Not sure where it came from, but I found myself asking co-workers the other day what their favorite prize was to find in their Cracker Jacks when they were little. I remember getting overly-excited about finding one of them there red and yellow whistles in mine. Temporary tattoos were always fun too. Once I got a little plastic charm that was a four-leaf clover that looked all gold-plated. I put it on a piece of string and wore it around my neck for awhile… I’m pretty sure I did that with the whistles too, since they had the little hole at the top for that purpose. I remember little magnifying glasses, too. Wish I’d held on to a few of those things, some collectibles can sell for up to $7,000. Sheesh.
I always saved the peanuts for last. And I loved when I would get one of those great big stuck-together clumps; they seemed to have more toffee.
Coincidentally, after having visited the Cracker Jack website, I learned that July 5th is the official day that we celebrate Cracker Jack Day… Make sure you don’t forget. I wonder if Hallmark is aware of the capital that could generate???
All this remembering has gotten me thinking about my childhood and the things we did to amuse ourselves. I was a Barbie freak when I got a little older but before that, a simple big old cardboard box afforded hours upon hours of entertainment in the form of a “cabin.” We’d cut holes in it for doors and windows and escape inside. I learned to cut the windows like an H on it’s side and then the windows could be opened like shutters. Sometimes we would decorate them with crayons or Magic Markers (which smelled soooo good… and which I couldn’t find a decent link for a picture of the good old fashioned kind.) I liked to draw curtains and flower boxes under the windows. And I always made sure to draw a doorbell by the door. We’d take blankets and pillows inside, some crackers and Kool-Aid and if we were real lucky, a flashlight. Sooner or later the thing would collapse, usually due to cutting one-too-many windows and then we would sadly say goodbye to our little home-away-from-home.
Some other fun things:
- Hanging blankets over the clothesline to make tents
- Lining up all the kitchen chairs to make a train
- Painting macaroni with watercolors and making necklaces
- Gathering up empty pop bottles and taking them to the corner store for penny-candy money
- Making a stand (again with the cardboard boxes) and selling Kool Aid
- Washing our bikes
- Playing “school”
- Marrying off Hazel to one of the neighborhood boys (yeah, really.)
- Melting Crayons in the sun
- Collecting rocks and coloring or painting them
- Catching lightning bugs
- “Painting” the front steps with a paintbrush and a bucket of water
- Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk (or playing Hopscotch)
Ok, my brain’s tired from all that traveling. What did you like to play with as a kid?