Sunday, June 29th, 2014


Summer in Maine.
Family visit time.
I revert to my childhood games to entertain grandchildren.

Games were serious business on my street growing up.
There were 40 kids on my block. One block!
There was no adult supervision or intervention ever.
If there was a problem we retreated to the house for a quick cry or complaint and out we went again.

We were experts in self-organizing and decision making and selling an idea.
Games would come and go. There would be a lull and the visioning and selling would begin.  
–Let’s play scientist (which meant pouring water from tin can to tin can which we got from the alley)
No takers?
How about -Kick the Can-
No–better at dusk.
Yeah Spud.
And the game would begin.
We would argue about rules.
Pick teams. 
And, at last, play.
Until interest lagged and we would begin the discussion again. 
-What to Play?-
There would be splinter groups that would wander off and start their own game. -Captain May I?-  And it might become the magnet for others too.
There were apprenticeships in the more complex games. We younger kids were so happy to be given a totally irrelevant, unneeded role just to participate.
I, myself, played out out out field.  I got to trash talk but never saw a baseball come my way.

There was one game we only rarely played. Everyone had to be in the mood.
It was called, -I’m Going Away to Smoke My Pipe and I Won’t Be Back til Saturday Night AND If You Dare Let the Wicked Witch in I’ll Spank You With My Rubber Shoe-  I think I may have made it up. Let’s just say it involved a good mom, a magic bakery, chasing and spanking with an old huge Converse sneaker, a shape shifting witch, lots of scarves for costumes and a passel of 
naughty kids who DID let the witch in.  

I hope you had one magical crazy neighborhood game.
I hope you had play with no adults around.
I hope you learned all the lessons of good play:
Fun, collaboration, getting over hurt, leading, following, creating, happy exhaustion. 


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