It was about a time not about me or any other individual. Street Games were not only a form of recreation but a good way to learn to get along with others. A trait we needed and used for the rest of our lives. If you wanted to play you had to agree to obey a set of rules laid down by yourself or by earlier generations. If you were not willing to get along you either got beat – up or you did not have anyone to play with.
Street games with street rules were unique in that "Parents" were no where to be found. A group of kids would gather together. Hang around for awhile and then decide to, "Lets play mumbley peg". No parents were asked if it was OK. Or, if we could. Parents were invisible (just like girls after sundown). How in the world did we ever know what to do without parental advice and participation? And yet most of us never went to jail. That's because you always knew who was at home.
So, off to play mumbley peg. If you did not have a pen knife with you, you headed home and got yours. Where they ever came from I do not know. But, somehow we had a penknife. 4 -5 of us would gather together and play. You can Google mumbley peg and catch up on an idea of the game. Kind of an elimination game, when you finally could not do one of the knife tricks you were gone, out! No arguing, fussing or getting mad, you were just out.
Mumbley peg, followed marbles which followed kite flying which followed water guns, which was sandwiched somewhere between yo-yo's. It was an entertainment cycle. You knew what time of year it was by what all the gang was doing. And, it was as predictable as the sunrise. Where did we get away from being kids who were participants instead of spectators.
Maybe it was the advent of TV. We had no reason at all to stay in the house. None. As soon as we got up if school was not scheduled we got dressed (OH, Those Button Flies), ate breakfast, got cleaned up and hit the streets. Most of the time with "Your buttons undone, button it"). Maybe if it was raining or snowing bad we had to wait until it stopped. But in the summer time – out the door we went. Heck, radio was not any fun and comic books were for rainy days or nights, so most of our time was spent outside with other kids. No Parent. How did we ever grow up fight and win a major war and put a man on the moon with out parents telling us how or what to play? I feel lucky having grown up with out the TV. Let me tell you why.
1. My life (and my wife's of 49+ years) has turned out like a beautiful dream come true. Because we went to work every day and made money some where. And, we both came from poor neighborhoods with hardworking poor parents
2. We have raised two self sufficient Men, who are raising their families.
3. I learned a trait of finding something to do when there was not anything to do!
4. Self dependency – figure it out.
5. And, being a spectator was not as much fun as doing anything.
I do not believe you can learn to have fun. You have had to learn it when you were 2 – 3 and keep it. The Street Games were a wonderful lesson in life. Let me say again it was not about me it was a special time.