We called it mother may I? But to me this is real little kid stuff and the real hanging out came later on when you sat there or stood there thinking you looked oh so cool. Maybe some running around, like tag. Or maybe taking each other to the really dark parts of the block, and having someone already there to spook the person you brought there. Different kinds of dares to each other. I bet you won’t go down there and bring back whatever to prove that you actually did it. I never smoked, but that was part of what a lot of my friends did in those truely hanging – hanging out evenings. Oh you had your spot and you just knew if you passed by whatever spot after a certain time your buddies would be there.
I remember sitting on the stoop on a hot summer’s night, before A/C, waiting for a breeze to come by.
The BEST schoolyard in Queens in the late ’60s – early ’70s was PS 108 by the entrance to the Aqueduct racetrack. It was relatively square, fenced all around and had poured cement “boxes” roughly 5′ x 5′. These boxes served as softball basepaths, football yardlines, stickball pitchers’ mounds, handball court short lines, and distance markers for stickball and automatics. Connected to the large square area, there was a perfect sized handball court and wall, and the “little schoolyard” – a blacktopped area surrounded by 3 walls and a fence, perfect for roller hockey. Any afternoon in the summer there could be a softball game (sometimes two), a basketball game, 3 stickball games and a handball game going on at once. Summer nights was Ringoleario and just hanging out. In the fall and winter, it was touch football and basketball. Everyone met at the schoolyard. Just show up and you’ll get in some kind of game. We’ll never forget it.
I remember the game, “Mother, May I?”, except I think we called it something else..hmmm..maybe “take a giant step” or something. I grew to hate that game eventually — the person who played “Mother” invariably let all her friends take GIANT steps while the rest of us had to take baby steps. I was NOT part of that “in crowd” at that time. 🙂
For little girls, I remember a game called something like, “Mother, May I?”. Someone would be Mother and the player would say, “Mother, may I take a giant step?” and Mother had the option of saying, “Yes, you may” or, “No, you may not”. If she said, “No!”, the player would have to beg and demean herself in front of Mother, eg. “Mother, may I take an eensy weensy step?” or “Mother, please, may I take an itty bitty step?” I can’t remember how the game ended; it may not have. It definitely involved a lot of begging and laughing.
Girl games… we used to sit in the vestibule of someone’s house and play “jacks” for hours and hours. Growing up in Pittsburgh, right in the city, not in one of the cleaner suburbs, we played in the streets everynight. Red Rover, Cigarette Tag, Freeze Tag, Can’t cross the Mississippi unless you have(a shouted color) on, then everyone would run across the street if you had that color on. Anyone remember that one?
I was surprised that in the discussion of “balls” no mention was made of the fact that that wonderful pink ball with the nice script “Spalding” on it, was pronounced, at least where I grew up, as a “Spaldeen.” I also wish that someone would post some of the “girl” games: jump rope along with the chants/songs; hopscotch (lots of different rules), etc.