Thursday, January 31, 2013
KILGORE MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD TOYS
The mind is a strange, but very important, part of who we are. The mind remembers some things and suppresses others. The memories from the far distant past many times may seem like dreams—an early morning fog, or a mist falling during a dark night. Such is the case when I reflect on my childhood. My memory is not the best, so my recall of many far distant occurrences is lost. It is with some assurance though that I can recall some significant toys from my childhood.
Childhood play is an important part of a little one’s existence. Playing in the dirt and mud with siblings; playing “Annie, Annie Over” and “Red Light” with cousins; and playing “Hide and Seek,” using the big oak in the front yard as “home base” are all special fun activities that were part of our play as children. Now that I am a sixty-eight year old man, I sense deep, deep within me still the young child that I was then.
As a child, I thought I had very little at the time. That was really far from the truth. My mind can remember some special toys that I played with as a boy. The first toy that comes to mind is one I know I had fun with. I know that because it is captured in a photograph. I have no real memory of it, but the picture says it all. The photograph shows me riding a little rocking horse. On the back of the photo is the date-- October 17, 1947. I would have been three years old. The photograph captured the moment—my appearance, our home in the background, and the fun I was experiencing as I rode that horse.
I suppose the experience of riding that little horse stayed with me because as an older boy, I wanted very much to have a real pony. But that was a gift I never did receive. I do not recall the reasons Daddy had for thinking the horse was not a good idea. As a side note, when my baby brother, Ricky, was a boy, he got that pony. I never could understand what changed in Daddy’s eyes that he agreed to allow Ricky to have a pony. But I am sure that Daddy had his reasons. He always did. Maybe Ricky did not have a rocking horse at age three.
The second toy I remember is a pedal car. It was a “cool” toy. You actually sat it in and pedaled away as the wheels moved, propelling you forward. It was so much fun to ride in that little red pretend car. To make it go faster, my brother, Mike, and I would take turns pushing the car from behind as the other one steered and pedaled. There is an interesting story that occurred centering around that car. I posted the story on this blogspot site under the title, “My Aunts, My Uncle, and My Dad” dated March 30, 2012. I would like to include that same story for this post.
There was a time when we did not go to church on Sunday nights. One Sunday night, my brother, Mike, and I begged Daddy to take us to church, but to no avail. I had a little pedal car at the time, so we told our parents that we would just go to church any way and we would go in the pedal car. It didn't matter to us that it was nighttime and it was very dark outside. We were probably 5 and 7 years old at the time.
Daddy told us to go ahead, and so we did! I would pedal a while and Mike would be behind the little car pushing. Then Mike would pedal while I pushed. As we were approaching Granny Kilgore's house, Mike and I saw a faint figure down the road ahead of us. We could not make the figure out, but it was making some scary sounds. Instead of running away, we pressed on down the road, pushing and pedaling. We soon saw the figure clearly--a ghost, white sheet and all. We just pedaled faster and pushed harder, hoping to quickly pass the ghost so we could get to church. The ghost, seeing that we were not changing course, took the white sheet off, and said, "Come on, boys! Let's go back home." It was Daddy. We turned the little car around and headed home, relieved that the ghost was friendly, but disappointed that we had not been able to get to church!
The third toy that is so clearly etched in my memory was a Christmas gift when I was older (perhaps 11 or 12 years old). It was a bicycle—a beautiful blue and white bike with a big round headlight on it. It was a bike for grown ups, so at first, it was more bike than I could handle. My legs were barely long enough to reach the pedals! It was also what we called a “girl’s bike.” What made it a girl’s bike? The bike did not have a connecting support piece of metal from the seat to the steering wheel frame. My cousins had a great deal of fun at my expense because of my riding a “girl’s bike. I know my Daddy had his reasons for buying this kind of bicycle. Certainly it was safer to ride for a youngster in the event of an accident.
The bicycle provided hours and hours of enjoyment for me and also for my siblings. We would ride up and down the graveled road from the house to the main road. Because of the poor traction a dirt road provides, I was instructed to be cautious about the speed while riding the bicycle. But I loved to go as fast as I could. On one fine, summer day, this need for speed resulted in a nasty spill on the road next to Jess Lawson’s place. I had a scar on my left leg for a very long time as a result of that painful accident. But most of my memories of that bicycle were good ones.
Johnny Kilgore, author
edited by Pat Kilgore