I have said in several past blog posts that my parents didn’t believe in gaming systems. Growing up, despite asking several times at Christmas, we never had a Nintendo or Sega. This stance my parents took was a big reason why we spent so much time playing outside. Looking back on it now, I am glad we were raised that way.
We grew up on a street with a bunch of other kids. Although we had a park across the street from us, it seemed like most of the summer fun took place right in our yard! For tonight’s blog post I want to share the five games/activities we played the most while living in our house on Guinevere Drive.
Whiffle Ball – No doubt about, whiffle ball was the signature game played at the Reser household. For several years growing up, we played every single day during the summer. Our front lawn provided us a large square of immaculately cut grass to play on. A fence dividing our house from the next door neighbor’s home served as our home run barrier. Our whiffle ball games consistently brought together about ten kids and we took it so seriously that we kept track of our stats over the summer. Although my dad despised it that we roughed up his prized lawn, we still always managed to get our games in.
I can’t stop writing about this without mentioning one other thing. Our neighbors had a huge pine tree in their yard (over the left field fence). We lost countless whiffle balls by hitting home runs into that tree. While it was very frustrating buying a whole new package of balls in the morning and losing them all by the afternoon, it was definitely a distinguishable quirk of our mini ballpark.
Hide-And-Seek – While some might equate hide-and-seek as a game for toddlers, a group of us neighbor kids spanning in age from 6-14 years old thought it was the greatest thing ever. During those long summer Spokane nights we would get a big group together and play a game that had boundary lines stretched around several different houses. However, home base was always the large maple tree in our front yard. We would hide in bushes, garages, and back yards. When we thought the coast was clear we would then make a mad dash to the sanctuary of the maple tree where we would slap the trunk to save us from being “it” the next round.
Basketball – My mom calls the basketball hoop my dad and his friends installed in our driveway as “the best investment we ever made.” The hoop was retractable so we could set it to regulation height and play serious pickup games or we could lower it to eight feet and throw down monster dunks. It was also a superb set up for one-on-one games as well, giving my brother and I an outlet to always compete against each other. It wasn’t always peaceful on that court as occasional arguments did break out but we had so many great memories on that hoop. Over 20 years since the installation, it still stands there to this day with the hand prints of the Reser kids still clearly visible in the cement that was poured to secure the structure.
Croquet – In middle school I bought a very well-used croquet set from a yard sale. My friend had one and we enjoyed it so much that I wanted to get one for when we were over at my house. We would set up the course and swing away. Before I made the purchase it was a rare site for neighbors to see a croquet game going on in our lovely neighborhood but we changed all that after the yard sale. We drew up tournaments and played for money. It got pretty tense but it was certainly a great summer activity.
Snow Games – Everything we did outside wasn’t always when the grass was green and the weather warm. Living in Spokane we got our fair share of heavy snow. Because we lived on the busiest street of our neighborhood, we knew whatever snow creations we made would receive optimal exposure via car traffic and the constant stream of kids walking by with their sleds to get to the park. With this in mind, we made many snow people, putting in our best effort. Aside from Frosty we used the snow for other fun purposes. One year we had so much of the white stuff that my dad was able to carve out a human maze for us to go through in our front yard! Additionally, my mom was responsible for a snow activity I loved to do when I was a little bit younger. She would pour water into a spray bottle and mix it with food coloring. She would then send me outside to shoot the colored liquid at the snow.
We had such a ball (pun semi intended) growing up outside. Neighbors I never met before have told my parents that they enjoyed watching us grow up outside as they walked or drove by! I am thankful that I had a safe place to enjoy some of the finer parts of my childhood and I will always cherish the memories. Don’t Blink.