Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

We’re Free!

108 Comments

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
~William Wordsworth

Growing up, I loved recess. The elementary school I attended had morning and afternoon recess. Each session lasted at least twenty minutes. I remember I watched the clock in anticipation of that moment when we were set free.

Once the clock struck that magical hour, we were off, like a swarm of bees. It was a time to release our pent up energy. We didn’t have to be quiet, sit still or pay attention. We were able to just be kids.

Sometimes we’d take off running toward the swings or maybe the jungle gym. We’d organize games of Kickball or Red Light Green Light. The activity didn’t really matter, what mattered was, we were free.

On those dreaded rainy days when confined to the classroom, one of my favorite indoor activities was the game “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.” The rules were simple. Without peeking the class would wait, with our heads down on our desks.  A chosen student then hid an object, usually the chalkboard eraser. When the hider said, “Ready,” we wandered around the classroom in search of the eraser. Once you spotted it you didn’t touch the eraser or draw attention to it; you quietly went back to your desk and only then shouted, “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.”

This would go on until everyone was finally seated. The object was not to be the last student wandering around the room. I don’t recall ever being the last one standing.

It’s funny, the vivid memories I have of playing this game. I remember the sound of the rain hitting the windows and the muffled giggles of my classmates. Life was simple.

Did you have recess growing up?

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

108 thoughts on “We’re Free!

  1. This is exactly what grandson misses about living in CA. There he had morning and afternoon recess; here he has it right after lunch only once a day. Teachers motivate students here with play money for good deeds, efforts, etc. When a class reaches 100 they earn 10 more minutes to their recess time. Big deal on his campus and boy does he love recess. I did too as I recall playing kickball, softball, dodgeball and four square. Wonderful times growing up!

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    • Hi Georgette! I suppose one break for recess is better than none. From what I know about your grandson, I bet he’s earned quite a bit of money for his class. I’ve heard some schools no longer allow recess, I can’t imagine. It was such a great time and it helped build our socializing skills. Ahh, dodgeball, loved that! Have a great weekend!

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  2. Ahhh, recess was the best!
    My family had six kids and the family two door down had five. We played kick the can until dusk every summer night. Oh, we had the grandest of times!

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  3. Lovely memory, Jill! Now, where the name Huckle Buckle Beanstalk come from? I vaguely remember playing something similar in the classroom. We did have recess when I was growing up, but I don’t know if it was twice a day. I do remember once being locked out of the schoolhouse because I didn’t come when called when recess was over. I didn’t even know recess was over until I looked around me and saw the school yard was empty of everyone but me. I had to bang on the door and then, of course, was soundly criticized by my teacher in front of the class. I remember being perplexed because I honestly never heard her call us in. I guess it was an early example of how lost in my own thoughts I could be 😉

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    • Hi Marie! I have no idea where that name originated. I think the name was half of the reason why I loved it so much. I believe there are different versions, one I remember was called, Hot and Cold. What a story, being locked out of the schoolhouse. That must have felt strange when you realized no one was around. I’ll bet you were dreaming up new characters at the time. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Happy Weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We did have recess… but I was one of those shy kids. I always found myself standing around watching the other kids with maybe another shy kid standing with me.. 🙂 It got a bit better as I got older. I love reading your words with the happiness coming through about recess. Huckle Buckle Beanstalk is new to me! I do have some fond and funny memories of school though.. I loved high school!

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    • Thanks, Pix! I was shy too. Usually I stood on the sidelines, pulling up my knee socks, until I was picked for a team. High school was a good time, wasn’t it? Thanks for sharing your memories. Have a fantastic weekend! 🙂

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  5. Loved recess. Especially playing Tether Ball . . . I still hear hands slapping the leather to spin the ball round the pole.

    Even better than recess . . . Field Day! An entire day of playing outside. Bliss!

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    • Oh, Tether Ball…I forgot all about that, Nancy. I loved it too. I don’t think I ever hit it properly because my hands always burned, but I kept playing. Yes, Field Day ruled! Did you grow up in Virginia by chance? Good times indeed. Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. I was one of those kids who never got picked for Red Rover, King of the Mountain or any other playground games until the very last…until the kids learned how fast I could run. Then I was always picked first for ballgames and relays. I always made it a point to pick some of the kids first who were always picked last whenever it was my turn to pick after that experience. I moved around a lot, so making friends was tough and recess wasn’t my favorite time. I did my best with academics.

