Childhood nostalgia

Been lurking this place for a long time before I even registered and I’m still never quite sure if I’m starting a topic in the right forum or not, so my apologies if this is in the wrong place.

What I’m hoping for is this - the ultimate nostalgia bomb in the form of remembering, discussing and waxing poetic about things we used to do as kids. Whenever you were a kid, be it the 40s or the 90s or in between, all is welcome here. I’m not at all looking for pop culture references or bands or TV shows ('Remember that band so-and-so?), but rather games we used to play, things you used to do, experiences you can share from childhood that make nearly everyone that reads your post go ‘Oh, I remember that! I used to do that too!’.

I’m hoping for some reminiscent discussion on things like…

  • Making forts out of the cushions in your living room
  • When getting jynxed at school was a big deal to you
  • Carving into the desks, what you wrote and the profound gibberish you read
  • Walking away from a game of Bloody Knuckles feeling like a survivor limping off Omaha Beach
  • The frantic wiping of your greasy fingers on your pants when your buddy handed you the controller for your turn at the video game
  • Riding along in your parents car and imagining a superhero/tiger/skateboarder blasting along beside you, doing flips and tricks
  • When trading snacks at lunch was a serious part of your day
  • That private smile inside your head when everyone’s walking into class and the girl you’re crushing on is wearing your favorite dress she has
  • The pride at being the first kid picked off the lineup on the wall by the captain of that day’s recess football team
  • When coming back from the recess or the bathroom to find a note on your desk was the most exciting thing you could imagine
  • Locker Cleanout Day and all the amazing things you thought were lost forever coming back to you
  • What gun noises did you prefer for your army men? Chk-chk-chk? Bzzzzzzhhh? Pew pew pew?
  • Pressing the palms of your hands into your closed eyes to enjoy the ‘fireworks’

…and so on.

These are the kinds of things I’m after. Anyone is welcome to contribute, and the only real rule in here is that, while stories are encouraged, the goal is to name as many of these kinds of faithful childhood standbys as we can, not to tell a story that really only pertains to you. As long as it is a story others are likely to relate to, it’s fair game. This is a thread where I hope we can name as many relatable aspects of childhood and all that entails. We’ve all read a few posts here from time to time that instantly draw up memories of ME TOO! scenarios in your head, and I intend this thread to provide more of those moments than any other, and discussion about these kinds of moments as well.

So don’t be shy, how many of these kinds of things can you remember? You can type your own list, or tell a story about one thing in particular, or ask if anyone else did the same thing you did - I encourage everyone to contribute if they feel they can. Happy moments, sad moments, inspiring or embarrassing, gross and disturbing or beautiful and pleasant. Don’t be shy!

Saturday morning cartoons.
Seeing who could hold their breath underwater the longest.
Blowing into the NES cartridge.
Seeing the dust particles in the rays of sunlight coming through the window.
First day of summer.

Trying to make the longest arc while peeing.

The perception of time passing…when you are a kid, summer days seem to go on forever. One of my fond memories is of making stuff a summer day camp (weaving “gimp”, making ceramic junk, etc.) on those lazy summer days.
Like I said, school opening was a million years away!

Those are all good ones!

I thought a bit about words when we were younger. Remember the first time you nailed a tricky word on a spelling test? First time you got a good mark on something you had to write and come up with yourself? There’s also the fun of looking up dirty words in the dictionary and the rush the first time you actually said, likely with instant butterflies, words like shit and fuck.

Anyone got any more? I know we all must have a few!

So, there was a family who was into some sort of business that involved big-assed tires, the sort you find on very large dump trucks and stuff.

One day they left one of these tires in their driveway. It wasn’t on the rim or anything, so it was hollow… why, I dawningly realized, it was big enough for a kid (I was 7, brother was 9) to get in!

But that wouldn’t have been safe, so I quietly went home.


Getting my brother, my mind was feverish with excitement - could two people get in the tire at the same time? Which hill should we roll down? Who should go first (which wasn’t a question in my mind at all, but apparently was an issue with my brother, who didn’t find the tire, who didn’t come up with the fun ideas, and, therefore, had absolutely no claim to going first… those of you with siblings, you understand, I’m sure. I’m getting pissed just reliving it. :wink: )

After I asserted my dominance (again), I get in the tire. I’m taking it for a test spin, really, nothing much… just roll it down the neighbors driveway, a slight slope which will probably require my brother to push me a bit as to gather momentum. Once we get it right, we’ll take the tire to some real hills and have some real fun. (The concept of “property rights” wasn’t apparently fixed in my mind, yet.)

Unfortunately, there was a slight mis-communication between my brother and I. My “gentle push” somehow translated into “you run with the tire, trying to make it go as fast as you can.” So my brother runs with the tire, spinning it up as quickly as he could. I shoot across the street, into the across-the-street neighbors yard, crashed through his front door destroying it all to hell, with the tire bouncing up and inward somehow (love those quirky laws of physics!), coming to a tilted halt in their living room, everybody in shock as their dinner was interrupted by the front of their house being destroyed by an industrial tire with a 7 year-old inside of it.

