Breland: Children moving on with time

Published 11:10 am Friday, May 13, 2022

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It does seem a little early, but school graduation is happening and the faces of those little children we taught in Sunday school when they were so very young — are now branching out into the world. A joy to see them moving on to train themselves for life!

The younger ones will be out for the summer with no classes to hold them. Summer time is different for children today than from my days as a child. There is always something keeping them busy: all kinds of camps, swimming lessons, ball games, vacations … it goes on and on!

Living in the country, I was blessed to be able to revel in the marvelous never-ending joys of doing all the things children did to entertain themselves during the hot days of summer.

Revisiting my childhood summers of so many years ago, our activities seem boring — no television to watch, no hand-held electronic devices — just the radio to listen to and only at special times.

Radio was very much like TV but without the pictures. During the day it was mostly soap operas and game shows. We were not allowed to listen to the soap operas, but at about 2 p.m., Art Linkletter’s House Party came on and we loved hearing him talk to the children.

We were as enthralled with radio as today’s children are with television, along with all the other technological advances they are used to.

During the daylight hours, we were sent outside to play in the morning and did not come back inside until lunchtime. After lunch, we went back out to play until suppertime. The word “boring” was not in our vocabulary. We were expected to entertain ourselves — except for an occasional trip to the creek!

I had my own special place to play. My playhouse was out in the edge of the woods under a tree where I raked back the straw to form the sides of my “house.”

I had an odd assortment of bottles and tin cans and once in a while a spoon or two borrowed from my mother’s kitchen. I could play and cook to my heart’s delight — mud pies and imaginary food — but great fun for a little girl in the 1940s.

Most days I had no other child to play with and those are the times when my friends “Ann” and “Sue” came to play. They were wonderful friends. They came when I wanted them and left at my bidding. They would be anything or anybody I asked them to be. Sometimes we played in the playhouse and other times we went to the old rope swing and just sat there and talked about everything.

When my cousin came to play, Ann and Sue stayed away. Real to me, but completely unseen by just about anybody else. They were my own creations — my imaginary friends.

We spent many wonderful days together. My Mom knew about them and smiled knowingly when I told her about something that happened during our play.

I read to them and they listened. I cooked for them and they liked what I made. They could be my children or just wonderful friends. We never disagreed or had a fight. They were perfect friends from the mind of a little girl who only wanted to play.

Somewhere along the way, I lost them. As I grew, I quit going by the playhouse and slowly but surely, they quit coming to play.

Someone asked me if I remembered what my imaginary friends looked like and they appeared instantly in my mind’s eye just like magic!

My mother said creative children have imaginary friends. Every once in a while, as old as I am, my friends still slightly appear on the fringes of my mind, waiting for the little girl in me to call them back to play in the playhouse of childhood memory.

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at