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    • Thanks for sharing this, Susan. I love that you made a point of picking kids who were picked last. I don’t recall ever playing King of the Mountain, but I’m picturing kids running up hills and pushing each other down…maybe I’m wrong. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

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  7. I remember playing Red Rover at recess. But ever the introvert (though I didn’t understand it at the time), I didn’t really enjoy playing. I would’ve been just as happy reading a book on the swing. Who am I kidding? I would’ve been MORE happy reading a book on the swing. 🙂

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  8. That sounds like a wonderful memory. I think in some schools I may have had recess. Really don’t remember any until middle school. Lost in thought is what I would have been doing as well.

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  9. I only remember one recess where we all did a circle dance singing one of Elvis’ songs. Other recesses were spent walking around the grounds arms linked with BFFs. Not so much into organized games. Sounds like your childhood is full of fun memories!

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    • Hi Kate! I do have a lot of fun childhood memories. I wish I could remember more, but the ones I do recall, pop into my head at the strangest times. I had to laugh when I read about your circle dance with Elvis music. Perhaps that’s where you developed your love of dance. 🙂 Happy Weekend!

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  10. Your happy memories really made me smile. What a super exciting name for a child’s game. We did have recess, called playtime, in England, but on rainy days, we just sat at our desks and had to be quiet, which wasn’t fun at all. Our teachers obviously weren’t as creative as yours. 😦

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    • I’m glad I made you smile, Sylvia. Either our teachers were more creative or yours were more able to control a classroom of twenty plus kids. I can’t imagine my class sitting quietly. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!

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  11. We call recess “playtime” here. I remember one particularly harsh winter when I was around 5-6. The boys made an igloo on the playground from blocks of snow we all helped to create. Then they made really long slides which made the outdoors treacherous. I remember all our little woolly gloves drying out along the radiators.

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    • What a great memory, Jenny. Thanks for sharing. How industrious those boys were to build not just a snowman, but an igloo. We weren’t allowed outside for recess when there was snow on the ground. Have a great weekend!

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  12. Yes. We played ball. Or marbles. Or hide and seek. Or hopscotch.

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  13. Oh yes! Like you, I couldn’t wait! 🙂

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  14. “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk”–love it, Jill! What a lovely, evocative post. I at times loved and hated recess, depending on the grade and also who might have threatened to fight me. Then those were dreaded days. But we ran around, played ball games or hopscotch or jumped double dutch. In second grade some of the boys tried to scare the girls by throwing grasshoppers at us. Unfortunately for them, my brothers and I caught grasshoppers, so I was not intimidated in the least. I became good friends with those boys in fifth grade.

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    • Thanks, L. Marie! Oh, I hate to hear you were threatened on the playground. I love the that you weren’t scared by the grasshoppers and you made friends with the boys. What a great story! Have a great weekend. Hopefully there isn’t any snow in your forecast.

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  15. Recess was such a fun – this post just brought back a lot of memories of Four Square and Tether Ball. Have a great weekend Jill.

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  16. ‘Huckle Buckle Beanstalk!’ That one was beyond me! Ah, but those sweet memories!

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  17. Jill, I remember recess, but can’t remember if we had one or two each day. I remember running around the playground. 🙂 We played Huckle Buckle Beanstalk too! I would not have been able to recall the rules as clearly as you did, thanks! I am one of four and remember we used to be able to walk home from school for lunch. In the summer my mom would serve us our sandwiches by the pool while we took a quick dip. The good old days!

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    • Finally! Someone who remembers Huckle Buckle Beanstalk! I was starting to wonder if it was a dream, Geralyn. 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory. Lunch with mom poolside sounds nice and definitely the good old days. Enjoy your weekend. I hope you’re feeling better.

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  18. So much fun at recess. I was one of the tetherball champions at my elementary school. I miss those days (but my wrist probably remembers the tetherball soreness all too well). Have a great weekend Jill!

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  19. I loved recess except when I was feeling between best friends. hah I remember that indoor game, too, but I don’t remember it being called that . . . hmm.

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    • Hi Luanne! The game could have been called something else in your area. I think it was also called Hot and Cold. Another name that is even more odd than Huckle Buckle Beanstalk is Hot Buttered Beans. 🙂 I hope you’re catching up on your rest after such an exciting week.

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  20. Recess was the best. We played touch football on a gravel playground. We drew the plays in the gravel and then ran em. My gosh, I haven’t thought of those days in too many years to count. Thanks Jill.

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  21. I do recall that the minute hands on the clocks in our school would be motionless and then suddenly move ahead in three-minute intervals, thus requiring 20 clicks to circle the clock face once. When the end of class was near, I’d stare at that minute hand waiting for the final click, at which point the bell would sound telling us we could leave. That was a long three minutes sometimes.

