“I would get up on a Saturday morning when we weren’t in school. We used to play with what we called a Spaldeen rubber ball. And you would throw it starting off at the red brick, then the white brick, red brick, white brick. And then, you know, you would win I guess if you threw it all the way up there.”
“Literally I would leave 9, 10 o’clock in the morning and I would come back at 5 o’clock in the evening, exhausted. I had been running all.. day.. long. But it was a happy exhaustion. And by the way, I learned something also about democracy. We didn’t have much adult supervision. So the games were all determined not by adult cultures, [but by] kids themselves. So we would choose up a team. There was no other person dictating anything. We worked out our own rules. It was a very interesting way to grow up.”
– Bernie Sanders with Scott Pelley (CBS News) in Brooklyn, NYC, NY
FEBRUARY 10, 2016, 6:51 PM
“I was born in Chicago, but when I was about four, I moved to where I grew up, which was Park Ridge, Illinois. It was your typical 1950s suburb. Big elm trees lined the streets, meeting across the top like a cathedral. Doors were left open, with kids running in and out of every house in the neighborhood.
“We had a well-organized kids’ society and we had all kinds of games, playing hard every day after school, every weekend, and from dawn until our parents made us come in at dark in the summertime. One game was called chase and run, which was a kind of complex team-based hide-and-seek and tag combination. We would make up teams and disperse throughout the entire neighborhood for maybe a two- or three-block area, designating safe places that you could get to if somebody was chasing you. There were also ways of breaking the hold of a tag so that you could get back in the game. As with all of our games, the rules were elaborate and they were hammered out in long consultations on street corners. It was how we spent countless hours.
“We had so much imaginative game-playing time—just unstructured fun time. I had the best, most wonderful childhood: being outside, playing with my friends, being on my own, just loving life. When I was a kid in grade school, it was great. We were so independent, we were given so much freedom. But now it’s impossible to imagine giving that to a child today. It’s one of the great losses as a society. But I’m hopeful that we can regain the joy and experience of free play and neighborhood games that were taken for granted growing up in my generation. That would be one of the best gifts we could give our children.”
The quotation is from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “An Idyllic Childhood,” in S. A. Cohen (Ed.), The Games We Played: A Celebration of Childhood and Imagination. Simon & Schuster, 2001.
As mentioned at Peter Gray’s blog