I hate it that I've become old enough to say things like "When I was a kid things were different." But the fact of the matter is; things WERE different.
When my friends and I were running the streets (on our two feet or our bikes) we didn't have the internet, cell phones or PS2.
If we wanted to write to someone we had to get out paper and pen. If we wanted to call someone we were confined to the few feet the cord would reach. If we wanted to play video games we had to go down to the corner store and play either Ms Pac-Man or Defender and sometimes Frogger.
Yes, we had television (in color too!) and even cable but I don't remember spending large amounts of time watching it.
We played "outside" with our friends.
I know to kids now days that's a foreign concept. Our parents threw us out of the house in the morning and didn't expect us back until right before dark.
The streetlights were our alarm clocks. If that streetlight came on, I knew my mother would be coming down the alley to find me so I better get my ass home!
We had a whole neighborhood at our disposal. My best friend, Lon, lived on the corner, her grandmother lived right next door. Three houses down, lived MY grandparents. Our friend Mona lived on the other side of Lon, on the next corner and I lived several houses up from Mona. Anywhere from my grandparents' house to my house we claimed as OUR domain.
We made up our own games. We played touch football with our own rules; we played four-square, stick ball and keep-away.
We also made up pretend games; like little dramas.
The one that I remember vividly (and I know Lon does too) was when we played out this scenario with characters, a plot, action and drama.
We recruited neighborhood kids and pretended we were a family having a picnic in the park (Lon's yard) when a blue cloud of smoke blew over us and knocked us out. When we awoke, we found ourselves on another planet and we spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get back to Earth.
We literally played that game ALL day. We were emotionally exhausted when it was time to go home.
It cracks me up to this day to picture these kids in their goofy early 80's clothes, realistically acting out this mini-drama and getting so into it that they were actually SPENT at the end of the day. Who did we think we were...miniature Meryl Streeps?
I spent more weekend and summer nights at Lon's house than I did at my own.
We would hatch up these crazy schemes in the wee hours of the night. They would always seem like great ideas late at night but in the harsh light of day, we would realize how silly we were.
But one Easter weekend, we came up with this idea to write an Easter play. Late one night, we grabbed our pens, paper and the Bible and we wrote a play depicting the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Who knew we were such good Christian girls?
Boy we sure squashed that virginal image of ourselves a few years later, didn't we, Lon?
We were up until 2 am writing this play, casting our friends as different characters.
We had props, we had costumes, we had locations, and we were fierce.
The next morning, we handed out scripts and instructed these wayward actors to the way we expected their roles to be played.
I can't remember if we had a rehearsal or not but we invited some family members to come see our Easter play.
I don't think my mom showed (she might not have been invited! oops!) but I remember Mona's mom being there and Lon's grandmother.
The play ended with the resurrection of Jesus and since we didn't have the special effects or the equipment to actually have a person rising into the sky, we threw a rope over a tree limb, tied a dark robe to it and pulled the robe up using the rope. Now that I think about it, it was more like a lynching. Dear God, we lynched Jesus Christ!
But for 10 yr olds, it was pretty imaginative, we thought.
When it was over, we waited for the thunderous applause. We beamed at our audience, waiting to take our bows but we were met with silence. Then we heard from Mona's annoying little sister, "uh! Lon! DeAnna! That was SO stupid. That's just an empty robe. That's not Jesus!"
Our little play-writing careers were crushed. We weren't just off Broadway, we were off the mark.