Today’s post is inspired by WordPress’ Daily Post – Life’s A Candy Store
You get to be a 6-year-old kid again for one day and one day only — plan your perfect 24 hours. Where do you go, what do you do, and with whom?
The question got me thinking and I came up with the perfect mashup of childhood memories. All of these memories happened but not when I was 6 years old. All of my childhood friends will also be 6 years old, even though in reality some were older and some probably were not born yet. Here is a glimpse into my childhood.
The perfect day would start at midnight. With the gang of neighborhood kids staying up late watching The Death Curse of Tartu and The Screaming Skull. (Disclaimer – Don’t watch these trailers around youngsters.) The gang of kids includes my sister Nancy, cousins Danny and Tommy, neighbors Bobby, Linda, Lisa, Terry, Steve, Jan, Stevie, Chris, Kerry, Judy, and Holly. After the movies we go to our homes and sleep for a few hours.
Upon wakening my sister Nancy and I jump out of bed and rush downstairs in our footie pj’s for a gargantuan bowl of Captain Crunch cereal. Afterall, kid’s can’t have too much sugar because it is good for growing bodies. 😉
Then we run back upstairs and put on shorts and a top and race each other down the steps, out the backdoor and around to the back of the house. In a few moments the rest of the gang joins us. Our house sits atop a hill and we proceed to lie down and roll down the hill, with our dog Fifi running alongside barking and making sure no one gets hurt. We have so much fun we do it over and over again.
Kids Being Kids
After we are done getting our clothes grass stained, Tommy, Danny and Stevie play in the sandbox making mud pies and building mud castles, Bobby, Jan and Steve swing higher and higher on the swingset, Nancy,Terry and Holly are melting crayons on the grey stone retaining wall and Linda, Lisa and I are climbing the chestnut tree. Fifi remains on guard at the bottom of the hill.
I climb holding a piece of thick, beige rope in my mouth. I throw one end over the branch down to Linda, who takes the round silver saucer sled and threads the rope through one red handle, under the sled and through the other red handle. I then climb down, and we tie both ends together under the sled. Now we have a swing!
Linda, Lisa and I take turns swinging but the swing does not always last as it tips back and forth. We really needed more than one piece of rope but we made due with what we had.
After a morning of vigorous playing in the backyard. Our Moms call us in for lunch (by call I mean yell. No cell phones in my perfect 24 hours.)
Mom offers Nancy, Danny, Tommy and me a selection of sandwiches:
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Butter and Brown Sugar
- Peanut Butter, Lettuce and Mayonnaise
Nancy chooses Peanut Butter and Jelly and I choose the Peanut Butter, Lettuce and Mayonnaise sandwich. We both have Pepsi as Mom is hosting card club and that means Pepsi or 7-Up to drink. (Yeah!) It also means no sleep as the laughter from the 8 ladies will wake us up several times during the night.
After lunch the gang meets up and we all walk to Stop N Go to get dessert – Pixie Sticks and candy bars. We walk about 2 – 3 blocks to and from the store. Since we live in the corner house Mom is sitting in the living room keeping an ever watchful eye out for our gang’s return.
After dessert the boys, Bobby, Stevie, Steve, Danny, Tommy, Chris and Kerry head off in their own direction. Lisa, Linda, Judy and I decide to sit at the white and green picnic table and play school. While Terry and Nancy sit under the chestnut tree and play Barbies.
A little later I go in the house and ask Mom
“What’s for dinner?”
“Liver and onions, with an appetizer of eggs and Spam.”
I respond with
and head out the door. After informing Nancy what is for dinner we decide to take matters into our own hands.
Terry, Lisa, Judy and Linda head to their homes. While I open the backdoor and holler in to Mom:
“Terry, Lisa, Judy, Holly and Linda are heading home. Nancy, Tommy, Danny and I are going to go visit Grandma and Grandpa.”
I let the back door slam as us kids make like a banana and split. We run 4 houses down to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Meanwhile Mom is “speed dialing” her Mom (using a rotary phone) to inform her we are on our way.
