Fremont County, Iowa

Kick the Can, Mud Pies, Hide & Seek
by Sherry Perkins
View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of March 7, 2017

As youngsters (1945-1955), my siblings and myself were never bored or had “time on our hands”. How did we ever survive without TV, cell phones or other electronic games?

My brother spent many days in the seat of the old saddle thrown over a wooden sawhorse or crate. He and his trusty steed galloped all over in search of the bad guys. Once in awhile his make believe horse threw him off but he always got back in the saddle. With toy gun in hand, he kept law and order. He and his horse never covered many miles but in his imagination, he rode border to border.

A great way to not get bored in summertime was to explore a drafty old barn that drew us everyday. Searching for baby kittens or just jumping around in the hay mow filled many an afternoon.

Earlier generations of children entertained themselves with an iron hoop which they rolled down the road with a stick. We could never find a hoop but we kicked plenty of cans around and as far as possible.

Every time our parents moved to a different house, the first order of business was to locate a place for a playhouse. Sometimes it was in an old garage or under a shade tree. But there had to be a playhouse where mud pies and baby dolls went hand in hand. Creating this place could take several days and was probably the most fun. First you cleared the area of trash and sticks. Then you hunted old boards or boxes to make a table and chairs. Beat up old pans and broken dishes from mom’s kitchen were moved in along with a container of water and dirt to make mud pies. My favorite dolls were invited to my parties.

One time a cousin, a friend and myself had our own grocery store on our enclosed unused front porch. Each of our mom’s empty cans and boxes were our inventory. We put these on shelves made from scrap boards and used play money. We spent many rainy days taking turns being either the customer or the clerk. The hunt for new products to fill our store was part of the fun. We sometimes pretended we were the “Boxcar Children” after reading the book.

Summertime found Gene Autry, Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger riding into our yard to do battle with Indians, bank robbers and kidnappers. Every Christmas found new guns and holsters under our tree because the previous year’s holsters had been lost. Tree trunks became the mountains and rocks where outlaws lived. We rounded them up and stuck them into the center of an old lilac bush which was our jail. We never seemed to tire of playing cowboys and Indians.

Playing hide and seek ended a day of summer fun. Our little sister couldn’t count very high so we had to scramble to hide before she hollered “ready or not---Here I come!” It was always easy to find her because she always giggled. As the sun set we ended a warm summer day by catching lightening bugs. Then to bed to get ready for another day of fun.

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