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Apple, Peaches, Punkin Pie

I was born in the mid 60's so I am lucky to have grown up in the era when kids knew how to be kids. We didn't have video games, cell phones, laptop computers, or electric scooters.  We had sunshine, sweat, dirt, tons of friends, and the only responsibility we had was to make sure we got home before the street lights came on. 

Slowly and predictably, my days filled with fun and laughter gradually came to an end for the most part when I became an adult.  My life consisted of working, paying rent, cleaning, laundry, car payments and being a responsible adult. 

When I was approaching my thirties I got to go back in time, but just for one glorious day.

At this point in my life, I lived with my sister Kimberly who was a single mother, doing her best to raise her son David.  The three of us were a family because David had Mom #1 and then he had me, Mom #2.  He didn't call me "Mom", but always acknowledged me (and still does) as his other parent. 

One summer day when David was about 8 years old, a couple neighborhood boys came over to play.  They played in the house for a while but after a couple hours, I told them to go play outside.  "It's a nice day, Guys.  Why don't you get out and get some fresh air, huh?" I told them, and they but didn't seem thrilled with the idea.  I didn't understand exactly why they didn't want to play outside until after about 30 minutes, I looked through the window and there they were, sitting on the porch and doing absolutely nothing.  Times were a little different than they are now.  Parents weren't as paranoid about letting their kids play outside like they are today.   Nowadays, most parents don't feel comfortable letting their children play without keeping their eyes on them 100% of the time.  But at that time, you could let them have a little freedom as long as they were within earshot.  On this beautiful, sunshiny day, David and his buddies were bored.  Extremely bored.

"Hey Guys, what are you doing?"  "Nothing" David replied.  "We don't have anything to do", one of his friends chimed in.  "Why don't you guys play Hide and Seek or something?" I said trying to sound enthusiastic about the idea.  "We don't know how to play that." David said.  What?!  They didn't know how to play Hide and Seek!  Well, I knew I could fix that.

"Let me get my shoes on and I'll come out and teach you".  I walked into the living room to get my 'tennies' (what we called tennis shoes when I was growing up) and I started to feel excited because I was going to go outside and play!

"Ok, first we have to find out who is going to be 'it'.  C'mere and stand in a circle and everyone stick out one foot.....alright, good"  This was feeling so familiar to me because I must've done this hundreds of times as a kid. As I tapped each one of their feet, I heard myself saying "Occa, Bocca, Soda Crocka, Occa, Bocca, Boo.  In comes Uncle Sam and out goes Y-O-U! 

My finger landed on David's foot.  "You're out David....alright, here we go again.  "My mother and your mother were out hanging clothes.  My mother punched your mother right in the nose..." and I smiled at how it was vividly coming back to me. 

It was determined that I was the first one 'it'.  I told them I would count to 20 and in that time, they had to find the best hiding place they could find.  I said  that the telephone pole on the corner would be base and that's were they needed to try and get back to while I was out looking for them.  "Ok, go hide!" and with big smiles on their faces, the three of them ran off in three different directions and I leaned against the telephone pole, covered my eyes and yelled "One! Two! Three..."  Already I was having a great time. 

When I got to twenty,  I loudly screamed "Apple, Peaches, Punkin Pie.....Who's not ready, hollar I ", to give them a little bit more time.  In the distance I heard one of them shouting back so I yelled it again.  When I didn't get a response, I was off.  I looked under porches, in the hedges, behind parked cars and then I heard running footsteps heading toward home base.  One by one, they found their way back to home base, all of them looking so proud and happy.  I could've easily found them but I knew that would've ruined it for them if I did so I really didn't look that hard.

I also taught them that when they reach home base that they are supposed to yell, "Ollie, Ollie, Oxen Free!" to let it be known that they pulled a fast one and made it home base safely.

This wonderful game went on for hours.  I felt like a kid again.  I was running around the neighborhood until I was almost out of breath, sweating, getting dirty, screaming....I think I even ripped my shirt a little on one of the bushes.  It was awesome!  I couldn't remember the last time I had so much fun.  I wasn't a grown woman that afternoon.  I was 9 years old and all I had to do that day was make it to home base and try not to be 'it'. 

The day ended and the boys went home, filthy dirty and extremely happy.  I looked at myself when I went inside and started to laugh.  I didn't care that I had to pick the dried grass out of my hair, clean under my dirty fingernails and try to get the bright green grass stain out of pants.  It was so worth it.

After that fantastic day, the cherry on the cake happened two days later.  David's buddies rang the doorbell and when David answered, I heard them say "Can you and Aunt Joyce come out and play?". 





joyceluvsjames joyceluvsjames 46-50, F 5 Responses Jul 30, 2012

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Hi Joyce,<br />
<br />
This story brings back just wonderful memories. I think, anyone reading this story, who has kids should take a hint and take away the ipods, PC's, cell phones, Androids, etc. for at least a day and teach their kids to have fun outside. I remember, back in the 40's and 50's we played from morning till night. Mom would have to call us home to eat lunch or dinner. We'd get up in the morning, do the few chores we had to do and out the door we'd go. All the neighborhood kids played together from the youngest to the oldest. In summer, we'd swin in the creek, play softball, go hiking in the woods; there always was a swing on a big tree. (the big boys would take a long bull rope tied to one of the biggest limbs, make a wooden seat and we had a great swing. Everybody would take a turn on the swing. There were no fat kids in the neighborhood--we played so hard that fat just wouldn't adhere to our bodies (LOL)<br />
<br />
In the evenings, we gathered at a telephone poll in the middle of our little valley and played hide & seek, tin can alley, release the Belgium, and charades. The grownups would all be sitting out on their porches and nobody ever complained that we were making too much noise. <br />
<br />
In the winter, we ice skated on the frozen creek, did sled ridding on the biggest hill, built snowmen, made angels in the snow, had snowball fights and the cold never made us sick. <br />
<br />
Those were the good old days. Thanks for the memories (I sang this part) LOL Tell me, who sang this at the end of his show--a little trivia for the day????

Thank you so much for the reply/story, Mommy! And, I agree with you about parents today taking their kids outside and teaching them how to play! It's a shame that it needs to be taught actually. I don't remember anyone ever having to teach me how to play....but I wasn't stuck up under a computer or video game either. Fresh air People! It's good for you!

Another moving story. I like the vicarious way you write them! Keep up the great work :)

If I recall correctly, I played that with you, Ms. Joyce. Beautifully written. You captured the spirit of my childhood with extreme precision. :)

Thank you! Hey, I'm not sure who this is. Sorry...lol

I lived 2 streets up from you, and my last name sounds like that of a large, mean, woodland animal.

Awwww Man! A riddle? Seriously?....lol. Ummmmm, let's see....2 streets up...that would be 10th Ave if we're talking ducktown....large, mean, woodland animal?....bear? Is this Janet?

You got it! You're very good at riddles! :)

Lovely story Joyce. The body ages, the spirit does not.

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That's why we have kids! lol So we can continue doing the things we used to back in the day and maybe even add on new twists!

Oh to be a child again........even if only for a day. Good story Joyce!