Keeping Kids Busy

Playtime in the ’60s was pretty unstructured. Parents shooed their kids out the door and figured they’d find something to do until mealtime. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Richard, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Drye, 1808 North Main Street, elected to protect the family garbage can from marauders. His bored expression makes it look like his backyard suffers from a dearth of marauders. His cap’s earflaps should protect him if an unexpected summer snowstorm sneaks up behind him.

Fun in the sprinklers

All of the photos but this one ran on the June 18, 1966, Missourian Youth Page to go along with a story about what made kids finishing the second grade at at Campus School happy about summertime. I try to do my posts from scanned negatives to get better quality, but I happened across these kid pictures in a box and decided to run them even if time and the elements has caused the prints to fade.

This boy’s picture didn’t run and there was no ID written on the back of the print, so he’ll have to stand in for all of us who ran barefoot through a backyard sprinkler.

 The ups and downs of playing at the park

Debbie Statler came up to Capaha Park from New Madrid for a school picnic. The microfiche copy was blurry, but Debbie’s parents looked like Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Statler. Going to Cape for a New Madrid child was probably like a Cape kid going to St. Louis.

Richard Harris was busy stealing souls

New Madrid youngster Ricky, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Harris, is making sure he has a record of the day’s activities. I wonder if it was a passing fancy or if he was sucked into his soul-stealing machine like I was at about the same age. I hope he got a clear picture without his finger in front of the lens. His Kodak Duaflex II was carefully protected in what we photographers called a never-ready case. They might keep your camera clean and safe, but they also got in the way and kept you from being able to shoot quickly and to change film easily. I’ve got a bunch of them in the attic that never saw service.


10 Replies to “Keeping Kids Busy”

  1. I love the kid with the twin lens. My my first good camera was a Yashica. Your picture brought it back so clearly I can feel the heft, see the bright viewfinder, and best of all smell the leather covering. It was a sweet camera. Thanks.

    1. I think we were still together when I the 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 twin lens reflex with three lenses I picked up from a guy just back from Vietnam. I hated that camera and doubt that I put 50 rolls of film through it.

      I hated the film format; hated to process it; hated to print it; hated to file it. It was the least intuitive camera I ever used.

      I KNOW I still had it. Some of the pictures I posted of you on my FB page were taken with it.

  2. I surely remember passing summer days with a sprinkler and even sitting in an old washtub filled with water. That must have been the forerunner of hot tubs. Several of us Lacey Street neighborhood girls squeezed into the washtub together – those cherished friends: Helen Flentge, Jeanie and Peggy Lehman. We could waste away a summer day doing the simplest of things and go to bed thinking we had had a great adventure. Treasured memories!!!!!!

    1. Kay Flenge pierced my ears in 1965 at my kitchen table using some ice cubes to freeze my ear lobes, and a darning needle to pierce the holes. My mother was nearby cringing and trying not to intervene and put a stop to the torture. LOL. I remember Kay lived on the hill below the Southeast Missouri Hospital, near Capaha Park. Maybe she was your friend’s little sister?
      (P.S. The rich girls got their ears pierced at the dentist I think in a more sterile environment, but we poor girls figured out a way to do it free. I don’t know how many ended up with infections from our ice cube, darning needle procedure, but I know my ears did just fine.)

  3. Yes, the sprinkler was heaven in the summer. We use to catch bees in jars and take turns shaking them up and undoing the lids. Then we’d all run. I remember running home to change clothes after my turn because I was sure the bees always remembered what you had been wearing! (Did I have a guilty conscience, or what???)

  4. Sitting in a wash tub of sun warmed water in my Grand Ma’s front yard when I was a very small boy is a cherished memory of my youth. Thanks Susan for bring that memory to mind.

  5. And I thought I was the only kid (besides my little brother Dickie..or Richard as he likes to be called now) were the only ones that sat in the wash tub to cool off in summers. Wasn’t it fun and cool though?

  6. Well, sitting in a wash tub in the back yard is now a fun memory, but, at the time, maybe not so much. For some time, we had no bathroom indoors and had to take baths in a wash tub in the kitchen in winter, the back yard in summer. Mom or Grandma had to heat up the water on the stove to warm up the water. The tub only got filled ONCE. The first kid into the tub got the fresh water. The next kid (or kids, if cousins were there) had to use the same bath water. Oh, those were the days!

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