I guess most of us of a certain age have played hop scotch, ringaleavio (sp?)_ and what we used to call “Girls are”. Hop Scotch is known world wide but I don’t know if Ringaleavio is even familiar to anyone although they may have played it as Hide and Seek. In fact my sister said we DID call it Hide and Seek and my memory is rusty. No kidding Mickey Rooney!
I will start with “Girls Are” which was my most enjoyable game. You wrote with chalk on the sidewalk and if you didn’t have chalk, you took a piece of coal from the coal bin in the basement and made a huge oblong square. Then you made lines across the square until you had about 16 even squares – eight side by side. The next necessity was a tennis ball which had to have lots of bounce. You filled in each square with a category like girl’s names, boy’s names, cities, states, colors etc. You had to start at one end of the oblong and bounce your tennis ball squarely in the center of each square and sing out “girls are Mary, Susan, Sally, etc. If you missed a square or ran out of names, you were “out”.
There was another more challenging game which I don’t remember the name of but you started with the letter A and sang out as you bounced a ball, “ A my name is Alice, my boyfriend’s name is Al. We come from Alabama and we sell Apples.” You went as far as you could in the progression of the alphabet until you made a mistake or ran out of ideas.. Thus you were also out.
Ringaleavio was what I called the “athletic’ game. One person was it and had to close their eyes while everyone else ran and hid. The It person had to find and tag you but if you could sneak back in and run for the designated pole, touch it and shout “Ringaleavio” you were the victor and didn’t have to be “it” next time.
Ringaleavio involved running and that was very athletic as far as I was concerned. I remember once running for the pole with my arm outstretched so I could touch the pole and completely missing it, landing on the ground after my face hit the pole. I was almost knocked out! Everyone else laughed. I didn’t!. I carried around a shiner for a couple of weeks!
We also played softball but I was so bad at it that no one wanted me on their team. I was usually the last one picked to go to a team that was very disgruntled about it. When I got up to hit, the third baseman would just hold out his glove as I invariably hit straight to third base no matter what I did.
Of course there was sleigh riding (some call it sled riding) and you came down our big hill in the street. The plows usually left a great pack of snow on the street and people would put chains on their cars to drive without sliding on the ice. This made for a perfect surface for the sled runners.
If a car was coming a person would shout “car, car, C.A.R.” and the next person down would shout it out and so on until everyone got out of the way.
We had a lot of fun and I am sure we were in great shape. Whenever I see the movie “a Christmas Story” about the little boy who wants a b b gun for Christmas, it brings me right back to my childhood and the type of neighborhood we lived in.
Today, of course, kids don’t do any of that. They may have organized sports but I never see any kids outside playing these games. They usually are on their Xbox, game boy or whatever, sitting in the house. What fun they have missed!