It’s funny the conversations you have on the way to work in the morning. I don’t know exactly how my husband and I started on the topic, but, suddenly we were waxing nostalgic about the games we used to play when we were young children. Wow, that was a LONG time ago.
I grew up on a farm in a house right next door to my grandparents. What a great way to live life as a child. My parents worked and my grandparents were my babysitters. They had a huge yard that was fenced and my Granny was an avid gardener. She had this enormous bunch of honeysuckle bushes around the corner of her back yard. They completely covered the fence and spilled far out into the lawn. I can still remember their heavenly smell (and the bees). There was a magical thing about those honeysuckle bushes. For a small child who could burrow under the branches to the open space underneath, they were a playhouse. Some days the bushes were a submarine, others a cave. But, most days, they were my playhouse. I had an old blanket, some disposable pie pans, an old spoon or two, a bucket and, of course, a doll. I had a collie named Poochie that often joined me underneath the honeysuckle for a little company. It was about as perfect a playhouse as a farm kid in Small Town, USA could wish for back in the 1960’s.
All was great until I decided I needed a bit more space. I found the hedge clippers and decided to clear a larger space underneath the honeysuckle. It wasn’t a big deal until Granny noticed that a large patch of her honeysuckle died and she started to investigate. Poochie and I were evicted. Immediately.
We moved to the garden and set up housekeeping there. That’s when I discovered the magic of mudpies. I would dig in the dirt by the garden gate and scoop the soil into an old Folger’s coffee can. Some days I would add a little grass, others some twigs, maybe a few seeds or flowers if I could find them. (Not the ones from Granny’s flower bushes, though. We would have been evicted again.) I would mix this with water from the garden hose, put them in aluminum pot pie pans and set them to “bake” in the afternoon sun on top of the garden fenceposts. Wow, that was fun. I’d almost forgotten how much fun.
While they were baking, I’d while away the afternoon pretending to be a “fairy” and playing among the giant sunflowers Granny and Gramps grew in their garden. I would play “pioneer” and journey from one end of the garden to the other, encountering all manner of disasters in between. Actually, the worst disaster was running into the bees at the other end. My Gramps was a beekeeper. I, personally, hated the bees, but, loved the honey.
When the mudpies were done, I’d take them down and have a lovely teaparty with Poochie and my dolls. I was dirty and my clothes were a mess, but, I was very content in my imaginary world. It’s too bad kids today have so many toys to play with. They miss out on so much of the magic they carry in their imaginations. It’s a wonderful thing, although it occasionally causes trouble. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about playing hospital and what happens to your backside when you write numbers on imaginary hospital doors!
What was your favorite imaginary play when you were little?