Recently being with my whole family to deal with a family emergency allowed me to spend some time with my sisters, Donni and Conni. I also had some time to spend with my nieces, Shayla and Briana. Both of these young women are adults, thus giving some perspective on the span of time I am reaching back across for these memories.
This visit led to reflection on growing up, on family, on ageing and the next generation. In our extended family our ages range from just a few months to a venerable eighty three years. Four living generations. Much to love, appreciate and contemplate. The presence of both of my sisters, however, turned my thoughts to our childhood.
I have to make a projection, here. I must assume that others reading this had similar play experiences in their childhood. I was always fond of imagination games, adventures exploding from shared imaginative activities. The one element that inclines me toward concluding that such a form of play is universal is "hot lava."
My grand children sometimes define an area as "hot lava." I recall games in childhood in which such definitions were also made. Most particularly, the family room in one particular house. The danger was the vast area of wall-to-wall carpeting that was designated "hot lava." Whatever the particulars of the adventure in play, it was necessary to traverse the vast expanses of our family room without stepping in the "hot lava."
Due to the dangers this kind of play presents to household furniture it was necessary to designate some areas as impassible. Coffee tables and end tables were out of bounds. With the necessity of leaping from safe point to safe point in a sea of lava, the tables were necessarily excluded. One broken table could damage relations with the adult community for quite some time.
So, depending on the degree of immediate supervision, cushions were often removed from chairs and sofas to provide safe islands in the otherwise deadly "hot lava." Pillows from the bedrooms, blankets and other objects also served to create the needed environment for leaping adventures.
An alternative game played in the same arena was called "fall." In this game the room was imagined as being set at some precarious angle, and the furniture provided hand-holds and safe landing places. Generally, this game was played with everyone laying on their sides, feet planted against whatever surface of furniture was available after the direction of "down" was determined.
Rolling and slithering across the carpet after a leap from one point toward another was considered "falling." Sometimes the whole environment was caught in some convoluted rotation, causing "down" to shift over time. I wonder if any of my Facebook or Blogger friends recall such adventures?
Imagination, applied to every-day objects for the purpose of play. I don't really play now in the same fashion, but I really haven't given it all up. I read fantasy fiction. I go to Disneyland often, where I face imaginary adventures time and again. I periodically re-visit Middle Earth in book and video formats. I go often into the imaginary World of Warcraft, there having both scripted and unscripted adventures.My favorite films and stories seem to embody those same adventures I had as a child.
I have met people who longed as children to grow up and be adults. I have met adults who reveled in their adulthood. I have known adults mired in the complications of adulthood who longed for a long lost childhood. None of that for me. My childhood is a place I have never left, at least in the most important elements.
So, my dear readers, be very careful. The carpet is hot lava!
I am currently 62 years old. At present I am a retired correctional officer with 20 years of service. (My real job these days is being a Grandpa.)
I am married to my long-suffering wife, Linda. I have three children; Matthew, Beth, and Jon. I currently have six grandchildren; Alexandra, Madelyn, Wyatt, Lucas, Abigail and Landon.