[Bloganuary wants to know. It’s the WordPress blog prompt for January 21, 2022.]
I’d pick a summer day in 1950 when my mother was ten and her brother was eight. They lived in Milwaukee in a middle-class neighborhood about ten blocks from A.O. Smith, a large manufacturing plant.
The sun would shine, the temperature would be 75°, and the breeze would be slight.
I’d go out to play with my mother, her brother, and their friends. We’d run down the sidewalks on our way to Sherman Park or maybe Washington Park. We’d ride the bus at least one way because Washington Park is two-and-a-half miles from their house. At the parks we’d swim, play baseball, and swing. If we saved bus fare, we’d buy a treat at the concession stand.
Maybe we’d stay home and play games of tag through the front yards, up and down the block. Or games of cops and robbers or army, escaping through backyards by climbing fences or slipping through gates. Or games of hide-and-seek, hoping not to be the first one found.
We’d sit on the front stoop of someone’s house and drink a cold lemonade squeezed from lemons and sweetened with sugar.
Refreshed, we’d play hopscotch or jacks or marbles. If someone ran home to grab a section of clothesline, we’d jump rope and chant, “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” or “I’m a Little Dutch Girl” or “I Went Downtown.”
I’d know all the games and songs because an older child teaches a younger child. Ever notice that we don’t learn these from our parents?
We’d call each other by our childhood nicknames, squabble about the rules of games, laugh at our silly antics.
Maybe we’d go home with skinned knees or elbows, wouldn’t matter because we’d spent the day together. We’d eat our dinner and wash the dishes. We’d sit on the floor in front the radio and listen to Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, or The Green Hornet.
If I could travel back in time, I’d pick that warm summer day in 1950 and play with my mother and her brother because Oh, what larks! to play with your mother and your favorite uncle when they were children.