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Busy ’30s kids kept out of trouble

Published 5:51pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another thing we kids did for some entertainment was to look for empty brown shells of locusts stuck on trees after they left.
One of the games we youngsters used to play was called School. This was done on the front cement steps of Gene’s house.
You started on the ground step and, as you passed a grade, you moved up a step, so I guess this is why we called it school.
Another game was Mother May I. And remember Stoplight?
I also recall how we used to throw a tennis or golf ball up against Gene’s bottom cement step and catch it as it came back.
Orchard Street was just gravel back then.
The 500 block in front of my house and Gene’s was our touch football field.
Somehow, I had a football. Not a real one, but a rubber one that was the real size and had pretty good weight to it. It had to be blown up by inserting a needle that screwed into one’s bicycle tire pump.
Our neighbor Dave Mosier could throw a pass darn near the length of the 500 block of Orchard.
We played cars as we sat on the porch swing at Luthringer’s house. We took turns as each car came by on Wayne Street. Gene Biek and I used to sit on the curb in front of Fred Patchett’s house on Front Street (old M-40) and look for Michigan license plates, as the first two letters on the plate were the county the plate was bought.
Another thing common in the 1930s was to walk along the curbs on Front Street to find old matchbook covers for our collections (we used to find a lot of these in the downtown gutters).
At one time I had two large drawers full of them, but I don’t have them anymore (a lot of people collect them these days).
We also used to collect the old gum wrappers and cigarette packages to add to our tinfoil ball.
Another favorite thing for us to do was play a game at night we called Pocketbook.
We put an old purse tied to a heavy black thread out on the sidewalk not too far from a street lamp and the other end of the string through a hole in a missing brick of the wall of Fred Patchett’s front porch on Front Street where we kids hid.
When a walker reached down to pick up the purse, we jerked the strong and laughed.
As you see, we kids in the ’30s never had time to get in real trouble.
My friends and I are thankful we didn’t.


— “Cardinal Charlie” Gill

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