Unlike today’s’ children and young adults whose family room entertainment consists of computers, DVDS, androids, Nintendo Wii, and 900 cable TV channels, Baby Boomers and their parents spent childhood hours indoors with less sophistication and a lot more imagination.
As rain diminished hopes of playing outside, you called your neighborhood friends to come over using the single household phone; some families had two. If the line was busy, you could be delayed for awhile since call waiting and voicemail were not a luxury. You had to wait or walk. If your telephone line was a party line, you could amuse yourself by listening to total stranger conversations but watch out if your Mom or Dad caught you.
Once the troops gathered and if you had a basement, you could play Blind Mans Bluff where you turned down the lights, blindfolded the selected member and the one who was it, chased everyone around the room. But this game was more fun with a lot of people.
If a girls’ home had a blackboard, playing teacher was always a choice. Younger girls played in their cardboard or metal kitchens making plastic food entrees while ironing with their fake iron and ironing board; we wanted to be just like Mom.
If you were older and competitive, you could play your pinball machine or ping pong if you were lucky to own these. If you didn’t have a basement but a garage, it was a great time to be creative and pull all the garbage left over from Dad’s workshop. Build the neighborhood scooter that was shared by all or the clubhouse you always wanted.
If space was an issue, then it was time to pull out the board game collection which could take an hour of argument to decide which one you wanted to play.
Monopoly and Life could be the most time-consuming while Yahtzee, Clue and Sorry was less complicated and available today for the computer generation. Of course, let’s not forget Probe and Scrabble if you wanted to really show off your intelligence and Operation if you were planning on being a doctor, had a steady hand or just liked to watch the patient’s nose light up while buzzing. Booby Trap was another game for strategic moves. I loved Mouse Trap but always had a problem setting it up correctly.
Some of my all time favorites were Mystery Date, Miss Popularity, Concentration, Lie Detector and Password the later a TV game show with Betty White and husband Allan Luden.
As a younger child, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders , Go to the Head of the Class made a stormy Saturday more appealing; we all wanted to fantasize about hillsides filled with chocolate and being rewarded for our good deeds.
If you were a young card shark, then it was Old Maid or Go Fish. Returning champions played Poker, Canasta, Gin Rummy and Pinochle.
Picture courtesy of Time Warp Toys