Monday, July 7, 2008

Cheap Entertainment in Cheeseland

Man, these hot summer nights have really got me reminiscing.

Recently, I e-mailed my sister Sheri and our two same-age cousins, Lori and Lisa, to ask them what they remembered about the games we played as kids in the summertime. I pretty much remembered what the games were called, but then only remembered bits and pieces about how they were played.

Of the four of us, my sister Sheri remembered the most about these—and then she very generously googled and wikipedia’d her heart out to try to figure out how these games were played.

I wonder if anyone else played these, as well? Or are these just games that some crazy Cheesehead made up? Here they are:

 Seven Steps Around the House—I think the rest of the U.S. refers to this game as “Ghosts in the Graveyard.” This game must be played in the dark, and basically the objective is for one kid to jump out of hiding and scare the beejesus out of all the other kids.

 SPUD!—a kid throws up a ball, the other kids scatter, another kid catches it and yells SPUD! All other players must stop and wait to be pelted with the ball. I loved this game.

 Red Rover—I’m guessing most kids growing up in America have played this game. It should be called “How to Break Other Kids’ Arms.”

 Red Devil—played in the driveway, and like the game of categories, except a) The players have to guess the correct word that the “Red Devil” (the person who’s “it”) is thinking of, and b) The person who guesses correctly has to race against the Red Devil in opposite directions around the house. Whoever gets back to the driveway first wins. Why Red Devil? I have no idea. Sounds like a weird title for a game played by good little Catholic girls. But it was fun!

 Cartoon Tag—like the regular game of tag, except in order to be “safe,” all you had to do was squat down and yell out the name of a cartoon. With approximately 50,000 cartoons on tv (and this was even before the Cartoon Network), there was absolutely no way for the person who was “it” to win this game.

And while we’re on the subject, what did you call the “safe” zone in a game of tag when you were a kid (the place where the person who’s “it” couldn’t touch you)?

We called it “gool.” Iwanski and his friends called it either “gool” or “glue.”

Wikipedia says that the expression “gool” is unique to northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

But what do kids in Washington, Nebraska, or Texas do when they need to take a break during the game of tag? There’s no gool? That’s preposterous!


Sling said...

We called the safe zone in tag,'Free'..As in 'Olly,olly oxen free!'..All those other games seem quite bizarre,and frightening.

Buck said...

Honestly, I don't remember ever playing "tag" while growing up in Texas.

We either played football or shot rabbits. (However, I was indoors making lasagne)

Miss Healthypants said...

Sling--thanks for responding about your "gool." And perhaps those games are a bit frightening--but fun! *grin*

Buck--as always, you make me laugh. Lasagne! Ha! :)

Diane said...

As kids we played SMEAR THE QUEER... as we ran outside for recess some kid pulled off another kid's hat and we had to chance after the kid running w/ the hat. If he/she got caught we smeared him/her into the ground but usually they through the hat up and someone else became the "queer"
It was so much fun but we couldn't play it any more because a kid broke his collarbone! Matt Brickenacher was his name... the year after he moved away... Matt, if you are reading this let us know how youa re doing! :)

Daisy's Mom said...

We played Gestapo. We would break into teams and basically capture and torture each other. Mostly putting small amounts of grass clippings on each others' head or sprinkling faces with rain water.

I remember this one kid didn't always play fair. He would hurt kids and he pissed me off. One day I had him cornered in a basement vestibule as I held a brick above my head ready to pound him. All of a sudden I realized what could happen.... I scared the crap out of myself... and never played Gestapo again.

Miss Healthypants said...

Diane, chickie, that is a horrible title for a game! And it sounds pretty weird. *grin*

Daisy's Mom--that is crazy! I imagine that would have scared the crap out of me, too!

MaryRuth said...

Wow...Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I haven't thought of these things in a LONG time.
I grew up in Milwaukee, and we too played SPUD and used the word "gool".
The games we played most often were "captain, may I?", "red light/green light" and "kick the can" , but that one was mostly when we went to our cousins' house where there were more kids.
Our games were pretty tame, cuz there were only girls in our group.
Great blog! Cheese Power!

Diane said...

P.S. back in 1980 if you were called queer it meant you were a weirdo or bizarre not a homosexual!

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