Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Childhood games we used to play in the 50's.

MONDAY, 30 MAY 2011

Here I am on the right-hand side, at the top of my street, wearing one of my mother's old dresses.
It is 1st May. We used to borrow an old broom or brush handle, sometimes with the brush head still attached and go through the surrounding neighbourhood, where we would stop at each location, and sing..................as we
twirled around the pole, making a pattern with the ribbons.
"Dancing round the maypole 
Merrily we go
Hip-a hip-a cherry, to and fro.
All the lovely maidens on the village green
Dancing in the sunshine,
Hurrah for the Queen"
Our games followed a seasonal track.
In spring, when the evenings grew lighter, we could play out at after tea for longer during the week. We had tops and whips, with coloured chalks, and drew patterns on the tops, before using the tiny whips to set them spinning along the pavements. The original pavement I used is here, in this picture, on the left. As the paving slabs were so uneven, it was a work of art to keep the tops going. As they whirled around we could see each different "design" emerge.     
The bottom of my street is just visible on the right a little way along.These streets were our playgrounds, along with the fields at the top.
Skipping games
We had skipping ropes and used different rhymes as we skipped to the rhythm. 
Sometimes we used an old washing line.Two people stood at each end and turned the rope, saying various chants, such as: 
"All in together girls,
The cows are in the meadow girls,
When you hear your birthday
Please jump in"
Then as we each heard our own month, we would jump into the rope and there could be as many as 5 all at once skipping. Counting would begin, until the one by one we would "jump out" when we      
couldn't stand the pace anymore!    
If we skipped alone we had other rhymes, such as: 
"Blue  bells,
Cockle shells,
Eevy, Ivy, Over" 
Ball games
Individual games were always played either using the backyard wall, or the brick walls out in the street. I used to play "two ball" when you threw one ball at the wall and as it returned, you caught it as you threw the second one, and so on, in a regular beat.   

 I used to say
"Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Jews
Bought his wife 
A pair of shoes, 
When  the shoes began to wear 
Nebuchadnezzar began to swear
When the swearing began to stop
Nebuchadnezzar bought a shop
When the shop began to sell
Nebuchadnezzar rang a bell
When the bell began to ring
Nebuchadnezzar began to sing,
One, two, three, four, five.............................."    
These rhymes must have been handed down as I really hadn't a clue then who he was!!    
In another team game, someone would be chosen to stand with their back to the rest of us, and then would throw the ball over their shoulder.
 Whilst we would ask "Queenio, queenio, who's got the ballio?"
                      The person who had thrown the ball had then to guess which of us was holding it behind our backs. A process of elimination! The one holding the ball then stood at the front, and we would begin again.    
There was far less traffic then, and close communities "kept an eye " on their children. So we were ringfenced.
Group pastimes included "Hide and Seek", and "Tig" as we called it. 
Playtime at St Paul's Constable Lee C of E Primary School
This is the school at which the majority of us began our education. 
 We could use the wooden PE hoops in the play yard,at break time, until the advent of the Hula Hoop which swept the country like wild fire. And is still in use today.

We badgered our parents for one of the coloured plastic hoops,and proceeded to master the art of twirling it round and round our waists, and even necks, until the latter was pronounced "dangerous"
So we had to stick to waists and ankles!      
There are so many more games that we played, that I will save that for another time. 
But I think we were extremely healthy children, who had lots of fresh air and loads of exercise without even realising it!

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