Lebanon Reporter

Columns

February 6, 2014

Boys playing in a make-believe world

It was a warm and humid morning as I headed out for a day of play and adventure. The year was sometime in the early to mid 1960s. I didn’t have any neighbors to play with until I was in my early teenage years, so mostly I had to depend on myself and my imaginary friends to keep entertained. Unlike living in a subdivision where there were always an assortment of children willing to get up a game of baseball or hide and seek, when you lived in the country you didn’t have so many playmates. Maybe that is why I have such a good imagination as an adult. Just exactly how many tunnels I constructed in my sandbox I have no idea, but it was an awful lot. Actually, my sandbox was a tractor tire instead of your typical square or rectangle wooden form. Nowadays, kids expect to play in some sort of plastic molded contraption that more resembles a turtle or some other creature. Thankfully we didn’t have any cats prowling around when I was a small boy, because my sandbox didn’t have a lid.I can’t remember if I played with Matchbox cars while growing up, but I have many fond memories of my wide array of Tonka toys. I had racecars, tractors, automobiles and dump trucks in my arsenal of heavy metal toys. Yep, I was into heavy metal as a boy, but not the kind kids would think of today. There wasn’t any such music while I was growing up, thank you Lord! Toys back then were constructed of strong metal instead of cheap plastic. I can remember the Tonka company advertising that you could even stand on their toys and they wouldn’t collapse under your weight. I honestly can’t remember if I ever tested that theory. I also had a collection of airplanes that I spent hours pretending to fly. I either used a dirt path outside for my runway or the living room rug in front of our fireplace. I also spent many hours during the winter playing with marbles on that very same rug. It was oval with lines that resembled a racetrack, so many times I would line up my marbles and roll them around the track, taking turns rolling either the red, blue or green ones. Next to airplanes and trains, cement trucks were probably of my most favorite toys. I’m not sure, but it might have had something to do with me loving the smell of fresh cement as it was being poured to create the foundation for the new home that my parents were having built. I also had two large, white fire trucks that I had been given one Christmas while we still lived in Lebanon. I can’t believe that I can remember that far back, while at the same time, forgetting something that my wife had just told me a few minutes ago.

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