I still remember hearing the father saying “What the Holy Fuck just happened?” as I crawled out of the tire.

Good times. :smiley:

Of course, I type all that only to re-read the OP’s desire to avoid stories. Oh well.

Dirt-clod fights.

Endless games of Monopoly or Risk
After school cartoons
Riding your bike down the alley and making all the dogs bark
The ice cream truck!
Playing Hide and Seek long after dark
Plain milk on Mon-Wed-Fri and chocolate milk on Tue-Thurs at my school
Buying a lunch ticket at school ($1.75 for five meals)

I definitely remember Saturday morning cartoons, and my dad kicking me out of the house telling me to go out and play with my friends. So I would go over to my friend’s house and watch cartoons there.

I lived in a pretty safe neighborhood, so I had the freedom to ride my bike pretty much anywhere as long as I stayed in the neighborhood and off of the 2 really busy streets. I rode everywhere and loved every minute of it.

Related to that, I remember the day I learned to ride my bike no-handed (without hands on the handle bars).

I remember a lot of the games we played in our respective yards, including Hide and seek, various versions of Tag, and also a game called Statue. Statue was a game where we were all different statues that could be bought by other kids playing the role of customers. The “Salesperson” would show each kid around to each of us statues and he/she would pick one which would magically come to life for the customer.

I remember my dad made a large sandbox for my brother and I to play in. It attracted a lot of the kids from the neighborhood because it was absolutely huge.

I remember playing on our swing set and learning to hang upside down on the trapeze bar.

I remember walking to school every day. I lived only a block and a half away and every day I walked to school with my best friend, then walked home again with him.

I have a lot more memories, so many that my wife thinks I’m crazy for remembering so much of my early childhood, but the thing of it is that when I was in 3rd grade, my parents bought a new house and we moved away from the neighborhood. So in my mind my early childhood is everything that happened before the big move. That move essentially made it easier for me to remember all those things.

Building tree forts.
Using my slingshot.
Watching Schoolhouse Rock, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, That’s Incredible, and The Six Million Dollar Man.
Skipping rocks across a lake.
Making bicycle ramps.
Beer can collection.
Video arcades.
Catching lightning bugs.
Licking the beaters from my mom’s hand mixer after she made cookies.
Watching a Walt Disney movie in the evening.
Watching The Wizard of Oz on TV each year.
Making houses out of playing cards.
Collecting pop bottles and returning them to the grocery store for ten cents each.
Playing “war” in the woods. (We threw walnuts at each other.)

There was a small mom-and-pop store on my way to school. I remember spending hours (probably more like 20 minutes) agonizing on the right combination of candy to get for 25 cents. An all day sucker only cost a nickel, but weren’t nearly as good as a 10 cent candy bar.

Should I take the regular, well-traveled route home from school? Or should I take the shortcut and go by the witch’s house? (A dark house at the end of a dark alley).

School paste doesn’t really taste too bad, and Play-Doh has kind of a salty flavor.

“Burr” haircuts (a really really close crewcut).

The smell of butch wax on a hot day, and being fussed at for leaving it on the car window when I rested my head there.

The agony of shopping for Husky blue jeans.

Waiting for the test pattern to go off on early Satuday mornings so the cartoons could start.

Outside games with the neighbor kids after dinner.

Red Light - Green Light
London Bridge
Leaving the house in the morning and only coming back to get lunch and dinner.
Going to Ben Franklin and Woolworth’s and looking on the floor for change.

Stories are fine, I just mean that a story is okay if relates to one of the kinds of things the thread is about. If the story is remarkable because whatever happened is specific to the author and no one else is likely recognize the same thing happening to them as well, then it’s not really what we’re going for here.

One year, I think it was when I was in second grade, my birthday fell on Saturday. So I invited friends over to watch cartoons. Roadrunner was my favorite, and it came on at 6AM. 3-4 kids showed up then. Did I mention this plan to my parents? Of course not. So they woke up to a house full of boys. My dad made us all waffles, then everybody went home around 10 AM or so. It was great.

Mud pies, I had the perfect recipe.
Parachute army men
Tying a plastic bag to my bike and watching it fly like a kite
Neighbourhood games of kick the can
The snow plow would pile up the snow along the side of the road. After a big dump of snow those got big enough to dig tunnels through.
Setting up hot wheels tracks down the stairs.

Riding my bike to the store and buying the latest issue of Mad

Getting my weekly allowance of 25 cents and using it to ride my bicycle to the store to buy five comic books.

Reading the green sheets every Saturday morning and praying that a Godzilla movie would be on sometime that week.

Penny candy

Root beer burps

Slingshots made out of rubber bands shooting half paper clips

Clothespinning a popsicle stick to clack against the spokes of your bike wheels

Model airplanes and funny smelling glue

Watching fire ants rebuild their nest

Parachuting off the house with a sheet (ow)

Big wads of bubble gum making my mouth sore