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Freedom to Play

We Made Our Own Fun

Norah L. Lewis

Publication Year: 2002

“When we were children we made our own fun” is a frequent comment from those who were children in pre-television times. But what games, activities and amusements did children enjoy prior to the mid-1950s?

Recollections of older Canadians, selections from writings by Canadian authors and letters written to the children’s pages of agricultural publications indicate that for most children play was then, as now, an essential part of childhood. Through play, youngsters developed the physical, mental and emotional skills that helped them cope with life and taught them to get along with other children.

In both rural and urban settings, children were generally free to explore their environment. They were sent outdoors to play by both parents and teachers. Their games were generally self-organized and physically active, with domestic animals acting as important companions and playmates. Children frequently made their own toys and equipment, and, since playing rather than winning was important, most children were included in games. Special days, holidays and organizations for children and youth provided welcome breaks from daily routines. Their lives were busy, but there was always time for play, always time for fun.

Norah Lewis has provided an entertaining view of the toys, games and activities in Canada and pre-confederate Newfoundland from approximately 1900 through 1955. Her book will be of interest to historians, educators and sociologists, as well as anyone who lived through, or wants to know more about,those early years in Canada, and the games children used to play.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-x

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. xi-

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xiii-xiv

... am grateful to Neil Sutherland and Jean Barman for their encouragement and wise advice, Joyce McLean for her careful reading of the manuscript and my long-suffering and indulgent husband who served as critic and proofreader. I greatly appreciate those who contributed to this project either through interviews, ...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-32

Play, wrote Friedrich Froebel, founder of the kindergarten movement, is the highest phase of child development and the purest, most spiritual activity of young children.1 Through play, children test the rules of cause and effect, utilize deductive and inductive reasoning, and develop their imaginative and creative ...

Go Outside and Play

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THE FAIR LAND

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pp. 35-37

Memories of Saanich crowd upon me and, to this day, upon hearing the staccato chatter of a flicker, I am drawn back all those years to one secluded glade in our wood which gained special favour in our eyes. This mossy nook between long-fallen trees, which held so much charm for two small girls, also especially ...

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HAPPY MOUNTAINEERS

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pp. 37-38

It is about time I wrote to you again. We have had lovely weather here until yesterday, when it turned very cold, and last night while the people of Rossland were sleeping, old King Snow and his helper, Jack Frost, were doing their work on a couple of mountains close by here. Mount Roberts especially, from ...

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GOOD TIMES AT OAKVILLE

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pp. 38-39

We play many games at school, but there is a branch of the Grand Trunk Railway near the school, and woods almost all the way around, it is more interesting to be outside the school yard than in. In the winter we slide down banks, in the summer we gather wild flowers, paddle in the creek or have picnics. One year we ...

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THE ABSOLUTE FREEDOM WE HAD

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pp. 39-43

My earliest memories are of our three and a half acre place at Sooke. Our playmates were the younger members of the large Pontius family whose property was accessible through our back fence. The Pontius’ big barn with its loft and empty stalls, was one of our favorite places to play. Sooke Harbour was only a half ...

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A TRIP ON A STEAMER

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pp. 44-

On Victoria Day last year a party of girls of my own age embarked on a large steamer. The weather was calm and, as the boat glided near the river’s bank, we could enjoy the beautiful scenery. At first it passed many houses that were situated on open plains and could be seen well from afar. We saw many trees such as pine, spruce and maple growing on the bank. ...

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WILD FLOWERS

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pp. 45-

As father is a subscriber to the Family Herald and Weekly Star, I thought I would write. I wrote once before, but my letter found the waste-basket. I think all Canadian children should be proud of the Maple Leaf Club. I will take for my subject “Flowers.” I am a lover of them. I don’t think there is anything so ...

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WE WERE FREE TO ROAM

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pp. 45-50

As children we used to make our own entertainment. We climbed tall trees until the trees started to bend, then we’d tie ourselves on or just hang on, bounce up and down, sway back and forth, and sometimes swing from tree to tree. My brother got pretty good at it. In winter we jumped off the barn roof into deep snow drifts, ...