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    • At least yours moved ahead, Eric. I remember ours would be motionless for what seemed like eternity and then it would go BACKWARD before moving forward. It’s funny how the older we get, the faster that hand is moving. Have a great weekend! It sounds like you’ve got some snow heading your way…be safe.

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  22. Oohhhh! We had recess too. I have to check with my friends if we had it twice per day. We played games with which you might not be familiar. Here are three that you know: jump rope, hop scotch, and jacks. When we didn’t have jacks, we played with little stones or fruit seeds and a ball made from rubber bands. Nice post, Jill! You brought up some sweet childhood memories with your post . Have a wonderful weekend 😄

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    • Thanks, Elaine. I’m happy to bring back some nice memories for you. Thank you for sharing your memories. Oh my, I loved playing jacks! I’d like to try to play again since it’s been at least thirty years since I’ve played. Happy Weekend! xo

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  23. Hi Jill,
    What a wonderful snapshot of childhood–one that probably awakened childhood memories for most of us. My kids played “Heads Up, Seven Up” in their classrooms. As a child I remember playing blackboard games like “Dots” with girls pitted against boys and “Hangman,” in which it was every kid for herself.
    Thanks for a lovely peek back into childhood.

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  24. As much as I loved the 30 min. morning recess outside, afternoon recess (grades 3-6) alternated between exercise “dances” to music in the cafeteria/gym, creating pictures on the chalk boards with colored chalk, and group song fests in the music room. I loved them all!

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  25. I loved the nostalgia of this post. I remember recess! Dodge ball was our game of choice during recess. I used to love to play dodge ball.

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  26. Yep, recess was always the place where those good friendships always seemed to develop and was what made school all worthwhile! I’ll always remember a classmate bringing a couple pairs of boxing gloves to school and eager to show how they were used during recess. Of course, I was the “willing” participant, and I think I still have a reeling headache from his demonstration! That’s one of my fifth grade “moments” I so fondly remember! 🙂

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  27. Hello, my dear! I have been frantically trying to solve my WP issues and haven’t been reading posts. My acct is all messed up and WP is slowly helping me. I thought I had been hacked but it appears to be a technical issue.

    Anyway, I didn’t love recess only because the boys were always around saying mean things to us girls and being pests! I “developed” early, so it brought a lot of unwanted attention my way and I was so shy! LOL. I am glad your experience was a happier one. 🙂

    We are having another NorEaster so Mr. B and I are stuck in downtown Boston (at a conference) for another night – I don’t mind! 🙂 Enjoy your weekend, señorita!

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    • Hi Maria! I’m sorry to hear you’re having technical difficulties. I’ve had some issues with WP and it’s been very frustrating. I heard about the storm in your area. I’m happy to know you’re safe and sound with Mr. B. Enjoy the time together and be safe driving home. xo

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  28. Oh yes! we had recess in the morning and the afternoon. My friends and I used to gather in a circle and tell each other stories (this was when we were older – Grade 5 up) before that we used to run around the field like demons. In grade 1 and 2, the boys used to play a game called ‘kiss and touches’ if they caught you, you had to let them kiss you on the lips. It was crazy fun 🙂 we girls were always out of breath, trying to find places to hide. At some point an adult must have put a stop on that because in Grade 3 we, girls were encouraged to play netball during recess and the boys soccer. Ah, well…

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    • Ha ha! What a great story, Yolanda! That is quite a game you played. When I was that age, boys had “cooties” so we stayed far away. 🙂 Like you, I remember as I got older, my friends and I would gather and talk about boys. Have a great weekend!

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  29. Those are some really nice memories. I can’t remember school days that well anymore, or, at least not much of what I enjoyed about it. I don’t remember recess at all, and I never heard of Huckle Buckle Beanstalk. It’s so great that you can remember those wonderful times. Mostly what I remember is time spent with my fantastic four grandparents and my best friend next door who was like my sister. It was fun reading about your fun play days as a kid.

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    • Hi Lori! I wish I could remember more. Things come to me in bits and pieces, but there are more things I don’t remember. I’m glad you have nice memories of your grandparents, Lori. I only have memories of one grandmother. Enjoy the weekend!

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  30. We played a game similar to that, but it wasn’t called that….now I don’t remember what the name of it was! Recess was the only part of school I liked….that, and going home!

