I don’t have a lot of pictures of my siblings and me in the 1950s. Film was expensive then, for a poor family, and flash bulbs or flash attachments even more so. I suspect these photos were taken by my grandmother with her old Brownie camera.
Of course, in those days, kids didn’t have things like video games and phones and apps to keep them busy. We barely had TV!! In Seattle, it was 3 TV stations, and shows didn’t even come on the air until 4 pm.
So it was outside we went. We were fortunate to each have a bike, and that was a favorite toy. We had very few limits and rode those bikes for miles and miles. We explored the park, the cemetery, and the construction site for a new shopping mall they were building just south of us.
We played group games like hide and seek and even made up one game based on the movie “Invasion from Mars” which was popular then.
We played hopscotch and spent hours on the swings at the park, which also had a small wading pool where we would pretend to swim.
Across the street was a vacant lot where we played sandlot baseball and kick the can, and raced our bikes.
August was Seafair in Seattle and Hydroplane Season. We made little wooden hydroplane boats and tied them behind our bikes, and put cards in the bike spokes, so they sounded like an engine and raced all around the neighborhood.
One summer, one of the mothers became frustrated with the pack of kids roaming the neighborhood, so she told us to go and dig a hole to China. So we did. We spent hours digging a hole in her backyard, and those hours turned into days and then weeks. Finally, we realized we were not going to get there. So plan B was to turn it into our own private lake with an island in the middle. But as we tried to fill the hole up with water from the garden hose, the water just absorbed into the soil. After a frustrating day, we gave up on that idea too. The mom insisted we fill the hole back in, so we spent another week filling it in with the soil we had dug out earlier. By the time we finished, it was almost time for school to start. Our whole month of August wasted! At least for us. What did the mom get? A brand new garden area where we had turned and watered the soil for her, just in time to plant fall seeds such as sunflowers, poppies, cornflowers, nasturtiums, sweet peas, and pansies, all flowers we would have fun with later on. I think she had planned this all along.
Summertime meant Kool-Aid or lemonade stands where we would sell weak beverages that probably had too much sugar, and then we took our “profits” down to the local deli to buy Green River drinks, shoestring fries, and an Archie comic book.
We never saved out a dime or nickel for the ice cream man; instead, we would bug mom for some loose change for a Popsicle or Creamsicle.
One summer, it got into the 100s, and the old people all said it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. So we attempted to do that and just ended up making a mess that attracted ants. But then the fire department came to open up a fire hydrant, and we played in the spraying water.
All in all, I had a great childhood, and most of it was playing outside, especially in the summertime. In winter, if it snowed, we built snowmen and sledded down the hills and had snowball fights.