Ah, to be a kid again. Not a worry in the world. Sleep, eat, play, repeat. I remember counting down the days until school was out and looking forward to spending endless hours at the pool and if we weren’t swimming, we were running through the mean streets of Western Springs, playing school, directing plays, singing for whatever poor soul would listen, climbing trees to get into the McGuire’s house even though the front door worked perfectly fine and spending endless hours outside. We were free. We used our imaginations. The extent of our exposure to technology was Nintendo’s Power Pad and it was an afterthought at best. We didn’t call to see if the kids down the road could come over and play. We knocked on their doors. We played into the night and slept like babies. We were healthy. We were happy. We were the kids of summer. My dream as mom and now a woman who looks back on her childhood with the fondest of memories is to give that very same gift back to my own. I am obsessed with the idea that technology could very much hinder this generation of kids from experiencing summer like I did. I want nothing more than for my kids to look back on their youth and recall memories filled with lemonade stands, sunny on their nosies and scrapes and bruises on every square inch of their body. Those are the moments I will cherish forever.
Now, enough of all this sappy stuff. Let’s have some fun! I have compiled a list of most of the toys the Massarella clan played with at any given moment on any given summer day. Some of the items I am sharing have HILARIOUS stories attached to them. But what is even better, is they still make this stuff, well, minus one thing, and Amazon is waiting for you to fill your cart. So sit back, relax and enjoy, while I share with you all of the things the Sisters of TSP tinkered with when the sun was hot and the skies were clear.
The Big Wheel – If you were a kid in the 90’s, there was one of these bad boys in your garage or at the very least, the garage next door. We used to ride this thing like a bunch of animals. If you were on one, better hope you weren’t trying to sneak up on someone, because the rigid plastic wheels didn’t make do for a sneak attack.However, they sure made for some great skidding! I guess that made us “skids of the 90’s.”
The Jump Rope – This right here is nearly identical to the one we had growing up as kids. The best part, we rarely used it for jumping. We would attach this bad boy to every mobile vehicle we had on property. It was used more as a tow line than an exercise apparatus. If we weren’t ripping down the middle of our quiet suburban street behind some sweet ass banana seat bike, it was being swung over head more like a lasso as a warning call to the little sibs to stay away. What kid doesn’t want to do that?
Not Just Any Skateboard, The Nash – It is important this four wheeled death toy come next in line. Why? Because this exact item was very often what we attached our jump rope to that was then tied to the back of a bike. We would sit, because no one could skateboard, and Ole Iron Foot, aka The Second Sister, who had some power, would rip down the road so fast we would create a wake. On the danger meter – this particular thing we did was high. But nothing was as dangerous as this next outdoor game our mom thought the kids would enjoy.
Lawn Darts – This very toy is why our mom was the coolest bitch in town. She brought home an actual legit weapon for us kids to have some fun with in the yard. And don’t think for one minute we actually attempted to play according to the rules. Lawn darts at our house looked a little bit like this guy. PS. This toy has been banned. I wonder why.
The Pogo Stick – Here we have a classic outdoor children’s toy. It squeaked and it squawked and it kept our asses busy for all of about five minutes. Unless of course there was a little pogo stick wager. In that case, GAME ON. Side note. My daughter was playing with one at a party we were at last weekend. I was going to show off my skills, but couldn’t. I exceeded the weight limit. There was no bounce in site. I guess I am heading back to Saddle Bag City.
Pogo Ball – This right here was all the rage one summer. The pogo ball was nearly impossible unless you had my husbands calves. If you could squeeze your stems hard enough to hold the ball between your ankles, you were lucky to get a couple hops before you tossed the damn thing in the back corner of the garage never to be seen again.
The Rope Swing – I must say, these days there are far cooler outdoor apparati one can hang from a tree, but in the old days we had Little Suzy’s tire swing. Let me tell you, that thing provided us with hours of laughs and hundreds of stomach dropping spins….until the day we broke it. We probably should have knocked on the door and come clean. Instead, we ran. I guess I should clarify. We were playing on Little Suzy’s swing. Little Suzy was nowhere in site.
Our Mom’s Fucking Windstar – Yeah, so, this wasn’t exactly a toy we were supposed to play with. But, when there are five rascals running around shit can get a little cray. Our youngest sister Andrea decided she was going to hop in the driver’s seat one summer day and fiddle with all there is to fiddle with in a van. The next thing we see is our baby sister, baby being the poignant word, probably 8, backing the car across the street and parked ever so nicely on the neighbor’s front lawn. Chalk that up as one of many of our favorite stories from back in day. That vehicle was later crashed by me, smack dab into the back of my friend’s dad’s Lincoln Town Car. It was pretty much junk after that. I was sent to college with that hunk of metal, probably as punishment. I however, reveled in driving that bitch on the side yard, through the front yard and over the curb honking as I bid my roommates goodbye. I was often heckled by my peers as I drove away. Daily, I heard the words, “Nice fucking van.” And in response I honked. Yes, the horn was broken. The thought of the sound it made makes me laugh out loud to this very day. As I type this tears are streaming down my face.
The Skip It – This little ditty was not my favorite outdoor piece. However, the Midsis got some major time in on it. That is, when she wasn’t hunting vampires down the road at the church.
The Aluminum Can – You are probably thinking, wtf? Not if you were a kid of the 90’s…or before. Back in the old days an aluminum can provided a pretty good time if you knew how to play a game called Kick The Can. We did! Our dad brought this little outdoor treat all the way from the west side of Chicago where I am confident the can was all they had to play with. That was in fact after they walked a mile home from school…in their bare feet. I promise, after a long weekend at the Anderson’s we could provide our entire town with a can for all to enjoy a friendly game ALL SUMMER LONG!
That’s all she wrote folks! Happy Summer!
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