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Friday, April 10, 2015



When watching my Pa. Crankettes each week, I am amazed and a little jealous of all the neat toys they have.  Then I realize we had many of these same toys.

The Crankettes have “Nerf” guns.  These shoot out little Nerf bullets at warp speed, yet they are still harmless.  We had BB guns.  They were much cooler, but not nearly as harmless.  I don’t recall anyone ever having his eye shot out though.  I think the danger was made clear and it taught us a little about responsibility.  Of course, being kids, we did have to try out just how dangerous the BB gun could be, and everyone took at least one hit, usually in the rump, never the face.  Yes it friggin hurt a lot!

You couldn’t use the BB gun inside so we had our own devices.  We fired paper wads out of a straw, we twisted strips of paper into darts and inserted them into rolled up magazines to create very effective blow guns.  Outside, sans BB gun, we knew how to twist the stem of a common weed into a “weed gun” that would fire the weed seedpod. It was very effective at close up range.

The Crankettes have a little bowling game with tiny bowling pins and a tiny bowling ball.  We used ten flat bottomed erasers and a large marble.

The Crankettes have a really nice bow and arrow set that fires Nerf like arrows.  We used wire hangers as our bow, and the cardboard inserts on the hanger as our arrows.

The Crankettes have fancy store bought glider planes.  We could take a piece of paper and fold it into our own world class glider.

The Crankettes have board games.  We had them also, but we had several of today’s popular board games long before Parker Brothers “Invented” them.  Five die, paper, pencil, and rules handed down from Aunt Betts and we had “Yahtzee” (actually called “yaghtsea” as it was a game invented by sailors and played to pass the time on boats, most likely for a dollar or two.)  It only took a piece of paper and a pencil to play “Hangman.” “Battleship” required graph paper and pencils.  “Tic Tac Toe” are you kidding me?  They actually sell “Tic Tac Toe” board games?

We didn’t have Nerf Basketball, but we could bend a wire hanger into a hoop, hang an old tee shirt on it as a net, jam it into our closet door, and with a rolled-up pair of socks as a ball we had some pretty intense in-home basketball games.

We didn’t have on-demand cartoons, computer games, fancy sleds, and skateboards, but we did have comic books, playing cards, baseball trading cards, Flexible Flyer sleds, and crappy clamp-to-your-shoes metal roller skates.

We had lots of time to sometimes just do nothing, but we were never bored.  If you were bored, mom had a list of interesting chores to keep you busy.

Uncle Skip posted about an anniversary yesterday and I realized that yesterday was my fourth blogiversary.  This was my very first post. was no explanation of who I was or why I was blogging, I just jumped right in.  I still feel no need to explain.


  1. "Cranky Old Man" has been included in our Sites To See #430. Be assured that we hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

  2. I don't recall ever being bored as a child. i had the run of the town as long as I was home when the sun went down, I had a bike, a beach, a whole library at my disposal. and the very wide median strip diving the road had plenty of climbable trees.
    As for paper planes... my brother could fold any type of paper and fly it the length of our hallway. I would copy every fold and my plane would crash within six inches of leaving my hand. Apparently it's all in the wrist, this flying business.

  3. I would play by myself for hours. That's what has amazed me about kids...they always seem to want to be entertained these days. But we didn't have a TV in our bedrooms back then and no smartphones. However--around the age of 10, I got a TV and stereo in my room and I think I changed a lot. I stopped being able to entertain myself and became hooked on constant visual/audio stimulation. To this day, I can't work without streaming video on my laptop beside the working browser window I have open.

  4. We built clubhouses, rode bikes, and tons of other things. It's one reason i sent my kids out to play so much.

  5. I always love these posts because they bring me right back where I started from - and that was a good place! I understand that sewing is a dying art today. Who needs to sew when imports from China provide a cheap wardrobe (for ourselves and our dollies) anytime we want one? I learned to sew (well) from a pile of scraps and mom's thread box because that was the only way my sisters and I would have new doll clothes.
    And LOL - at today's packaged "games" that really just require pencil and paper! I also laugh at the "craft kits" that offer precisely measured yarn lengths and illustrated instructions on exactly where to place them to "create" an "original" collage. Mom handed us packs of construction paper, glue and pairs of kiddie scissors that kept us busy for hours!

  6. loved this. what we could do with a few simple things and our imagination... tic tac toe, hangman, concentration (with a deck of cards), picture puzzles, and just plain swinging under the trees, running in the fields. :)

    happy 4 years! and i did my post today with you in mind as i knew you'd like it!

  7. Yep, we had more dangerous toys back in the day and I don't remember anyone losing an eye either. I love these walks down memory lane.

    Have a fabulous day Cranky. :)

  8. Thanks for the link-up.
    I'm not sure it's necessary to explain, except that it helps fill the space...
    You know... prolixity and circumlocution.

  9. Happy Anniversary. Long may you Blog. Yeah, kids can always find a way to entertain themselves. And those who sell to parents have also found ways to get their money.

  10. Good for you for jumping on the blog wagon 4 years ago! Happy blog anniversary! It looks like they just sophisticated the toys you guys had growing up and charged an arm and a leg for them!


  11. Congratulations on four years blogging - that's a lot of posts.

    And thanks for the memories. I was never bored as a child and we didn't have TV for many of those years and no kids close by for me to play with. I had a wide selection of dolls, cardboard boxes, clay, a bike and a tree. Sometimes I think we're all a bunch of introverts in these blogs and comments :) And yes, I've looked in amazement at the TicTacToe games on the store shelf, too!

    1. And books! Forgot the most important thing!

  12. Many of today's adults played with--I mean BY--themselves as children!!

  13. Oh the memories. It's always amazing that we all survived our childhood since we didn't have the government to look out for us. But what fun we had.

  14. To this day I can close my eyes and hear my mother say, "You're bored? I can find something for you to do!"

  15. "All I had was a stick." :( Just kidding, but we did have fewer toys and I'm pretty sure we appreciated them more. I had one toy called imagination; it was the best!

  16. I had three siblings and lots of neighbor friends and the area had few fences so we played together all the time. Until one year for whatever reason everyone put a fence up. Hmmmm .... maybe that was because me and my siblings and the neighborhood kids ran roughshod for ten years through everyone's yarrds.

  17. On a rainy day, Mom got out the card table, and draped a sheet over it. Instant tent. When we got tired of that, we grabbed a pan lid with a round handle, and two folding chairs, and made ourselves a camper to drive across country while still in our living room.

  18. Ah, the good olde days... Funny thing is, my brother did lose an eye playing with a neighbor kid who had a hammer and the two of them were nailing something into a wooden board. My granddaughters still play with blanket forts, and I for one am glad I have a smart phone and a TV in my bedroom. :-)

    Fun memories!

  19. You're speaking my language here---this is the way I grew up, too. We had to use our imaginations with our toys because they were not electronic things that talked and walked. Nowadays kids don't need to THINK. The work is already done for them and the imagination has been taken away.


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