The window to the back room is open and we can tell that the tv is on. That means one thing – it’s at least 3 p.m. and they are watching General
Horse Pistol Hospital. The four of us plop down on the floor and finish watching today’s episode with them. Their world stops from 3 – 3:30 p.m. every day to watch the show. (In my perfect 24 hours, it is still a half hour show in black and white.)
After the show Nancy asks them what they are having for dinner. Grandma replies
(Grandma made Chuck Wagon casserole – ground beef, potatoes, onion, cream of mushroom soup, carrots and Velveeta cheese on top – for years but once Purina came out with Chuck Wagon dog food we affectionately named the casserole “Puppy Chow.” Grandma was not pleased.)
So I call Mom from a corded wall phone and ask if we can stay for supper. She says yes. So we enjoy Puppy Chow casserole with our grandparents followed by a bowl of ice cream soup and 2 cookies for dessert. We make ice cream soup by stirring and stirring the ice cream in our bowl until it melts into a soupy like mixture and then dunk the vanilla sandwich cookies in the “soup.”
After chowing down dinner we look out the kitchen window some of the gang are gathering at Jan and Stevie’s house so Nancy, Tommy, Danny and I join them.
We decide to ride bikes. Everyone gets their bike (mine is navy blue and has a sparkly white banana seat with white fringe coming out the handle bar ends.) and we meet at the top of the “C” street hill. One by one we mount up and peddle very fast down the hill.
Once we gain top speed, we coast till we get to where “C” street dead ends into “B” street. Upon arriving at the intersection we make a sharp right and immediately make a sharp left on to lower “C” street and we still have enough momentum to coast to lower “C” streets end. (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” that none of us ever met a car coming across “B” street as we reached the intersection.)
We are riding our bikes barefoot, in my perfect 24 hours as a six year old, and no one is getting their foot caught in the spokes resulting in a trip to the emergency room.
After our bike ride it is time for a rousing game of Kick the Can.Tommy is “IT” and the rest of us hide. My place is in the “alcove” made by the plum trees bordering Grandma and Grandpa’s back yard. Tommy starts to catch the gang members one by one. First Lisa, then Bobby, and Terry. Tommy just catches Bobby and is escorting him back to “jail” when Danny streaks around the corner of the garage and gives the can a good swift kick, freeing everybody from jail. All of a sudden the street lights come on. Oh No! That means one thing. It is dusk and we must all go home.
Mom gives Nancy, Tommy, Danny and I permission to stay out and catch lightening bugs for awhile. We just need to stay in the yard. We do because we know the paddle (without the ball) will be waiting for us if we disobey her. (Yes, in my perfect 24 hours, children get spanked if they disobey their parents.)
It gets too dark for us to be out so Mom and Dad call us in. Time to scrub-a-dub-dub the day’s sweat and dirt down the drain with the help of Mr. Bubble. (Oh my gosh! Not only do they still make Mr. Bubble, they have a lip balm!)
After we’ve had our baths and changed into our PJ’s, Nancy, Danny, Tommy and I decide we want to sleep at Grandma and Grandpa’s as Mom and the other card club ladies are too loud. So the four of us walk down the street and there is Grandpa waiting on the front porch for us. He and Grandma tuck us in. Nancy and I are in the guest bed with Tommy and Danny “camping” on the floor.
Grandma’s flowered comforter keeps Nancy and me warm and cozy and a painting of Jesus praying in Gethsemane hangs above the headboard. It’s as though He is praying for and keeping a watchful eye over the four of us as we drift off to sleep.
So my perfect 24 hours as a 6 year-old comes to an end.
Back to reality.
Back to my widowhood adventures.
Back to my unstable career adventures. (Now-a-days every job IS temporary.)
Writing this post has brought back numerous joy-filled memories, too many to capture in this post. Memories of a time when kids could run the neighborhood under the watchful eye of parents or grandparents as they sat in the front yard socializing with the neighbors. How I miss those fun-loving, carefree days full of adventure when life was lived without fear (or very little of it).
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into my childhood, even though not all of these adventures were lived when I was 6 years-old.
Wishing you joy,