February 20, 2013

Crossword puzzle prompts memories of kids games

In a recent crossword puzzle, the clue was “childhood game.” My husband, Toby, and I started to name all the childhood games we played and had a lot of laughs.

Toby came up with Follow the Leader. He said as a boy, growing up in Schuyler Falls, he and his friends would even play this fun game in the dark.

They climbed to the upper beams of the old grist mill in Schuyler Falls, walking across the beam with only two dim flashlights, one with the leader and one with the guy at the end of the line.

He shakes his head now and admits they could have been killed had they fallen from that height. Did we ever think of the dangers when we were young?

Another game popular in Schuyler Falls in the 1940s was Kick the Can. A variation on Hide and Seek, the person who was “it” had to make sure the people hiding didn’t make it to the can. If they did, you were “it” again. I wouldn’t be good at that game. I hate being “it.”

One of my favorite kid games was Red Rover, Red Rover. I was thrilled when I heard, “Let Susie come over.”

I asked one of my grandchildren if they ever played Red Rover. The confused look was enough to tell me that if it’s not a video game, most kids today haven’t played it.

When I was really young, Duck, Duck, Goose, was a favorite. For the younger set, everyone would sit on the ground, in a circle. The “farmer” would walk around the outside of the circle, tapping each one on the head and say “Duck” until he or she came to someone they wanted to be chased by. Then they would say “Goose,” and that person would have to chase them, trying to tag them before they sat down.

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