When I was a little girl, we didn’t have all of the amazing electronic gadgets that kids play with now. I remember playing outside in the summer, climbing trees and investigating all the hidden nooks and crannies hidden everywhere around out neighborhood. There were old stone fireplace grills down by the lake, and of course, we had to find out what was inside those chimneys! One of the greatest challenges was to see if we could climb up to the top of a cold, black chimney (about 4 feet off the ground), get inside of it and then slide down to the bottom where all the ashes were. Little Santas, I suppose, trying to figure out how he really did manage to come down the chimney at home. Now sliding down a cold but coal-black chimney was a daring adventure, but the damage we did to our clothing apparently did not occur to us.
When the leaves began to tumble down all around us, we loved to rake up huge piles and jump into them. We probably didn’t think about things like bugs and snakes, but we soon discovered that encountering various critters in those huge piles of leaves was a very real possibility. But did we care? Absolutely not! Collecting and pressing leaves in old books, gathering up a bag full of acorns to turn into little dolls, and swinging on the tire swing out over the hill in the back yard were all very exciting activities for little girls.
And in the winter, one of my favorite things to occupy a snowy afternoon was to take a cardboard box and flatten it to use it to slide down the hill by our house. The best part of using a flattened cardboard box for sliding around on the snow is that, once the cardboard gets really cold, you can take a magnifying glass and look at the snowflakes as they fall. If you lay down on your tummy, on top of a piece of frozen cardboard, you can look through your magnifying glass at snowflakes as they fall, because if the cardboard is cold enough, the snowflakes won’t melt right away. Great fun for little girls, playing outside in the snow, on a wintry day. But that was before we had all of the things that kids have to keep them entertained these days!
Another one of my very favorite activities when I was a little girl was playing with paper dolls. Sometimes I had real paper dolls (but I have no clue where I would have gotten “real” paper dolls!), but mostly I would create my own. One way to do that is to cut out pictures from magazines of beautiful ladies, glue them onto a piece of cardboard (we really did get great mileage out of a piece of cardboard!), and then draw, color, and cut out a wardrobe for them. I remember spending hours on a Saturday afternoon, mostly when it was raining or perhaps a blizzard, because if it was just snowing, playing outside would have been my first choice, sitting at the table in our living room playing with paper dolls.
I suppose one of the reasons that was so much fun for me was because I could create every beautiful outfit imaginable for my beautiful ladies. And for a little girl who didn’t know what it would be like to be able to have a brand-new, beautiful dress, I had my own little world where everything was possible!
So that was also probably why one of my favorite books as a little girl was, “The Hundred Dresses,” by Eleanor Estes.
“Never out of print since its 1944 publication, this tender story offers readers of all ages a timeless message of compassion and understanding. At its heart is Wanda Petronski, an immigrant girl in an American school, who is ridiculed for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. When she tells her classmates that she has one hundred dresses at home, she unwittingly triggers a game of teasing that eventually ends in a lesson for all.”
When I think about the life of children in the 21st century, it makes me a sad to think that many children will never know about these kinds of childhood experiences. I’m not sure that they should all experience shimmying down a cold, coal-black chimney, but missing out on all of the fun of a simple piece of cardboard is definitely unfortunate ;o) Thinking about the fun times, growing up in a rural, farm community helps me keep it all in perspective when the going gets tough these days. But the good thing is, I’m not afraid of being poor, because I’ve done that before and it hasn’t killed me yet! So we can face each day with a sense of wonder and joy, even if the most exciting entertainment we have to anticipate is sliding down an icy hill on an old cardboard box and discovering the beauty of God’s snowflakes. Life is good! Treasure the gifts of today and share your favorite things with those you love.
If you would like to share some of your favorite things with us in the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop, please link up here or at Katherine’s Corner. Then take a minute to visit the other participant’s in this week’s Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.