Sunday, January 19, 2014
"Our Gang" Meridian Street Style
I am from the television generation. Born in 1952, I don't remember there not being a TV set in the living room. Every summer my four Gifford cousins would come from Chattanooga, to visit for several weeks. We started every morning with cartoons and kiddie shows and Our Gang Comedies - The Little Rascals was at the top of the list. The gang was always putting on stage shows for their friends and we followed right along. I was born right in between the two younger Gifford's, Eleanor and Linda, and we were the best of friends.
We created a makeshift stage out of the bed of an old cart and dressed up in costumes made from old clothes. We also borrowed heavily from my older sisters clothing when she wasn't around. Admission was anywhere from a penny to a nickle, whatever the market would bear. Payment was required in advance of the show. We would take the money and go down to Jake's market at Meridian and Evanston and buy penny candy, then make a big pitcher of Kool-Aid for refreshments. Our neighbor kids would come, some of the older ones would even come hang out with us little ones for the show. From Meridian Street, Marty White, Bobby and Patsy McKinney, the Cunningham boys, and from Pennock Ave., the Martin boys - Mike, Hugh. My grandmother, who lived on Pennock, was usually watching after some of the cousins from my dads side and they would come as well. There were other kids whose names I no longer remember.
The two cousins and myself, Eleanor, Linda and Debie, would dance and sing and turn a cartwheel or two. We had guest performers from the audience. Kids make their own fun. I guess children all over pretended to be the Little Rascals and put on shows. Just recently I overheard someone talking about how children don't play outside like our generation did. I had to comment, "We were outside because it was too hot inside." Nowadays, children and adults alike, are so accustomed to air conditioning that none us of want to be outside on hot days.
In the afternoons the boys would get up a baseball game. They really didn't want the little girls but needed the extras for the team and would divide us up. Home base was near the big magnolia tree in Mrs Charlton's yard on Pennock. Ricky and Barbara Crouch had moved to the neighborhood by then and their front yard was often the center of activity. We would play hide and seek until dark every summer night. We played freeze tag and cowboys and Indians and hop-scotch, rock school and mother may I. I know there were dozens of other games for which I cannot remember names. Fun times.