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My next sister and I, who were only a few months separated in age (she was in reality my cousin but we were raised as sisters) also enjoyed playing practical jokes on the neighbours and pushing our sometime friend Bernadette off the boat dock, because her mother had five boys and only one girl and she was always dressed like a doll. For some reason it satisfied us to see her go home dripping wet and bedraggled. We suspect now that it didn’t bother her much either as she never put up much of a fight. In bed at night we made up dramatic plays, in whispers, in which we were all boys with dangerous exciting jobs, who met each other in the hospital and bragged about the event that had put us there. I was always Jake who rode motorcycles with the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show and had been variously injured jumping through Flaming Hoops of Death. The Chitwood show came to our county fair every year and I had no idea how difficult those stunts were until I moved 3000 miles from my parents and bought a dirt bike and learned to ride motocross But in the dark in our bedroom I could well imagine myself flying through the air and not landing in a sprawled heap on the ground.
The underlying point of this is that every game we played had a very large helping of imagination to it. Whether we were astronauts, stunt drivers, resourceful women jumping from car to car of a train with our babies on one arm and an umbrella or other weapon close to hand, or elegant ladies at the Plaza Hotel Palm Court (home of Eloise) having lunch and keeping a sharp eye out for an invasion of Mafia Guys or peasants with pitchforks and torches, we were carried out of our everyday world by the exercise of our own minds, filled as they were with excitement from books that was altered by experience and devoid of any sense that we as girls could never do those things really.
And in an era when Men were Men and Women were Girls, I can’t recall any of my friends ever playing house. Bernadette had a doll house that we rearranged sometimes, and she had a Ginny Doll with a huge wardrobe that we dressed up by the hour, but we never did anything else with her. Maybe we were unnatural, but seeing the life our mothers led did not inspire us in any way. Who wants to play housework and cooking when your mother makes you do those things for real?p>Thank you for the chance to remember what ‘fun’ was for us; and for the chance to imagine middle aged Generation Whiners reminiscing about sitting lumpenly in the back seat of the SUV, earbuds jammed in both ears and volume cranked up to 12, staring at the same DVD they would be watching if they were sitting lumpenly on their beds. I’m kind of looking forward to hearing what they will say. br> — Kate Shaw br> Indoors in Kanukistan on a Beautiful Day, Dreaming of Motorcycles /p>
Bill Croke just about wrote of my summers, except I am of the female variety. Must have been all that “enforcement” of nature loving I got a Girl Scout Camp, no “white gloves and dresses” fellows. Camp-shirts and green twill dungarees, we got down, and we got muddy and dirty. Great fun!!!
I waded streams — without shoes
I rode my bicycle into the woods and was gone for HOURS!!!! Mothers did not know were we where every moment of the day and that was fine by them!
I actually “ate” grass and bugs (on dares) and did my friends (boys AND girls) we did not die. We also ate bugs from riding our bikes but that’s different.
Multiple trips OVER a summer to an ER to be stitched and patched did not result in CPS visiting your house for child abuse allegations.
Sending kids and dogs outside to play — the dog was bound to come home cleaner than the kid.p>That is what summer was all about.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?