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Games We Played

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Banglesinindia

What we knew from *gypsies you could fit in a thimble.

To the best of my knowledge, neither PepGiraffe nor I had ever had any contact with a gypsy. Oh sure, we had heard MamaBear, z”l, say that our uncle had been left on the doorstep by gypsies, but that didn’t supply us with much information. Besides, we’re pretty certain that was just a story…

And yet, “playing gypsy” was a favourite game of ours when we were very young. We’d raid MomGiraffe’s scarf collection and tie them on our heads and around our waists. Costume jewelry adorned our every limb. And then, if I remember correctly, we’d run around the yard, screeching like banshees. I can just imagine what a sight we must have been.

Welcome to the world of make-believe. Countless hours spent making up stories, acting out scenes from books or movies, putting on neighbourhood talent shows. Whatever grabbed our fancy. And without benefit of mass-produced dress-up clothes, we were forced to make do with whatever we could find. And we did.

I feel like such an alter kocker when I say “it was a different time back then.” Except that it’s true. Things really were different. We were expected to amuse ourselves rather than depend on our parents for our entertainment. They weren’t being negligent; they were forcing us to develop our imagination.

Did we get bored? Certainly. Only back then, boredom wasn’t seen as the nefarious condition it has since become. For out of boredom came some of our most creative schemes, dreams, and plots.

The sound of bangle bracelets brings a hint of a smile as I recall those long-ago, carefree days.



*We did not know, as we do now, that the term “gypsy” is an exonym for members of the Roma community and is regarded as pejorative.


Remembe(RED) is a memoir meme. With 600 words, this week’s prompt asked us to recall the games played when I was young. Though board games were given as examples, I wanted to share a cherished memory of long-ago days. When life seemed serene and our imaginations ran wild. As always, constructive criticism is welcomed!

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 6:37 am

    Due to a sudden inability to get along with each other for any length of time, my young ones have had no screen-time privileges. Without Netflix and their DSI’s, they are taking their creativity to new heights and rediscovering how much fun they have together.

    It’s interesting–though we limit screen time even when full privileges are in tact, the complete absence of activities which are solely designed for their entertainment forces them to find far more stimulating and positive ways to use their brains—water play, outside exploration, new Lego creations, long make-believe play with their toys and stuffed animals, and the like.

    I knew we were onto something great yesterday when my son said, “Oh Kass, I love you so much and I’m so glad you are my sister!”

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 24 May 2011 9:51 pm

      I love it! What a wonderful thing to hear.

      It is really amazing what happens when the screen-time is limited. I wish that we could limit it more. It so happens that video games is Beernut’s passion. And anyone who knows a kid with Asperger’s knows that it can be detrimental to place too many restrictions on his or her passion.

      Fortunately, he does take breaks from the screen and enjoys drawing, Legos, and other things. In small doses.

      Sometimes when my kids aren’t getting along, I put them on restriction from one another 😉

      • Thursday, 26 May 2011 7:50 am

        Ooh, restriction from one another–I like that! I understand about the Asperger’s (from an observer’s point of view only)–my friend’s daughter, now in her mid-twenties spends hours each day acting out certain television shows (she chooses stuffed animals to play some of the roles, and it is amazing to note how they have an honest-to-goodness resemblance to the actor portrayed) from a past she was not part of. She loves old, old music (played on records, of course), follows the elections like a professional, and celebrates the birthdays of every one of her stuffed animals (of which she must have 100 or more). Her passions are her passions…and she is happy doing them.

  2. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 6:55 am

    My kids recently complained how bored they were on the first Sunday that we didn’t have Sunday School. I gave them good ideas but none seemed good enough. Finally I suggested that they sit quietly and figure out what they wanted to do next and then get up and go do it and have fun. That seemed to work – no complaints for the rest of they day as they pretended to be the best basketball player and bike rider on the face of the earth.

    Great post. Dress up is the ultimate game of creativity that builds the imagination and never gets old or boring.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 24 May 2011 9:52 pm

      How funny. My kids were not bored in the slightest. They love Religious School, but enjoyed the opportunity to just chill out.

      I love creative play 🙂

  3. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 8:24 am

    When my siblings or I complained to my mother that we were “bored”, she immediately came up with some distasteful chore for us. We soon learned not to complain about it, but to invent some fun game. We kids came up with the idea, negotiated the “rules” and had a great time. Good training for real life.
    I think your parents did you a great favor in allowing you to develop your imagination!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 24 May 2011 9:58 pm

      I agree. Though I’m not certain they were making a conscious decision to teach us any major life lesson. It really was a different time. All the parents of our friends did this.

      When my kids complain about being bored, I tell them there is plenty of laundry that needs a-foldling.

  4. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 8:53 am

    I have been thinking so much lately about how deprived kids are today of free play. This post was music to my ears! Just how childhood should be.

  5. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 2:05 pm

    One summer, just before we moved from Iowa to California, my sisters and I spent a week making puppets out of some old socks my mom had given us. We wrote a script for a puppet show (I SO wish I could remember the story or even just the name!)and sat up a “theatre” in our back yard using lawn furniture and a picnic table as a stage. We proceeded to make tickets using crayons and construction paper and then went door-to-door in the neighborhood, selling tickets. We asked $3.00 per ticket and people actually bought them! By the time we were finished, we had collected over $20.00! Unfortunately, my Dad made us go door-to-door again, this time giving the money back. Times were so much simplier in the 1970’s!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:08 pm

      Brilliant! Your own version of the March girls in “Little Women.”

  6. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 6:27 pm

    My toddler was coloring today with some crayons on an old sketchpad of mine. He was scribbling beautifully, and he was naming what he was drawing. It was mostly letters and numbers, and then some other objects from the house, like a light, a box, a chair. I was so proud that he was using his imagination. I hope that I can help him develop his creativity as he gets older.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:12 pm

      I love that he was naming what he was drawing. One of my favourite stories is when my oldest was just a little guy, rather than guess what he had drawn and risk guessing wrong, I asked him to describe what he’d done.

      “It’s just scribble-scrabble, Mommy.”

  7. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 7:08 pm

    Imagination = my favorite toy of youth.
    I’m hoping that I can pass that down onto my girls. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:15 pm

      Imagination = my favorite toy of youth.
      Love that!!! I am SO going to quote you.

  8. Tuesday, 24 May 2011 7:25 pm

    I had a dress up box that was my favorite thing to play with when I was little. I could be anyone, anywhere. And I was a gypsy on more than one occasion.

    Thank you for sharing this memory–it took me back to my own!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:26 pm

      Yay! And rather relieved that someone else played gypsy. Though we were the only ones.

  9. Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:31 am

    Dressing up is an awesome game and, quite honestly, I still like to do it!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:28 pm

      Me too 🙂

      Which might explain why the Jewish festival of Purim is really high on my list of faves!

  10. Wednesday, 25 May 2011 4:04 am

    I love this. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Yesterday, my two year old made me “brown sugar” and “cake” out of a pile of dirt. He couldn’t have been happier. Imagination is sweeter than any confection.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 25 May 2011 3:40 pm

      Yum! As tasty as the make-believe pizza and soup that I get 😉

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