I read a blog post recently where the author was commenting about how kids today had so much electonic stimulation of what isn't real that "...they are forced to imagine what reality actually is". That's a really powerful and rather thought provoking concept. Like most of you, I grew up playing with the neighborhood kids and we all actively employed our imagination in almost all of our play times. And I am thankful that we had that in our lives.
I grew up in North Seattle and lived near the Puget Sound. Some of the best times we had as kids were when we went down to the big park by the water and played army. It’s a lot more developed now, but when we were kids it was a mainly a huge hillside of sand and Scotch broom bushes. You can check it out here:
…here's a view in google maps that shows it pretty well.
I remember that we would literally spend hours there playing war. Even though there was only half a dozen of us, we would scamper up and down the hills – hiding in scotch broom outcroppings, behind old rusted out cars, sidling up to the few lone trees – and taking every chance we could to “kill” each other. In our minds eye, we were all Vic Morrow on the TV show Combat! – taking out all the ‘krouts and Japs – not very PC today, but definitely the verbiage of our generation.
Mind you, we didn’t have fancy electronic guns that would make shooting noises for us. No – that was all up to us – and the kid who could make the best “pekuuu” (single shot)… or “pphthththth” (machine gun) sound was cooler than everyone, even if he did get killed. And some of the coolest guns we had were those that we hand made out of old broom handles, hunks of 2x2 and a mass of black electrical or duct tape.
I drove through our "battleground" last time I visited my family - it’s now full of nature trails, BBQ’s and playground platforms, and lots of amenities for the family. I’ll never forget that in my youth, it was a hillside full of imagination of intense warfare in a Wolrd War 2 setting, and made for endless hours of awesome memories.