On rainy days in rural Massachusetts, our mother would tell us to use our imaginations to find things to do to entertain ourselves. This was before all the electronic gadgets came in to entertain children. We had to imagine and invent games to play and things to do. We played hide and seek in the upstairs attic in Sturbridge.
Using old newspapers, we cut out paper dolls and made fancy clothes for them. We fashioned furniture using cardboard boxes and played in imaginary kitchens. With no television to watch, we listened to radio plays with intriguing sounds such as The Lone Ranger and The Shadow. We also played card games like Old Maid and Authors. Our parents read books aloud to us. My first few glimpses of television were on a black and white screen about 12″ wide. We watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and later political addresses during which I learned the term soap box.
My childhood was magical with plenty of outdoor play and roaming through our woods. We were happy and content with what we had. When the weather allowed, we made our own campaign speeches standing on makeshift soap boxes in our back yard. We cheered for baseball teams as well. Win or lose, we learned at an early age to participate and to be a part of the process. These early lessons formed the basis of who I am today. We learned to work hard, be positive and hopeful for the future.
School began in first grade where we learned to write cursive and play outside on the playground during recess until the teacher signaled time to return to the building with a big bell she had in her hand. We learned to read by phonetics. Our writing pencils were big, thick and tall yellow pencils. Our reports cards had the letters S for satisfactory and U for unsatisfactory and spaces for citizenship. When we did receive letter grades, they were A, B, C, D or E (unsatisfactory.) The grade F for failing did not exist. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance and marched in parades for holidays.
Today as the United States transferred power to the new president, I watched on color television and took photos with an iPad. To me, this is a national moment of celebration for our democracy. No matter which side of the aisle people are on, we come together every four years for this civic sacrament and peaceful transition. Ever hopeful, I imagine peaceful times ahead.
Credit to Sally for some of the photos from Costa Rica.