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  31. My earliest memory of recess is when I was in kindergarten. We had the traditional cookies and milk before nap time. When I woke up, I was the only one still in the room. All of the other kids and the teacher had gone out to the playground. I can’t imagine why she let me sleep unless I’d been a real pill that day. Hard to imagine. I know. 😉

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    • Hi Judy! Oh, I remember milk and cookies and nap time. I wasn’t always the greatest when it came to taking a nap, I’m still not. That’s frightening to hear your teacher left you alone in the room. I don’t think something like that would go over very well these days. Thanks for sharing your memories. 🙂

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  32. When I was in primary school, we still went outside on rainy days, but we played under a covered area. The rainy-day game I remember is jacks. I tried it again recently. It’s not as easy as it used to be.

    Other favorite games to play at recess: jump rope and keep-away.

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    • Hi Nicki! Elaine mentioned jacks in her comment. I forgot how much I loved to play with them. I might have to give it a try again. I probably won’t make it up “tensies” like I did as a kid. Thanks for sharing your memories.

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  33. This reminded me of a game we played on the blacktop called 4-Square. I’ll have to look that up to see if it is something that exists or something we made up! There’s been much discussion locally about doing away with recess because there is not enough time to teach the children all they need to know for their standardized testing in addition to their curriculum and extending the school day would be too expensive. If that movement is successful, I fear we’ll have lots of great test-takers whose with squashed creative spirits.

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    • Hi Shel! Susan mentioned 4-Square also. I’ll have to Google it. I agree with you on the results of cutting recess. It’s a shame, first cursive writing, then Physical Education, now recess…what’s next? Enjoy your week!

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  34. We had ‘playtime’ Jill. I used to like playing ‘two balls’, where we’d juggle two tennis ball size balls in various ways – up in the air, against the wall and sing songs that went along with it. I also loved ‘French skipping’, where we’d make elastic bands into a big loop – you’d put them around your legs, one person at each end and had to make all kinds of shapes with them – hard to explain but great fun!

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  35. Of course. But as a teacher you dreaded the indoor recess! 🙂

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  36. Hi Jill! Oh I’m so late getting over here, I’ve only just back to blogging since my laptop sagas last week. I love this post, you bring back such evocative memories of recess (and you bring back memories of when my kids were at school in CA, as I had never heard the term ‘recess’ before as we call it ‘playtime’ here!). I’ve never heard of ‘Huckle Buckle Beanstalk’ but what fun! We used to play a game called ‘Queenie, Queenie, who’s got the ball, is it fat or is it small?’ Whatever that meant, ha! I hope you and DFD had a wonderful weekend. I spent mine writing, still got to tweak but determined to get it out on time. Then…to the writing regime and the book! Have a great week ahead my friend, hope all is well with you and yours 🙂 xoxo

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    • Hi Sherri! No apologies necessary. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with computer issues. I know it’s been stressful for you.
      I think I might need to Google the “Queenie, Queenie” game. 🙂 We had a great weekend, thanks. I know you’ll get your submission ready, so don’t stress. I’m very delinquent with my response to your email. I apologize for that. I’ll talk to you soon! Remember the Robin, when your stressed. xoxo

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      • Ahh Jill, I have been soooooo stressed. I had to take my laptop in again yesterday, can’t send on my emails, no end of problems with downloading etc. etc. So another day wasted, but in the end it was C who saved the day, bless her. It was tears before bedtime (mine, not hers) I can tell you. Anyway, enough of all that, I am determined to get my piece out today or tomorrow at the latest. I am changing over to GMail for my emails, I have had far too many problems with my other ones. I’ll send you a test email today just to make sure you get it but again, no worries on replying on the other one, I understand fully and we are in touch here! We know where to find one another with any news as and when 🙂 I just hope all is well with you and yours and also I’m so glad to hear you and DFD had a great weekend…although here we are and it’s Wednesday already!! Thanks again so much for your support and encouragement…and reminder to think of my Sweet Robin, who is visiting daily and often! Makes my heart sing 🙂 I hope things are going well with you my friend and that you are having a good week so far. I am taking a deep breath right now…oh, and one more thing, I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and amazingly my blood pressure was really good! (I don’t have high blood pressure, thankfully, but I was fully expecting it to be high after all the stress lately!!!). See you soon Jill … 🙂 xoxox

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      • Oh Sherri, I’m so sorry. Computer issues can be stressful, but you need to take a breath and break out a notepad and fancy pen until everything is resolved. I’ll wait for your email to respond further. Hang in there. I’m not surprised C saved the day! 🙂 xoxo

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  37. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Jill over!!!!” That was my favorite game in recess in grammar school. I hated dodge ball, though. Don’t have too many vivid memories, but the movie “Now and Then” brought back the fun of growing up in the 70’s when I was a young teen. 🙂 I have never heard of “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk” though. Sounds fun.

