Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Memories - Jump Rope, Hopscotch, Rotten Egg, and the Like

thank you google images

Recently our school district had another shooting threat.  Our town went through its own school shooting in 1996 and every now and then we get warnings.  Sadly, it’s today’s new normal.  On this last call the middle school decided to keep all the kids indoors for the day.   I would think the kids had a better chance at not being hit on a playground running to and fro then in a crowded hall or lunchroom of wall to wall kids, but it’s a tough call.  No matter what an administrator decides it will be second-guessed if someone is hurt. 

School playgrounds and playground rules are definitely not what they used to be and that is a sad reflection on us. 

I have great memories of playground games.  Here are ten of my childhood favorites:

·         tag (in many forms – regular, freeze, TV, etc.)
·         pom-pom-pull-away
·         baseball (work up)
·         jump rope
·         hopscotch
·         rollerskating
·         blister bars
·         merry-go-round
·         Helen Keller
·         Rotten Egg

I imagine every school had versions of Helen Keller and Rotten Egg:

We played Helen Keller in a small foyer.  “Helen Keller” put a coat over her head (if she couldn’t be trusted to keep her eyes closed) and was twirled around while everyone counted to ten.  Then she groped her way around the little room until she caught someone and felt who she was.  If she guessed correctly Helen Keller joined the game and the one that was caught became the new Helen Keller.   (A game like that would never fly today what with political correctness and students touching each other.  The real Helen Keller was a favorite heroine for many of us and we thought we were honoring her to play a game in her name.) 

We played Rotten Egg on the big cement steps.   Eight or ten of us sat quietly thinking of a color.  Whoever was “it” called out a color (any color) and then one by one rapped her knuckles on our heads.  If the color was the color we’d chosen we chirped, “peep, peep, peep.”  “It” and a friend swung us back and forth between their arms.  If we smiled or laughed everyone chimed “Ewwwww, you’re a rotten egg” and we were out.  If you didn’t smile or laugh you went into the good egg pile.  The game continued until there were no more rotten eggs.   The last (or first depending on the day) good egg got to be “it” the next game.

Two of the jump rope rhymes we used were:

Spanish Dancer touch the ground
Spanish Dancer turn around
Spanish Dancer do the high kick
Spanish Dancer do the splits
Spanish Dancer go upstairs
Spanish Dancer say your prayers
Spanish Dancer turn around
Spanish Dancer get out of town

Cinderella dressed in yella
Went upstairs to kiss her fella
Made a mistake and kissed a snake
How many doctors will it take

We also sang these nonsensical songs:

So-and-so stole a cookie from the cookie jar.
(So-and-so would say) “Who me?”
(Everyone would reply) “Yes you.”
(So-and-so would say) “Couldn’t be.”
(Everyone would respond) Then who?”
(Then so-and-so would call out another name and the rhyme would start again.)

Miss Lucy had a baby
She named him tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim
He drank up all the water
He ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bathtub          
But it wouldn’t go down his throat

(I hated it when kids taunted with this next song.  It was embarrassing.)

Two little lovers sitting in a tree
First comes love
Second comes marriage
Third comes (names two people) pushing a baby carriage

(I guess I shouldn’t have disliked that jingle.  It did teach us the proper order of things:  love, marriage, and then children which is much better than how some play today:  children, marriage, and maybe love thrown in there somewhere.  Maybe it had its purpose afterall.)

How about you?  What did you do on the playground?  What were your jump rope rhymes?  What games do your kids play on the playground now?


Grandma & Grandpa said...

I love that you can remember the words to all those jingles! I remember some, but not so many as you do. My 97- year- old mother has a phenomenal memory and remembers rhymes from HER childhood. She's amazing. We played jacks
a lot at recess and if you were good, you were a star! Glad to hear that Bsp. Stones' class is starting again. Hope to see you there. Loye

Barb said...

I thought Tiny Tim was a turtle!

Ande said...

I enjoyed reading about your games. It is amazing how much school yards have changed. My favorite game was Car Lot or Red Rover. But I also loved jump roping.

Moore Family said...

I had forgotten the cookie jar song! Thanks for the reminder!

Deidra said...

My mom sings a version of Tiny Tim, but after eating the soap he gets bubbles in his throat. You grab your neck skin to make your voice warble as you sing, "Bubble, bubble, POP!" Getting older makes me wonder if I'm stretching out my neck and it's going to waddle like crazy down the road, all because of Tiny Tim. But it's worth it for Millie's reaction! :)

(I just realized I could probably just tap my throat with my fingers...hmmm...)

I loved the swings, going really high, the jungle gym and the merry-go-round. We went to a school playground recently that still had a merry-go-round. I thought they were banished, so it made me happy— but sick!

Lucy said...

I have such fond memories of playgrounds. I played jumprope and chinese jumprope and jacks and marbles and built forts and made up dances and, sadly, spent one year walking around with the playground aide because girls can be mean (o.k. so that isn't such a fond memory).

I love that I know all of those chants and songs too! Some of my favorites. And, yes, there did seem to be a recongized order of things. I hate it when I read so and so say, "Marriage isn't a big deal anymore." To them. Those poor kids.

Brenda Goodrich said...

Hmmm, my favorite recess activities were 4-square (I happened to be really good:), twirling on the bars (with my skirt tucked carefully around my legs) and the swings. We had a swing relay race where you would pump as hard as you could until you could see over the top bar and then you jumped out so the next kid could swing. Danger, danger, danger! Fun, fun, fun!