(Reading time 10 minutes)
“Momma, what can I do”, I remember hearing,
From the kids during my childhood, during their rearing.
Go outside and play, was often the advice,
Play with the neighbors, and try to be nice.
A far cry from today’s demands, of what our kids want from us,
A thousand dollar computer, with peripherals plus plus plus.
If we expected them to be satisfied, with what did back then,
They’d have the law on us for cruelty, we could be sent to the pen.
Just imagine asking them to play the games, we used to enjoy,
There were games for all kids, some for a girl and some a boy.
See if you can remember, some that I have collected to tell,
I know the names of most games, will ring a bell.
Almost every one played hopscotch, or marbles and jacks,
Some are still popular, and so is a game of catch.
Darts could be played anytime, anywhere,
Kick the can, and blind man’s bluff, kept kids in fresh air.
If it rained outside, there was still lots to do,
Musical chairs was easy, and could be indoors too.
Didn’t cost a dime, if we sat down to play cards,
Indoors, outdoors, or played in the back yard.
There are too many card games, to recite in this poem,
But to name a few, we would play right around home.
Poker, Canasta, Pinochle and Cribbage,
Whist, Go Fish, Rummy, and of course Bridge.
Charades and checkers, Monopoly and chess,
Lotto, Scrabble, bingo, and Simon says.
How about leap frog, or a game of strip poker,
Playing doctor is interesting, or be a jump roper.
Stickball is a no cost game, that many guys played,
Using an old ball, that was tattered or frayed.
An old stick from a broom, or whatever we could get,
Played in the street or back yard, do they still play it yet?
Dominos is still a game, for young and old,
Indoors, outdoors, and in the parks I am told.
How about Mah Jong, it’s a forever game,
It has a tradition, and is always the same.
Mumbley peg, is a game faded away,
We used to play it, every day.
A pen knife and dirt, was all that we would need,
Aim and skill was the test, no need for speed.
I’ve heard of Marco Polo, one game I never played,
There’s an old game still in use, where a supposition is made.
It’s called Round Robin and starts with a verbal fabrication,
Each whispers to the next player, their own interpretation.
Kids played grocery store, and dressed up like mom,
Paper dolls, May pole, kick the can to and from.
The games go on ad-infinitum, that most kids can do,
And games for grown-ups, are still endless too.
Now there are the Olympics, games real big time,
But the object of this lesson is, don’t spend a dime.
Playing cops and robbers, we made our own gun,
With rubber bands from inner tubes, we still had fun.
Cowboys and Indians, was always a way,
Guys can play that game, both night and all day.
Playing tag and running, block flag relays,
Hula-hoops too, we made our own in those days.
I remember skates, we nailed on a two by four board,
Then added an orange crate, for a depression style skateboard.
How about ping pong, jungle gym and swings,
Playgrounds after school, always had real good things.
Playing teacher was always fun, at least for the girls,
It wasn’t a boy thing, but we might give wrestling a whirl.
We wrestled in the grass, and didn’t need a ring,
But we had to be careful, where dogs did their thing.
Have you noticed, we didn’t need any cash?
And when we were kids, we made our toys from trash.
Today’s generation needs computers, iPads and iPods,
Plus monthly fees, and high priced geek squads.
Why does it now cost so much, to keep kids amused,
They can still play with the same things, that we made and used.
If we couldn’t supply money, and didn’t have cash a flow,
This generation could be lost, if we had to say no.
You’ll think of more games, from the twenties, thirties and so,
Depression kids remember well, since we had little or no dough.
But what goes around comes around, and as a little kid,
We just had what we had, and made do with what we did.