For our current issue on How Children Play Around the World, we asked several authors and illustrators to tell us about their Memories of Playtimes Past. Together, they paint a vivid picture of childhood around the world and reveal the power of imagination – something that still plays such an important role in all their lives as adults, and in the lives of kids today. Illustrator Mandana Sadat, whose own contribution is just wonderful, was struck after reading the whole article by the similarities in the different experiences of play – do read Aline’s post discussing this.
The first author up is Tanita Davis:
Growing up the youngest of three sisters (in Martinez, California) meant being left out of the older girls’ games. To placate me, I was named Mom’s “helper” and my playtimes combined chores and daydreaming. I would sit on the back porch and shuck corn from the garden, or weed the front yard – and then taking the silk from the corn, combine it with dirt and water, and make “pies” for the dog to eat (Our poor dog. She really did eat them.), or take the “milk” from the stems of the dandelions I was supposed to be eradicating from the front yard (after blowing all of the milkweed clocks and sufficiently re-seeding them throughout the lawn), and use it as glue to adhere dry weeds to the “head” of a cornhusk doll.
Because I was a quiet kid, I got away with a lot – climbing the tree next to my father’s shed, and making a tree-house of sorts on the roof, complete with its own chamber pot (Oh, I got in trouble when my mother found out about THAT) and store of slightly mildew books scavenged from a teacher’s throw-away pile. One summer I played with the hose and made carefully dried adobe “moccasins” that were no more than ten or twelve layers of clay mud I wore on the bottom of my feet as shoes. They lasted for a surprisingly long time before they cracked. As the layers dried, I would lie on my back in the yard and listen to the drone of the planes going to and from the Air Force base, and imagine they were taking people to adventures, just like I would have someday.
And Belle Yang brings the article to a flourishing close:
I was born on the subtropical island of Taiwan. The front yard was the rice paddies, alive with tadpoles like music notes on sheet music. The Sleeping Dragon Mountain, exploding with firecracker red azaleas, was my backyard. Rivulets, home to small fish and crustaceans, came rushing down the hills. My barefoot friends and I looked for tiny crabs as they crawled among the stones, dappled by sunlight and the motion of wind in the acacia.New Online Cheap Shoes Sale New Best Running Shoes Sale Reef Sandals Sale Sandals Resorts Sale Shoes Sandals Sale New Sneakers Shoes Sale
We caught the crabs and tied white sewing thread to one of their many legs. We took them for walks on the paved paths of the schoolyard, where my parents taught high school. I was delighted with my pet that could only walk sideways.
Do read the rest of the Memories of Playtimes Past – between them, Alan Gratz, Mandana Sadat, Jorge Argueta, Neni Sta Romana Cruz, Chris Cheng, Demi and Larry Loyie, along with Tanita and Belle quoted above, will evoke a smile, or even a laugh out loud – and certainly memories of one’s own childhood… And if you’d care to share some of those with us, we’d love to hear them!