( grew up in Bluebird holler ,, knott,co. S.E. Kentucky,, with a lot of cousins uncles and aunts ,, oh yes there was seven of us children our dad was a coal mine, That was when they had to dig for the coal with pickaxes the roads were to bumpy (countryroads) to skate on and we only had one pair of skates so when one of the old coal camp houses got empty we used it to roller skate in two of us would each put on a skate and go round and round in the four room house,, with one foott up in the air. In the winter time when it snowed we didnt have ice skates, or a place for them living in the hills of Kentucky so we would get a wash tub lid the old ringer kind and slide off the hill we also got a few scrapes,brusies and broken arms, We had a feast of fun everyday ,,, And DEPRESSION,,, was the word for what the poor people were going through,,, like we had no money for fancy grocerys we grew everything in the garden and canned it in the fall so we always had plenty to eat in the winter,,, we tapped the maple trees for syrup , spring time we had the hills full of fresh greens we would go with our granny and pick a bag full for supper , in the summer time we also liked to catch june bugs and tie thier legs to a long string to let them fly way up into the air Gee what Memories having fun remembering thanks for the space,, COUNTRY WOMAN Kathleen (Turner) Mchugh
Marble season was big in the Sedgwick projects (West Bronx) –usually late summer. Each kid set up his own “carnival-type” game to try to win more marbles. For example, “one-plus-your-own” was typical in which you had to hit a valuable marble like a “beauty” to win it and your own back. I used to go through a whole pack in 2 hours. Not good.
Ding a ling!!! Ding a ling!!! Ding!!!! Ding!!!!! That sound was music to our ears. Growing up in a Garden apartment complex near Queens College, that sound would cause every kid on the block to stop whatever game they were playing, and run home or call up to their window for money. I lived on the second floor and I preferred to call up for money… (no cel phones then!) “MO-OM”!!! “The icecream Man is here!!!” In gobs of white tissue, my mother would throw down the required 15 cents, and off I’d go to buy icecream from the Good Humor Man. Cola or Blue italian ices were the “hot” items of my day. Our neighborhood Good Humor man man was a tall, thin, silverhaired, mustached man named Jack, whom everyone loved. Dressed in sparkling whites, (shirt, slacks, shoes) “Jack the icecream man” would let neighborhood kids ring his bell, and ride his truck for a block or two. It was such fun, and the high point of a summer’s day! Back then, delivery men were on a first name basis with their customers …. We had Jack the icecream man, Louie the eggman, and Milt the Milkman …
Halfball I dream of the summer of ’61 when Roger Maris was engaged in his assault on the Babe’s record and for some uncanny reason I became the King of The Home Run in an Atlantic City half ball league. We played this most enjoyable of all the street games with a cut in two star ball, pimple ball or the rare pink ball. Fast pitch or underhand lob, it didn’t make a difference. The excitement was always there. I couldn’t hit squat on a regular diamond but half ball was my ticket to fame. Geez! I’m now living in Southern Cal and as soon as I’m done writing this note, I’m going out to the garage, cut off a broom handle and slice a few tennis balls. I’m going to show my seventeen year old surfer the real sport of summer.
It’s a miracle we all aren’t dead from horrible playground accidents. How many of us did summersaults over the bars on the BIG sliding board, or went down it standing up? How about jumping off the the witches hat (that pole thing with the circular seat suspended from it)or merry-go-round after you got it spinning as fast as you could? How many of you had playgrounds that had dirt packed hard as cement under the monkey bars that you would hang head down from? I can’t imagine a city now constructing a playground without the eqipment being made out of pressure treated lumber & a truckload of wood mulch under every piece of it.
We called it “stairball”. Much like “pinners” described by Brian. Catch it on the fly for an out. If it bounced before you caught it, you had to throw at the stairs and catch the rebound on the fly or it was a single. If it landed in the street, it was a double if it was on the near side, triple if on the far side, and a homer if it landed clear across the street. We had both one-on-one and two-on-two rules. We were fantasy baseball pioneers – we had rosters of pro players, and we traded them, kept stats, had playoffs, and at least two world series per summer.
We used to play this every night in the summer after dark. It was great because the Hillary’s had 12 kids and we had a ton of kids in the neighborhood. Someone would be “it” and everyone would go and hide. When the policeman found you, he’d say “Mary” come to court. Court was usually someone’s front stoop. You could “escape” if one of the “uncaught” people came and tapped you. Pretty risky business. The game was over when everyone was caught.
We used to play stick ball against the Acme wall. We drew a strike box on the wall and played with one pitcher and one outfielder. The batter was his own team.We used imaginary base runners and played until dark every summer day.I am a female and I would play with the guys and when I didn’t show up they would come find me.I would always be Chris Short from the Phillies cause I was a lefty.I still love the game and now as a 47 year old I still coach a varsity softball team and love every minute of it….Not bad for a kid from the projects……
How about “Corner Ball”. A four corner intersection was the “field” creating a “diamond”. Needless to say, a Spaldeen was the ball of policy and proceedure. No catcher position was required. The “Batter” took the ball in hand and hit it off the curb. If he missed the curb or hit it foul, he was out. All other rules of stickball applied, (although I can honestly say i have never heard of a guy “roofing it” in curb ball). In the summer on Briggs Avenue, we’d play at least 10-12 games a day while a bunch of other guys would be playing stickball. Now that I think about it, I guess corner ball allowed us to make room for another game to be played simultaneously while you waited to get on the stickball “field”. Of course, at least 4 guys would be off on the side with a game of “Off the Point” going, but that’s a whole other game.