Snapshots – 2

When I was a child, our nearest neighbors were English. They lived just across the lane from us. Their two youngest were my sister Lizzie’s and brother Joe’s ages. Susan and Brian were fun children to play with. I mentioned in my last post that we used to play school with Susan in their old barn. She was a born teacher. She went on to become a special education teacher in Holmes County, Ohio, where many of her students were Amish.

Brian wasn’t into playing school. He was much more into playing baseball and other sports. He and Joe used to be good buddies. Here is a photo of Joe throwing a ball to Brian. It looks like he was in charge of us younger children, for he is holding onto the handle of the wagon with a younger sister in it.

Brian was also into playing musical instruments, though this is not something I would have noticed much, given we were not allowed to have musical instruments or listen to music. He is now the Principal Trumpet player of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Below is a photo of an outdoor birthday party at the Sykora’s picnic table. I don’t remember whose birthday it was, but most likely either Susan’s or Brian’s.

Joe is on the end on the left, I am on the end on the right. I think that’s Brian blowing the bubble with the gum way back on the left hand side. I think Susan Sykora is standing up on the right, in the back. 

In this next photo, I think Joe, Lizzie, and Brian might be teasing me, judging by the body language, but it’s hard to tell. I would have been six years old, Lizzie and Brian would have been seven, and Joe nine.

Their father was an avid gardener, as you can tell from the background of this next photo.

From left to right: Lizzie, Joey, Susan Sykora, and in the far left, back, you can just see Brian’s head. This is the bathtub that we used in our living room on winter nights to take a bath. Aren’t they all so cute?

So these are some of the photos that Susan’s and Brian’s mother snuck of us as children. I’m so glad she did… these are great reminders of what it was like to play in the Sykora’s yard with Susan and Brian. I have such fond memories of that.

What fond memories do you have of playtime in your childhood? Did you play with your siblings or also with neighbor children? I have to wonder if a neighborhood of children playing together is a thing of the past. What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Snapshots – 2”

  1. I used to play with my younger brother, and several boys from the neighborhood. We were always in each other’s houses or roaming for miles across the nearby common. Sometimes we’d only come home at mealtimes. I don’t think that kind of freedom is possible now, not at that age anyway (7/8/9 years old).

    Where we live now, there aren’t many other children immediately nearby so we are forever driving our kids to friends’ houses.

  2. These photos are priceless, you’re so fortunate to have them. As a child I played with mostly neighbor children that lived in my apartment complex. I was a “city” girl. Are you still in touch with your childhood friends? Vicki

  3. I lived in Queens,NY as a child. I played on my stoop for hours on end with the neighborhood kids. We played stick ball, stoop ball, jacks,and freeze tag til our mothers called us in from apartment windows. It was a nice childhood,because people were more trusting and children could ring each others bells and ask if a friend could “come out and play.”
    Sometimes, I feel sorry for my daughter because her friends live far away and can’t always come over. I won’t let my daughter go to a friend’s house unless I know the parents.


  4. We used to play with other children who lived on our street. We had the only basketball hoop on the block–so the boys my age would come to shoot hoops. I also used to roller skate up and down the block for hours. Any of the girls with skates who wanted to would skate with me. Sometimes it was one or two others and other times it would be 5-6 girls racing each other.

    Since more women went to work there has been a drop off of neighborhood children getting together to play outside. My kids used to because I was home until the youngest entered 1st grade. I would limit their TV and computer time and tell them to go outside and get some fresh air.

    Love your photos–thanks for sharing!

  5. I was raised on a farm in Lancaster County and our nearest neighbors shared a driveway with us. Our family was conservative Mennonite and the neighbors, Joe Beilers, were Old Order Amish. We would meet their children at the point where our property lines met. Our play was quite creative – horse and wagon, writing letters with poke berries and a feather, house with imaginary borders and much more. Their world was quite small. One summer we took a family trip to Texas. Their minds couldn’t comprehend going that far since most of their travels were within a 15 mile radius by horse and buggy. They thought they had gone to the end of the earth when they made a weekend trip to an amish community near Williamsport which was 3 hours away by car.

  6. Oh, yes I played with the neighborhood children! Once in awhile, I see a friend or two around town that were part of the play group! What memories we all have!

    Debbie S.

  7. HI Saloma!

    Love the pictures! All the neighborhood kids would play together. As little kids we would all gang up on the Waldron family and play in their garage .. they had an old Model A and we ‘drove’ that many places! We also put on summer variety shows in their garage or in mine … complete with commercials. Charged our parents to come see us, too. HAHAHA!!!

    We would practice our gymnastics in my front yard since it had the softest grass and every morning, the kids would meet in my back yard because I had a swing set. Several summers found us in my little back yard tent as members of “The Chums Club” where we would make things and tell stories and collect dues and have an end of summer party at somebody’s house. We had hula hoop contests and we rode our bikes as far as our parents would let us (we lived in the country). We climbed trees. As we got older, we would visit each others houses to listen to records. Sandlot baseball was a favorite and the boys begrudgingly let us girls play because they needed us to make up two whole teams! It’s been fun to think back on these things :-)

    Our 3 boys had neighborhood fun, as well. There was a small creek that ran not far from our house and the boys were ALWAYS there unless the rest of the neighborhood was in our side yard. Next to the creek, it was “the” place to play. We had a “climbing tree” and a tire swing and a sand box that turned into a dirt pile, and finally a grave yard for toy soldiers …that’s a story for my blog someday!

    Now, those kids are all grown up and are having little ones of their own!

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