One of the nice things about being raised in Elmhurst, IL by parents who knew the Depression and knew War and knew penny-watching from the womb, was our toy status. My two brothers and I didn’t have many of them…bikes and baseball stuff significant exceptions. What we had was time to play. This we had in abundance.
So, basically, I did two things, both quite nice:
1. Played with items meant for other things.
..like living-in-the-cardboard-refrigerator-box, scratching hopscotch on the sidewalk with stones, stringing rubber bands into a long necklace for Chinese jump rope. My brothers had a game I could have lived without but it was clever. They yelled my name. When I turned to see what was up, they’d say “think fast!” while throwing a little ball at my head, which of course hit me, in the head. I was unharmed and it made them laugh so it had a minor fun element to it.
2. Stalked girls with cool toys.
Jan had a surrey, for instance. This was a bike but it had a cloth canopy top and a place for a passenger. Mary had, get this, a TRAMPOLINE. I waited hours in her yard to get just one jump. One toy was a just-my-size wood house somebody’s Dad had built for somebody in somebody’s back yard. I never met the girl. I saw it while walking home from school. I saw it every day I walked home from school. I NEVER saw a girl in it. This waste of such magnificence finally got to me and one day I snuck into it. Okay, I BROKE IN. If I wasn’t terror-struck about getting caught, I might be in there still.