Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Batteries, Just Fun

Did you ever play with a June bug? That's the bug in the photo. On a walk several weeks ago, the June bugs were swarming along the path I took. Just in one area. I'm on first name basis with this bug and have never really been afraid of it even though it has a hard outer shell and can make a loud buzz sound when it flies. June bugs love berries, so if you've ever picked blackberries out in the field, I'm sure you've encountered a few of these iridescent green bugs. Japanese beetles resemble them, but they're not as large and not nearly as nice a bug since those beetles love eating my roses and June bugs just like over-ripe berries.

Plus you can play with June bugs. Now some of you will probably think this is cruel, but when I was a kid, we'd sometimes tie a string around the June bug and have a bug on a leash. Why we wanted to, I can't say. Well, maybe I can say. We didn't have all those electronic toys to keep us out of trouble. The only thing my dad would buy batteries for were flashlights (not counting vehicle batteries) and you had to have a real need to dispel the darkness to be allowed to use the flashlight. LOL. Then I don't think batteries lasted so good back when I was a kid. Else why would the flashlight go dim every time I got down into the cellar to fetch my mothers a canned jar of tomatoes or beans. Every time!! As you may be guessing, I was terrified that a snake or mouse or perhaps a Twilight Zone monster would be waiting to jump out at me down in that dark and dank cellar. I used my memory of that fear in my Hollyhill books and let Jocie feel the same heebie-jeebies going down into her cellar.

So with no iPhones to ask Siri the meaning of life, only a couple of hours of lame kids' programs every day, and no games on computers of any type - well, no computers of any type - we had to come up with our own entertainment. Guess that's why we tied strings to June bugs and let them buzz. We also used string to make crows' feet and Jacob's ladder by wrapping the string around our hands and put this bit of the string over this finger and that bit over that finger. Sometimes this involved the teeth to slip the string in the right place. Eventually you gave your hands a twist or a flip and there was whatever string marvel you were making. Then there was the trick of making a spinner out of a big button and string. We must have had a lot of string. 

We did have actual games too. We played solitaire with real cards. We drew circles in the dirt and knocked marbles around. Jacks were more my game. I could sit and play Jacks for hours. Now it's almost impossible to find the metal jacks necessary to properly play Jacks. Too big a chance somebody might step on them or something.

Of course, there was always fun waiting outside. Mud pies to make. Grapevines to swing on. Trees to climb. Puddles to stir up with a stick. Lightning bugs and frogs to catch. Creeks to wade in. Woods to explore. Deserted houses with the idea of ghosts lingering to send shivers up our backs. 

And always books and more books.

I don't think I'd exchange any of that for battery powered fun. How about you? Do you remember any of those things? What was fun for you when you were a kid?

Thanks for reading. And if you're in the Frankfort area, you can come see me at the Gathering of Authors this Saturday, August 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Paul Sawyier Library. Lots of authors there to talk to about reading and books.  

7 comments:

  1. Hi Ann, your games to play were many of the ones we did, I am 71 and lived in rural area in Ky. I remember the June bugs, climbing trees,playing jacks,marbles too. when my grandson came for visit I got out marbles for he and his sister to play with and they had no idea how to play it, told their Mom to show them and she says "I dont know" kids today only know the tech stuff and I am afraid their lives will be much changed then ours and I am thinking some of the old fashion stuff ought to be included. Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Sounds like you knew how to have "Kentucky" fun the way I did, Paula. Kids these days do like being plugged in, but sometimes they do enjoy the old games too.

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  2. Ann, I posted earlier,but it didn't take, so I will redo this and see if it goes thru.
    Yes, those were the days-that was quite creative-the games with string! I remember going to the irrigation ditches close to the house,where my dad used to irrigate the crop fields,and watch the little tadpoles swimming,and try to catch them. I didn't play with bugs,though-I was scared of them. A favorite game was playing tire races with my dad's spare tires he kept in the shed.Along with my 2 brothers and sister-we would line up,& at the count of 3,we would move forward with the tire by our side,faster & faster. It was a skill in itself, keeping the tire straight and having to gain speed to keep it from falling,lol. Usually, the one who started leading the others way ahead was the winner!

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    1. Always fun reading your comments, Janie. I have tried keeping an old tire rolling straight, but never had races with them. Isn't it fun how kids will come up with games? It seems to me that these days we're so concerned with protecting our kids from every possible danger that we cheat them out of some innocent fun. And you tried catching tadpoles, but didn't like bugs? I was never all that fond of frogs. LOL.

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    2. Noooo..I don't like frogs, just tadpoles-they were small and cute, unlike bulging eyes frogs that look like they're ready to jump on you, ugh!

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  3. Linda D. McFarlandAugust 27, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Using your imagination--sometimes I think it's a lost art 'til I see my little great-nephews at play. They might have toys that do more but they still make a car noise when they play with their little cars! I do remember metal jacks and you learned early that stepping on them hurt! Also, remembered using lightning bugs flashers for 'engagement' rings--don't even want to remember how we did that. It is fun going down memory lane and remembering the 'good ole days!' I remind me of my grandma! Thanks for your thought provoking blogs! Have a blessed week! Linda M.

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    1. Oh, Linda. We feel old enough when we say we remind us of our Moms. Now you're saying grandma! Of course most grandmas are super special people so maybe it's okay to be like her. :) And I don't want to think about how you made your lightning bug engagement rings either. LOL. We used them for lanterns or thought we could. They were never bright enough. But we never thought of the engagement ring bit. We just tortured them by putting them in jars.

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