Summertime Fads

Image result for images of kids using pea shooters

We must not let the summer pass without some mention of summertime fads.

There used to be this place called “outside,” and that’s where we were, all summer long. I think it might still be there, somewhere, although children don’t appear to be visiting it much, these days.

One summer, we all had pea shooters–just these little plastic straws… through which we shot dried peas at each other. Now it’s all I can do to find a picture of a pea shooter. Mostly I just found stills and videos of this character called “Pea Shooter” from some electronic game which keeps kids indoors instead of moving them “outside.” I should add that nobody, for all the pea-shooting we did, ever shot their eye out.

Then there was the hula hoop, a nationwide craze that’s still with us. Everybody had one of those, too. Tommy Mascola, next door, used to be able to walk up and down stairs while keeping the hoop rotating around his hips. This made him a neighborhood celebrity. Too bad “America’s Got Talent” hadn’t been invented yet.

Another local fad was these little rubber rockets: you inserted a cap (from a cap gun) into the nose cone, and when you tossed it into the air and it came down on the sidewalk, it would go “bang!” Richly entertaining.

And there were impromptu bike races, home-made parachutes, and these weird candies that would go all fizzy when you put them into your mouth. I wonder what ever happened to them.

On the whole, I’m sure we had more fun than we would have ever had “inside” all day, fatzing around with video games and cell phones.



5 comments on “Summertime Fads

  1. Yes, I remember that ancient thing called “outside.” And I’ll add that there was plenty of “outside” even on the concrete streets of the South Bronx, where there was still plenty of opportunity for kids to enjoy their favorite pastimes, such as (a) running and (b) yelling. I think even our more stationary games — if you can call potsy (hopscotch), ball bouncing, and jumping rope stationary — involved a certain amount of yelling. 🙂

    1. Ah, yes. Hopscotch. What fun we had. We used to stash chunks of coal delivered for our coal furnace in winter, and when the nice weather came, we would produce our prized coal with which we fashioned our hopscotch grid 🙂

  2. It’s a real shame that children don’t spend time outdoors these days. When I was a kid, I spent most summers out in the various open areas in our neighborhood, including a lovely little forest where one could hide in the thick vegetation.

    I just came in from “playing” outdoors, although I disguised my play so that observers would think I was doing yard work. What a wonderful feeling, cleaning up the yard, working up a good sweat, then coming inside for a cold beverage and a shower. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  3. I’m drowning in nostalgia. I identify with all those outside activities. My favorite besides sports was bicycle riding. I even rode one across America when a young adult. I remember the way my parents were always telling my brother and me “Go outside and play!!”

  4. And let’s not forget about marbles! I was the neighborhood champion at marbles. Even the boys couldn’t beat me 🙂

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