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  38. ‘Playtime’ in Birmingham, England. Games of football using a bottletop (until someone stood on it and squashed it), British Bulldog (now generally banned), interrupting the girls’ skipping games, Kiss-Chase with the girls, and a game peculiar to our school called The Squashing Machine where a row of boys squashed the victim against a wall until he got free leaving the next in line to be squashed and joining the back of the squashers. A holy wonder we survived.

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  39. Jill you have a vivid recall, I can barely remember primary school. I do remember walking home in the rain after school, well running. When we arrived mum would say “Hop in your PJ’s and I will make you a hot chocolate.” Oh how I loved sitting at the window all snuggly and warm, with my hot chocolate and feeling so loved and safe. Thanks for bringing that one back.

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  40. Grew up in Southern California so we didn’t have many rainy days. I remember recess in the morning and afternoon, plus some time after lunch. Funny my memories are always of being outside. surely I spent some time in the classroom.

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  41. Heck yes! And it was the best part of the day! Children are often being medicated for excess energy now, when all they need is to run around for a few minutes. Let’s bring back recess!

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  42. Jill, recess was the best part of the day, then came gym, music and art. I remember lots of fun times, including the groups who were athletic in the spring, taking over the ball diamond and playing softball. I liked to swing or chat with friends. Sometimes, a ‘gang’ of friends would take over the monkey bars, the year we were the “top” of the elementary in sixth grade.
    You know what we called this indoor game, so original, too: “Hide the Eraser!” ha ha! Your teacher, school or district was such a great and creative place with a fun name as that. We also played, as mentioned, “Heads Up, Seven Up.” There were a lot of chances to take turns, since 7 children were chosen to be the ones who tapped others. I liked “Hangman” and also, when we pulled the desks into a circle and would have some kind of special snack.
    Do you remember being chosen to tally up the milk count? I enjoyed being ‘teacher’s helper’ or Line Leader, as a younger child. This post was such a conversation opener, sorry to be a little late but better late than never!

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    • Hi Robin! There’s no set time for comments. You’re welcome all the time and anytime. 🙂 “Hide the Eraser”…well, that explains the game a little better than, “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.” Ha!
      Ah…the Monkey Bars. I usually just dangled them since I was afraid of heights. I was always envious of those who could climb to the top and then walk across. Thanks for sharing your memories, Robin. Enjoy your week!

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      • I just happened to come back and read your sweet comments back. On rare occasions I am able to do this without getting interrupted at the library. I think it was interesting that you said you were afraid of heights and I think dangling feet down or hanging upside down was fun. No letting loose of your hands but fun to see the playground upside down! I think it was such a nice way to read everyone’s comments and learn more about their childhood, Jill. This was a fun post!

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      • I’m happy you enjoyed it, Robin. I love to read everyone’s memories.

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  43. What wonderful memories you have, Jill! And I’m even later than Robin!!! You’ll be about to post again 🙂 Sorry- it has been a hectic week. I don’t recall that game but I certainly remember clock watching! You’re getting wonderful responses, Jill. Gott be doing something right 🙂 🙂 Lots of somethings, actually! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

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  44. Thanks for bringing back those memories! I loved kickball and Red Rover, Red Rover or just playing on the jungle gym or doing those jump rope games. Our playground was mostly a parking lot called “the blacktop” with a muddy field beyond that but we didn’t need much to entertain ourselves. We always ran out there too – then when the bell rang we’d have to stand in line and slink back in.

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    • Ha ha! I remember “slinking” back into the school, Sheila. Recess went so fast and classroom time, so slow. I’m happy Red Rover was mentioned. I had forgotten about it, but it was great fun. We had a blacktop too, but that was where you played basketball. I hope you’ve had a great week!

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  45. Wow, I have never ever heard of Huckle Buckle Beanstalk. I must have been living on the moon. When we couldn’t play outdoors we went to the gym and played ball. Volleyball and kickball were my favorites. We only had 15 minute recess and we had hour lunch periods. But that was before your time. 😉

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    • Ha ha! No, I don’t think you were on the moon, Elizabeth. 🙂 The game had several names. I loved kickball, but volleyball always hurt my hand. I probably wasn’t hitting it correctly. I don’t know…your time probably wasn’t much before my time. I had an hour lunch period too. 🙂

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  46. Pingback: We Had a Field Day on Field Day! | Spirit Lights The Way

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