Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(J) Days of Jacks and Jump Ropes



Before there were such things as video technology and luxurious shopping malls, there were dolls and board games and other pastimes to satisfy a child. Imagination and teamwork both played a part in the activities of my childhood. We were seldom bored, always active, and content with a game of hide-and-seek on cool summer evenings.

Looking back, I now see that those were some of the best days of my life...

There was something almost euphoric about the smell of freshly mowed grass- and the way it stuck to our bare feet with the help of morning dew. The feel of the soft clover between our toes as we ran faster than lightning to reach "base". 

By day we got sunburned and dusty - and walked miles without complaint. We picked gooseberries and blackberries and roadside flowers for our mother. And at night we were surrounded by fireflies and moonlight and sweet air that made our cheeks glow.


I remember the time that my sister Linda and I got neon jump ropes. Whether it was Easter or Christmas, or a rare splurge at the dime store- we were overjoyed and thankful for our exciting new toy. I can still see that photograph in my mind...A black and white picture that someone snapped of us as we stood in the front yard.
We had on matching black stretch pants and sweat shirts, innocent smiles, and we were clinging to our jump ropes. I believe one was green and one orange- made of a super neon plastic that dazzled our friends and family.

Yes, we were cool...jumping our way across the back yard, down the road, on the porch and through the fields. We had contests for the fastest jumper, the longest jumper and the best jumper . We jumped with a skip technique, a hopping method, and even attempted figure eights when there was a soft place to fall.
Those jump ropes were the first thing we picked up in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. And we treasured them with all of our little girl hearts- until the next toy came along to replace them.


 Linda and I loved playing jacks, too, and soon spent days and days perfecting our eye/hand coordination in a round of competition. The smooth wooden floors in our bedroom and the slick linoleum in utility room made a perfect platform for our bouncing rubber ball and metal jacks. I can still hear the clink of those jacks as we rattled them in our fists and tossed them out like silver stars on our play area. There is still the echo of us announcing "onesies, twosies, and around the world"...


I've always wondered where we laid down those jump ropes or played a game of jacks for the last time. Did we know we'd never skip down that sawdust road again or toss that orange-red ball into the air ? Did we realize that grass would cease to stick to our bare feet- the air would grow less sweet- and our days stretch into adulthood before we knew it?


In my heart I'm still jumping rope...still skipping down County Farm Road with my sister Linda...our long hair blowing in the summer breeze...and our laughter filling the air.

18 comments:

kelworthfiles said...

I guess if nothing else, your post reminded me to live in the moment instead of always anticipating the future or remembering the past, so thanks for that!

mybabyjohn said...

Wonderful wonderful memories. Ah the days of skipping ropes and jacks, rubber balls and hula hoops and second hand bikes. You could amuse yourself for hours. We were healthy too.

Cathy said...

Wonderful memories! Mine are not so much jump ropes and jacks as they are playing dolls and dress up. My mother always wanted to catch my sisters and I dressed up and tidy before we left for church. My dad was the one to grab the camera when we had dress up clothes, mom's high (? not so very high!) heels and lipstick on our faces. What a treasure both types of photos are today. Because I can see it with my eyes, I'm sure I can remember it in my mind's eye as well. Those were wonderful days of childhood and I'd wish for all children those same kinds of fun memories. Thanks for the a wonderful reminder this morning!

Me said...

I love the memory posts you do. It brings back happy thoughts of a simpler time. :D

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

What sweet memories! I have a sister and so many of the childhood snapshots in my mind have her at my side. Thanks for sharing this!

sisterlinda said...

Well,you sure yanked at those heart strings this morning! Thanks for some warm memories of our childhood days. We had the BEST times together!

Where did we lay those jacks and jumpropes for the last time? Who knows! When did we play are last game of Miss GoobieGob..swing the Statue...Red Rover...Miss America...Army...softball..Barbies....climbing the Monkey Tree?

Thanks for all the great childhood memories that will be in my heart forever and ever! Love you...

Sherrie said...

Hi!
Wonderful story for "J". And I remember those days. Jump Ropes and Jacks, wonderful games to play. Have a great day!

Sherrie
Just Books

Name: Luana Krause said...

I have the same memories! Jacks and jump rope. Loved it. I also enjoyed hopscotch and singing in the playground swing. Higher and higher, like I was flying.

Diann said...

I loved jacks and jumpropes! And now with a 3 year old little girl, I get to relive those moments! yay for me. LOL

Margaret Hall said...

Such a wonderful posting for J...Ahhh, yes, jumpin' rope, with the rhymes that we chanted, learning to "run in" to a large rope area!! And, jacks were one of my FAVES! My favorite was "pigs in the pen"..lol...Indeed, our worlds changed from those calm, warm, sweet days of jacks and jumpropes..*sigh*...Lovely days, and you captured them wonderfully..Thanks for bein' YOU, Rae!

Jan Morrison said...

today I played 'mother may I' with my grandkids. I have taught them jacks and will bring them out again. it is hard to fight against the technology in the world of play but I will continue to seduce with ropes and balls and arcane rules...
Jan Morrison

GAIL said...

I have often wondered what happened to my tricycle after riding it so many dusty miles. Or my first bike...did I ever ride it again? did I give it away to a smaller child? I am afraid I have no memory of them after so long. But I will always have the wonderful memories in my minds eye as I went flying down the road in front of our home. Maybe that is why my husband and I both are riding bikes again at our age. And I do feel the same fresh breeze blowing against my face as I fly down the hill with glee and a smile on my childish face.
Thanks Rae, Gail

ihaveabackbone said...

Brings back great memories, also fo Big Wheels and Hula Hoops.

Arlee Bird said...

Ah yes! I remember too. The jacks were made of metal then. It was a very unpleasant experience to step on one of those jacks in one's bare feet and I did that a few times. When it was cold out or bad weather my sister and I would often stay inside and work on our stamp collections. Do any kids collect stamps anymore?

Those were good old days for sure.

Lee
Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Michelle in a shell said...

Lovely post. I wonder these things as well- when and why did I decide to put down my jump rope and pogo stick!

Trisha said...

I loved playing elastics when I was a kid :)

Joanne said...

You brought back such great memories for me. My Mom and I would sit on the floor playing jacks all the time when I was little. Thanks! Blessings, Joanne

Kate Dunkin said...

This was such a great post! This makes me want to go buy a Jump Rope and some jacks today! Thank you for sharing this with us, really brought me down memory lane.