I remember as a child growing up in San Marcos, California, that we improvised greatly when it came to keeping ourselves busy during weekends. We built forts out of cardboard, horses out of sticks, and a sheriff’s posse out of imagination. If we were lucky we had Roy Rogers’ cap pistols and if we were real lucky we had caps. Once the caps ran out (Mom and Dad were reluctant to buy more), we were happy to make the sounds “bang, bang, you’re dead!”
We didn’t have TV until we were ten, but we did have radio and my twin brother and I would get under the blanket when we were supposed to be sleeping and listen to The Shadow, Inter-sanctum, Amos and Andy and Fibber Magee and Molly…just to name a few. Even when we did have TV, the only time we would watch it was after we came home from school during the week or when it was a rainy weekend. Otherwise, we wanted to be outside where the fun was. Besides, the picture was black and white, fuzzy and we were always climbing up on the roof to adjust the antenna.
There was a neat fishing hole within walking distance of our house and we cleaned fresh bluegill and bass for Mom to cook. When we got older and could have .22 rifles, we would go bullfrog hunting at night in what is now Lake San Marcos. Mom would cook up the legs for us until we had the bright idea to put the skins in the garbage disposal. Mom went to use it and there was a malfunction; she reached down into the sink and pulled out a handful of frog skins with feet attached. You could hear her scream all the way to Escondido!
The only downside was that we had a little sister that we were forced to play with. The upside was that she was a tomboy and could play cowboys and Indians with the best of them. I don’t remember her ever playing with dolls; she did like to play with our Siamese cat Toto. She would drag that poor cat around like a rag muffin along with her little blanket while playing whatever game we had invented that might shake her from us long enough to get away so we could sneak up and scare her and the cat senseless. Mom would get after us for that little stunt…it was a good thing Dad was working or he would have tanned our hides for scaring little miss perfect.
We always looked forward to the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. Mom would load us and some neighbor kids up in the station wagon and away we would go for an exciting day of fun. It even got better when Disneyland opened in Anaheim. Once a year we would go for the most exciting day any kid could ask for. Mom and Dad would also take us to the drive-in theater in Escondido or sometimes in Vista. I always loved the two cartoons they showed between movies while I was munching on popcorn and drinking soda. There was one more thing that was beyond exciting and that was when we would spend the day at the beach! We couldn’t wait to blow up our air mattresses and ride the waves into shore. I am sure this was the precursor to brother and I becoming surfers later in life.
I know…I worry too much, but wouldn’t it be great if today’s children could understand what fun we had growing up without techno toys, fast food and the Internet? The girls had hopscotch and jacks, while the guys had marbles with agate shooters that could keep us occupied for hours.
We didn’t want to be inside unless it was raining and then we would look out the windows praying it would go away so we could play outside.
I guess I feel sorry for kids today, but the reality of it is that they don’t miss what they never knew. They are living today and it is all they have. Someday one of them might write a blog about when they were children and how they worry about the younger generation. Lord only knows what they will be playing with by then….
I’m just saying,