stores to learn more about how we spent our summers growing up. The results are shared here. We hope you enjoy hearing about them as much as we enjoyed living - and re-living - them.   

Faye, Home Office, shared how much she loved Freeze tag, hide ’n seek, and “just loved to ride bikes and visit older neighbors. “ She isn’t alone in that sentiment. Many of us remember sitting on porches with the neighbors, watching time trickle by with the sun’s journey across the sky. Even then, it was still time to play. Many would enjoy “Hide and Go Seek at night with flashlights,” says Bethany, Home Office. Some of us can add to that our nightly lightning bug brigades that headed out to capture such beauty and magic in Mom or Granny’s Mason jars.  

In the daylight hours, some kids could play “Kick the Can” for a whole day. Rebekah, Home Office, recalls, “My uncle and family would come down from Michigan. We would get together, eat way too much homemade spaghetti and ice cream sundaes--and my uncle would bring Vernor’s Ginger Ale for ice cream floats. Then we would play kick the can until way after dark.  Some of my best memories!!” There are others who remember playing that. Jean, Valle Crucis, also loved Kick the Can.  She fondly remembered another game that was like "kickball in the street at a T -intersection"  where kids would yell "car, car C A R stick your head in a jelly jar" when a car "dared to interrupt" their play. 

There were plenty of yard games too. Suzanne, Home Office, said her favorite thing to play was "Badminton. You can bash it really good with a tennis racket instead of the little one." Joelle, Home Office, offered a glimpse of a game that sounds like so much fun. "My favorite neighborhood game was Sardines. This is a game where one person hides and everyone else playing closes their eyes while counting to a given number. After opening their eyes, they go on the hunt to find this one person. While searching, you don’t want anyone following you because once you have found this person, you have to hide with them. The hardest part is staying quiet as more and more people gather into what is usually a tight space (hence the name 'Sardines'). We would get so tickled when we would see someone walk right by and not suspect a thing!" 

And Greta, Home Office, told us that her favorite childhood game was "jump through the lawn sprinkler. It was like a dare thing." Seems like a lot of us got up to a few daring good times. Many of these times speak to the eras and the culture and climate. "A child of the 60’s, we played 'war,'" said Mary, Valle Crucis. She noted that the game reflects a sad part of the past, but added that she had 14 Barbie dolls to have good old pretend fun with. 

Playing pretend was something we all have in common. Some played "School," pretended to be moms and dads, race car drivers, famous actresses, etc. Anna, Home Office, and her friends powered their play with imagination and played "pretend restaurant." Anna says, "We set up our own 'Kojays' at the horseshoe pit, and everyone in our camp would have a different job. We would make sand/dirt patties and have make believe tables to wait on. Everyone’s imagination ran wild, and it literally felt like we were running our own REAL restaurant! We would all meet at 'Kojays' and start our work every day during free time while waiting for our parents to pick us up." (Kojay's was a cute coffee shop with a funky vibe located in Downtown Blowing Rock. Unfortunately, it's closed now.)

Lisa, Home Office, fondly recalls a simpler time, "As a young child, I loved playing Mother May I in my Granny’s driveway-- it was always fun. It never failed that someone forgot to ask permission, and it always ended in laughter."  Laughter and competition were the themes of Tracy's, Home Office, memories too. "You’ll be shocked to know that my family was pretty competitive," she said. "My sister and I organized UNO tournaments for the neighborhood.  We would play on my Mother’s fancy glass-top living room coffee table--I’m glad we weren’t playing Slap Jacks!"

With summer here, we think you'll love hearing about the water game Ryan, Home Office, and his friends played. Ryan told us it's called "Greased Watermelon." To play, Ryan shares, "have two teams on each side of the deep end of the pool. A greased watermelon is dropped into the middle of the deep end, triggering both teams to dive into the pool. The objective of the game is to get the watermelon to the other side of the pool. Typically, the watermelon has to exit the water and land on the pool deck. It was pretty raucous even for the 90s. Lots of dunking, getting pulled under, kicks and rips, etc. Made us great swimmers though.  We played it every Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekend at the local pool."

All these memories have a lot in common-- imagination, family, friends, laughs, and good old-fashioned fun, the kind we encourage you to go out and have again for the first time! Happy Summertime!