SOME KIDS FIND HAPPINESS ANYWHERE

By Harvey Tobkes


Kids somehow know how to survive adversity much better that grown ups. Where adults see despair and misery, kids find hope and opportunity.

There was a movie I remember seeing about 15 years ago titled, Hope and Glory, about the bombing and V-2 rocket attacks on London, as seen through the eyes of a young boy named Billy. The “fireworks” provided by the Blitz every night were as exciting to him, as they were terrifying to his parents. The family’s will to survive brought them closer together. The nightly raids did not traumatize those Brit children, as the kids were having the time of their lives playing in the craters. Billy and his friends seem to see the war as a grand diversion, an extension of their child’s world of tin soldiers, and war games.

Thinking back to when I was a little boy, I have fond memories of the once a month boat races we enjoyed so much.

—————Teenagers ———–

A New York City Dep’t of Sanitation tank trunk would drive along about 10 feet from the curb and eject a powerful spray of water to clean the street. The water would run downhill rapidly to the sewer grate below. My friends and I made boats out of paper, wooden ice cream sticks or anything that floats, and then we ran along side to see whose boat was the first to get to the grate.

There were many other diversions as well, which I am sure you too remember…Johnnie-on-the pony, Ring-a Leevio, Kick-the-can, boys played marbles and girls played Potsy. There was stoop ball, and Place a Penny in the middle and try to hit it with a rubber ball…to name just a few. We made chalk marks on the pavement and used bottle top caps and propelled them to the markers by a trigger-like motion, shooting a forefinger forward from our thumb.

The city parks were a gold-mine for active kids…basketball, ping-pong, slides, teeter-totters, swings, ball fields, parallel bars, wading pools and on and on.

Yep! I think I might like being a kid again. Luckily, in my mind, I can sometimes go back to that delightful time.


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