Homemade playhouses took imaginations very far away

Published 5:30 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

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The talk of building playhouses brought it all up, as a group of us were discussing our growing-up years, both with laughter and tears. We concluded we grew up during the most wonderful time.

When mother said, “go outside and play” she meant just that and we went out to find our own method of play.  If we didn’t, she would find something for us to do and believe me, we had rather be playing.

She actually was being gracious, because it was a lot cooler in the shade under an outside tree than in the house where she was working with no cooling.

No cooling? What are you talking about?

Yes, there as a time when people lived without fans and without air conditioners. The doors and windows were open for air and it was not always cool. It could be much cooler outside or sitting on the porch.

For little girls playing outside could mean building your own little playhouse. Rake up the leaves in a little row around the sides, find something to sit on and put a box or two there for furniture.

Little bottles and some pretend dishes and one could play all afternoon with just herself and a doll.

Tell a child today to go build a playhouse and I’ll bet they would ask some questions. Unless they had seen it on TV, they would not have any idea. For us, it was a home of imagination.

This was in the days when mothers didn’t work outside the home and were always there for us, winter or during the hot days of summer.

I remember once when a cousin and I were together during a cold, snowing day, and we went into the woods to find some lighter wood for their fireplace.

With so much ice and snow, it was easy for us to lose our way, but we finally made it back home where everybody was looking for us. Had I been at home, mother would never have allowed us go off in the woods on such a day.

I can remember many times drawing the hopscotch pattern on the ground and playing by myself. Or I could play marbles with my brother.

At night, before it cooled down, we would play outside – maybe hide and seek or catching fireflies. Those activities tired us and we slept soundly at the foot of the bed beside an open window.

There were also days of going to the creek for some big time cool-off! That creek water could be so cold when first approached. We rarely complained about having nothing to do.

There were days when it rained and we were stuck inside for a while and we could read books or listen to the radio…if there was no static. If it was a storm, one could hardly hear the radio,

There were paper dolls and before they printed them in packages to be purchased, we could cut out own from an old catalog, which we were able to get in the mail at least twice a year.

In spite of once getting lost in the woods, we loved going to pick huckleberries this time of year. There were bushes all around us and we loved picking them green and eating them before they ripened.

If modern moms are having trouble entertaining their children in the summertime, they might want to try some of the old-time entertainment we enjoyed. There was no TV to take our minds on to other things, so we enjoyed what we had.

Those were the best of times when imagination took us far away.

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at bobann70@att.net.