I saw this picture on Facebook the other day, and while I’m not much for those “LIKE if you remember this!” Facebook things, it really did bring back a bucketload – or should I say an armload? – of happy memories. I hope it does for you too.
Do kids still play Red Rover in the schoolyard, do you suppose?
Man, we played a lot of Red Rover when I was a pupil at Madoc Township Public School between 1966 and 1971, when I was growing up here at the Manse in Queensborough. (That was right around the dawn of time, I realize.)
Even though I was absolutely terrible at the game – I was small for my age, and hardly ever able to break through the clasped arms of the opposing team, or to keep members of the opposing team from breaking through my arm clasped with someone else’s – I always thought it was fun. Because I was so terrible at breaking through the barricade of arms, I got “called over” a lot – as “Kathy,” which is what people called me way back then. I didn’t mind the calling over. I always tried hard, and sometimes I actually did break through, which was thrilling; you’d trot back to your own team feeling very chuffed. And if I didn’t succeed (which was most of the time), I cheerfully joined the other team.
Seeing the photo on Facebook reminded me not just of Red Rover, but of the other games we used to play in our gorgeously expansive playground (several farm fields’ worth) at what everyone referred to as “the Township School.” It reminded me of Field Day back in the mid-’60s, before Field Day got overly organized and turned into Track and Field Day with hurdles and the high jump and the standing long jump and the hundred-yard dash and whatnot. On those earlier, less-structured Field Days – when (as you can imagine, based on the name of the event) the whole school abandoned classrooms and headed out to the playground/fields – we had events like the three-legged race (in which your right ankle was tied to your partner’s left ankle by one of your dad’s ties that you had to bring to school for the occasion) and the potato-sack race, in which you had to hop to the finish line in a burlap bag originally used for potatoes.
Hey, did we have to supply our own potato sack, along with one of our dad’s ties? I can’t remember.
What I do remember – of the three-legged race, and the potato-sack race, and Field Day, and especially Red Rover – is lots of awkwardness and hilarity, zero time spent in front of screens, and good old-fashioned fun.