I cannot even begin to comment on the above picture. I was born in 1942 and most of my childhood occurred during the 40s and 50s. We didn’t even have a television set until I turned ten. It was more like a huge piece of furniture which housed a 10″ screen that displayed images in black and white.
Our entertainment took place in the backyard. I was the self-appointed playwright, costumer and director – an occupation which would follow me throughout my life. Our theater consisted of two sheets on a clothes line – secured tightly with clothes pins. This was the backdrop for our original productions. Most of the boys were recruited by bonking them on the head or pulling teeth. There were also promises of swords, guns and bow and arrows. The girls came willingly – each wanting to be the star of the show.
We made popcorn and lemonade to sell for refreshments and the neighbors paid two cents to see the magic of live theater, while sitting on a scratchy wool blanket on the grass.
Our shows lasted about fifteen minutes. No one ever remembered lines or cues. We were simply cute, just by being there and going through the motions. I learned at an early age that a director has to pull a performance out of the actors immediately, or they become easily distracted – especially if they’re five.
It’s funny how we were able to make fun times out of basically nothing but a couple sheets, some popcorn and lemonade. The families loved the time chatting with each other, even if the show lacked attention getting material. Times were so different then, but were they really? I think we all still enjoy time spent with our kids, with our neighbors and spouses. Sometimes the means to doing so, changes over time, but the basic thought is there.
I think kids will find joy in playing inside a cardboard box and banging on pots and pans. I don’t think it’s necessary for them to be so engaged in electronics at such an early age, but then, if I were a mom today, I would undoubtedly be encouraging it.
As decades come and go, we have seen tremendous changes in society, but I believe that creating things that stir our children’s imaginations will live with them forever.