Today I want to remind you of an oldie but a goodie. By oldie, I mean the book is not terribly old, but the author sure is. I'm talking about a book I wrote a few years ago about growing up in Vermont in the 1940s. I would say in a small town in Vermont, but they’re all small towns. This town happens to be Springfield, a quarter of the way up the state. Population ten thousand during the war years because of all the machine shops, and eight thousand by the time we left Springfield to move to Connecticut, in 1954.
An odd title? Yes. It refers to a trick my sister played on me when I was around ten and she was twelve. We were walking down an enormous hill to get to Main Street (probably to go to the library) and she said to me, “Do you want to play a game?”
Well, to have my big sister want to do something with me was a big deal, so I said, “Yes!”
She said, “Close your eyes.” I closed my eyes. She said, “Open your mouth.” I opened my mouth.
Then I said, “Yuk!!” I had a tree worm in my mouth. She had seen it hanging from a tree ahead of us and decided it would be fun to “play a game” with me.
All that aside, it would appear that we lived a very abnormal life. We were happy, well adjusted, had two parents that did fun things with us; we grew up with a good set of values and knowing we were loved. To hear people talk today, that is not the norm.
I was born in 1940, during the Depression, but before World War II. I remember ration books and trucks pulling into town carrying sugar and flour and all the housewives rushing to get their allotment before the goods ran out. I was brought up, for the first ten years, without television. Horror of horrors! The four of us sat around the living room at night and listened to radio shows. Saturday morning, my sister and I curled up on the floor in front of the radio, our jammies on and a cup of hot chocolate in our hands, and listened to Let’s Pretend. In the afternoon, she and I might walk down to the Ideal Theater to watch a Roy Rogers movie, or a musical, along with Movietone News, sports, and a serial.
Did we have computers, cell phones, DVDs, Gameboys, iPhones or iPads? No. We made our own fun and weren’t wired into anything. We were free to let our imaginations go wild and take us anywhere we wanted to go, be it outer space, an underwater kingdom, or anywhere in between. That my friends, is how childhood should be lived. In my humble opinion.
Quote of the Day: This little world of childhood with its familiar surroundings is a model of the greater world. Carl Gustav Jung