I was fortunate to grow older in neighborhoods that had lots of kids in them. Before we left Ahoskie there were probably 40 kids in a one block area. We were outside all the time… from the time the sun came up until our parents sounded really mad calling us in after dark.
Summer was the best because we would play all kinds of games. There were 4 main games that we played…. hide and seek, kick ball, kick the can, a game called Annie Over which involved throwing a ball over the top of a house to a team on the other side. They had to catch it then come around the house and tag the team members on your side before they got around to the back of the house. I know it sounds lame but it was a lot of fun. Actually they all were fun. We would have marathon games that went on until it got so dark you couldn’t see the ball.. and that is when we would play hide and seek. It was the best.
In ’69 when we moved to Elizabeth City the neighborhood we moved in had mostly boys… and most of them were several years older than me. Obviously the games matured too. The main games we would play were “Roll the bat” and football. I quickly learned that this football wasn’t for the faint of heart. This was serious, NFL contract, kinda serious. I realized this the day that Kenny Wozilewski broke Keith Beams arm during a rather physical game. Not only was the play rough, there were hedgerows down one side of the field that we played in that if you weren’t careful you would find yourself pulling shrub branches out of your ears. But even then, it was the best time.
I think about kids today… they never get to experience much of that sort of thing… when all you have is a can…. or a ball…. and a bunch of friends. It was simple but boy, was it a blast! I guess at least the kids today don’t have to explain a shirt ripped in half or get yelled at for getting blood all over the place.