The youth of today have technologies that keep them indoors-video games, computers, HD television and other innovative activities. Cell phones make the internet available at any locality.
The generation before the electronic revolution had to derive their own entertainment. I used my imagination to invent beguiling forms of amusement. A stick with a tin can on top was my microphone. Many hours were spent singing to packed audiences at the Grand Ole Opry.
An old desk placed under pine trees in the corner of the yard served as Perry Mason’s office. Perry Mason was a favorite radio show. My most liked story was the detective falling in love with the accused. Of course, Perry Mason exonerated the defendant. How many of you remember “Yours Truly Johnny Dollar”, another radio detective?
Playing baseball with a neighborhood boy, Terry, was always a challenge. The bases were marked in my side yard. Terry had imaginary players. How can you tag or out-run an imaginary player?
At school, I played marbles with all the boys. A little circle was drawn in the dirt surrounded by a much bigger circle. The marbles were placed within the smaller circle. If the shooter got the marble out of the big circle, it was his/hers to keep. Finally, no one was brave enough to play marbles with me. I had all the marbles. A few trips to the principal’s office did not upset me. Playing marbles was a minor offense compared to jumping out a classroom window to retrieve a football. I have a large collection of marbles from the 50’s souvenirs from marble shooting days.
Woods and gullies surrounded my house. Many hours were spent building huts and hideouts in a gully. Limbs, sticks and pine straw was used for the roof. With stick guns we played pirates, war, and Cowboys and Indians. I also had cap pistols, BB guns and a .410 shotgun. I started staying in the woods with the .410 at probably 13 years of age. I jumped a small creek one day discharging the gun. I shot a few rabbits and snakes. Once I shot a rat snake in the corncrib disappointing my father.
A one-horse wagon pulled by an old grey mare named Sally was our transportation to church during revivals. Sally trotted home while the watermelons stolen on the way to church were devoured. A few watermelons weren’t missed.
Another prank was placing a purse in the road with a sting attached. A car would stop with the driver reaching for the purse as the purse was snatched back to the red clay bank.
I walked three miles (one way) on Saturdays to see Roy Rogers and Gene Autry ride the Silver Screen. Popcorn and ticket to the movie was ten cents. A patron could sit and watch the movie many times until the theater locked for the day.
My generation is now in their 70’s and 80’s. I believe we have made a difference in the world because we invented our own games and were survivors while many of our parents worked to earn a meager living during the depression and world wars.
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