Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fun and Games in the 1930's

My mother really enjoyed sharing memories of her childhood this week.

When I asked her what games she remembered playing the list just grew and grew. Some of her indoor favorites were Monopoly, tidily-winks, marbles and jax. She doesn't remember playing any card games. Outdoors she liked jump rope, hopscotch, baseball and in the winter fox and geese which I remember her teaching us to play. She also loved to roller skate, ride her bike and in the winter she'd go sledding. She described in detail the steep street a 1/4 mile from home that was closed to traffic in the winter where all of the kids went and became quite frustrated that she couldn't remember the name of the street but it went down to Portage St. I asked her what kind of sled she had and I got the look. The look that silently says "are you stupid?" It was a flexible flyer of course! There was no ice rink nearby so she never learned to skate.

The family didn't take many vacations but she does remember one trip to Holland, MI to see the tulips. There was another trip to visit relatives "up north someplace" but she doesn't remember much about it. (I'd love to know who she went to see!) She did go to South Bend, IN to stay with her Aunt Ruby now and then. There was a boy that lived nearby that would have her over to do jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes she would see her younger cousin, Lorraine Edmunds, in South Bend and sometimes Lorraine's family would come stay in Buchanan. She didn't have any other cousins close in age nearby.

My grandfather has always been described to me as a mean, miserable man so I was surprised that one of her fondest memories was of him reading bedtime stories to her. There was a column in the paper (The Berrien County Record?) called Bedtime Stories. When the column was discontinued she was quite upset and tried to get her mother to write to the paper. Instead, her father started reading a chapter a night from a very thick book called Peck's Bad Boy. I did a search and found out that Peck's Bad Boy started out as series of newspaper stories in the late 1800's, written by George W. Peck. The stories were collected into a series of books. Based on the publication dates I'm guessing that the book was one my grandfather saved from his childhood. I'm not sure which book was read to my mother but I found Peck's Bad Boy Abroad online at google books. At Project Gutenberg I found Peck's Bad Boy With The Cowboys and Peck's Bad Boy at the Circus. I'll be reading them when I get some time. Maybe they will be books I share with my grandchildren.

I was surprised that the family didn't spend time listening to the radio together. The radio was in the parlor. Grandpa would listen to the news but he'd be sitting in the dining room so everyone had to be very quiet so he could hear without turning it up. Aunt Vivian apparently wasn't much interested in the radio. Mom and Uncle Bill would sit together and listen to all of the radio shows of the time. She mentioned several but she was talking faster than I was writing and the only one I remember her mentioning was Jack Benny.

The family also had a camp on Smith Lake, about two miles from Berrien Center but I will have to save those stories for another time.


Miriam Robbins said...

Apple, I've really been enjoying the way you've recorded both your own and your mother's memories in tandem! Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, I'm considering doing the same thing by asking my parents to share their memories of certain things and post them to my blog.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

is this all during the 1930 era?

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

These are my mother's memories so they would be from the late 1920's into the 1930's.

Anonymous said...

was all of this because u wanted to tell people how it was in the 1930's

Anonymous said...

how old were u when she told u this

Anonymous said...

how old wer u when ur mother told u this?

Courtney said...

That is so cool to know how some people used to live back then! I would love to read some more of your mother's stories! Does she have anymore?

2009 DREAM said...

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