I remember a time when getting together with a friend or a whole gang of people required little to no effort. I could walk out my front door and find friends. I could call a friend and meet five minutes later on our bikes. I could AIM my friend and meet ten minutes later at Applebee’s.
It was simple.
In college, I had to go to study rooms to get away from friends. Friends were everywhere. I spent more time with people than alone.
Nowadays, things are different. Sure, I’m around people all day. But it’s not like it was back then.
I miss those days. And if I could see my friends every day, heck, every week or month, I would be a happy camper. Our time now looks so different from back then. Back when we could wrangle a group of kids and play games. Ya know, kid games.
My perfect childhood day. If I could re-live it. Oh the games I would play:
1. Tag/freeze tag/toilet tag: The exhilaration and pure fear of getting caught. Your lungs gasping for air. That one kid who always cheated. Making sure you had your friends in your sight-line so you could run and save them. Fighting to the death if a kid denied getting “out” when you clearly grabbed their t-shirt.
2. Red Rover: As a relatively small individual, this game kinda scared me. A lot. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a high school senior barreling across a field toward your teeny-tiny arm/hand, ready to break through your measly barrier and potentially dislocate your shoulder. No biggie. Then there’s that tightness in your gut as you run toward the weakest link, trying to muster all of your might into breaking through and not getting clothes-lined. Good times.
3. Ghosts in the Graveyard: The sheer terror. The waiting. The worry. Wondering when the ghost was going to jump out and claim you as victim number 1. The creepy crawly feeling that you’d be caught. Seeing the ghost, knowing you had to change gears and chase people down, but first screaming, “GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD” as loud as you could. And if you weren’t the one yelling that, only heard it coming from the back yard, your body tensed so fast you didn’t know your next move. Someone had been found. Who would be next? And the ghost. The anticipation of that first kid to round the corner of the house and – BOO! Scary stuff, I tell ya.
4. Classic Hide-n-go-seek: Adding darkness to this game was always more fun. In a pee-your-pants kinda way. But even the regular lights-on version was entertaining when you had the. best. hiding. spot. ever. Hearing everyone else around the house/building being found but still going strong in your secret spot…that was a great feeling. The agreements with your friends that they wouldn’t give up your location. The claustrophobic panic that set in when you crammed yourself into a closet or cabinet (yes, I did that once). Praying you didn’t sneeze or cough or pass gas. Stifling laughs even though nothing was actually funny, you just suddenly had the giggles. Annoyed when everyone told you to come out because they couldn’t find you and they “gave up.” Oh, and that horrible thought that maybe, just maybe something actually gross or creepy was in the same space as you — closet, under the bed, in a cabinet, inside the couch, behind the door…
5. Those rhyming hand-slapping-clapping games: My friends and I did this to kill time. In between real games, we’d sing-chant these little rhymes about going to “Mexico” and meeting a “big fat policeman at the door, door door.” If we pulled him by the collar, boy he would holler. That was why we didn’t want to go to Mexico no more, more, more. Then there was stuff about Bo-bo ski watten totten…BOOM…There might’ve been more but I just remember standing in circles with my friends or other random girls, slapping hands, and singing about bo-bo ski watten totten, and worrying that I’d be out.
6. Rollerblade trails: With chalk, we’d draw elaborate obstacles and roads that we had to go through on our rollerblades. Sometimes you had to jump, skate on one foot, stop and turn around, go super fast, pick up another toy along the way. The possibilities were endless. And so was the fun. The bigger and steeper the driveway, the better.
7. Duck, duck, grey duck: Yeah. That’s what it’s called. Regardless of age, this was a classic. It was always fun to be chased by an older kid and beat them. Then of course, there was that split second when you didn’t know if you’d be the hero or the hated if you caught the kindergartener who had just whip lashed you, squeezed your face and spit all over, and called you “poopy potty duck” before taking off around the circle like a little punk. There was that.
I’m sure, given the time and lots of Google searches, I’d be able to continue this list. I think you get the point though. It’d be fun to grab some friends and do this again. Throw off all of our worries and serious adult conversations and just be kids again.