originally published in
August 6, 1999
|Back where I grew up
by Carol Yoho
I grew up at the dead end of south Randolph street. Our house faced a field that once belonged to Winter General Hospital and now belongs to KNI. I'm a baby boomer, and our cracker-box houses were post WWII vintage.
There were about 25 kids in the neighborhood. We would play in a gang with little interference from grownups. Because there were so many of us, we could easily get up a game of Red Rover, Blind Man's Bluff, Simon Says, or (in winter snow) Foxes and Geese.
Our street was not yet paved and had little traffic. We rode our bikes in the turnaround at the dead end, playing Traffic Jam, a game in which we circled each other slowly, running close to one another in an attempt to make others put a foot on the ground to steady themselves, while we kept our balance and rode on.
Once we gathered to watch an old dairy barn burn down. We wondered if our roofs would catch fire, but they didn't. Often the Shunganunga Creek would flood, sending water into the drainage ditches and back yards of the neighborhood.
We would catch fireflies, play with slinky toys and Silly Putty, color with Crayolas, and watch shows for kids on TV. Once I had an Official Davy Crockett Cap and, later, a Hula Hoop. When we played cowboys I was Dale Evans and wore a green skirt and vest with white plastic fringe. We rode stick horses and carried cap guns.
I lost track of most of my playmates, but my friend David owns Topeka's nicest flower shop, and my friend Patti helped me celebrate my fiftieth birthday in July.
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