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(Untitled)

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pp. 50-51

I enjoy the members’ letters very much, especially those from the “Wild West.” I have an uncle living near Winnipeg (whom I was named after). My father and sister were out to see them a year ago, and last fall my brother went out for a month and a half. I would like to go, but they tell me I am too small. ...

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WE ALWAYS FOUND SOMETHING TO DO

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pp. 51-53

I am 87 years old, and am thinking about my life when I was growing up in a Newfoundland fishing village. We were let out of school at 4 p.m. It was then my job to chop off, or saw off, the wood, as our house was heated completely by wood stoves. I did the chopping or sawing, and my two sisters— a little younger than I ...

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I WAS INTO EVERYTHING WHEN IT CAME TO SPORTS

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pp. 53-55

We used to collect bird’s eggs. Three of my chums and I would to go out to the country to collect birds’ eggs. One of the boys lived on a farm on the outskirts of town and we kept our quite large collection of birds’ eggs in his barn loft. My brother Jack (he died when he was only fifteen years old) would climb up the ...

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SONGS TO SING, GAMES TO PLAY, AND PLACES TO EXPLORE

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pp. 55-57

I had twin sisters who were eight years older than I. Their mother died just after they were born, so my Father married her sister. The four of us were born with just a year and a half between. We admired and looked up to our older sisters, but the four of us ...

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WHEN OUR PARENTS WERE AWAY

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pp. 58-59

Aileen, being the eldest child of the family, had the awesome responsibility of keeping the younger children in line, when our parents were absent from the farm for any length of time. It was then that we were at our best as actors, actresses or musicians. Our parents were barely out of the yard before the show began. ...

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GROWING UP IN NORTH-CENTRAL BRITISH COLUMBIA

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pp. 60-62

My younger brother, Bob, and I grew up in the Prince George area where my father was employed by the C.N. Railway as a “Car Knocker.” Dad’s responsibilities were repairing, servicing, and inspecting all parts of the train (except the locomotive) for mechanical defects before the train was allowed to proceed. ...

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RATTLES AND STEADIES: MEMOIRS OF A GANDER RIVER MAN

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pp. 62-

Climbing aboard, and using a piece of mill edging—what we call crib—for a pole, I pushed out into the current. The brook was in spring flood and top high, and the current was stronger than I bargained for. Pretty soon I lost bottom. Halfway across the brook—which at that point wasn’t much over thirty feet—the ...

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I CAN’T RECALL A DULL MOMENT

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pp. 63-65

Television wasn’t in my vocabulary until my family moved to Ontario in 1955 and we would be invited to neighbours’ homes to see “I Love Lucy” on Monday nights and cartoons and westerns on Saturday mornings. I can’t recall a dull moment “before television.” Time was filled with reading (Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy ...

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THE EFFECTS OF A DISTANT WAR

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pp. 65-66

In 1942 my parents moved to Yarmouth, N.S. It was during the war years and at that time Yarmouth was an exciting place. Members of the armed services were a common sight as well as planes, jeeps and other war vehicles. We were constantly glued to the radio to hear what was happening overseas. It was during ...

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MY GAMES PARALLEL MY LIFE

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pp. 67-70

When asked to reflect on childhood play without television and what influenced me, what activities I pursued and what props I used, I had a lot of fun making associations with my present activities and the person I am today. I am not clear as to what play I participated in for the first five years of my life. Photos show me ...

Playing Is Playing When Shared

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MAPLE LEAF CLUB PICNIC

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pp. 73-

On the 24th of May I gave a party to the Maple Leaf Club, of which I am president. “What club? Ours?” Why, no; the club of Austin, which is formed of girls and boys from four to fourteen years, and the ones who gave a concert for the Indian Hospital on the 13th of June. As we live in the country, and most of the club live in town, ...

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

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pp. 74-75

It is quite a long time since I wrote last. I am away for my summer holidays now, and am having a very good time. I am visiting my uncle and aunt. My uncle is an inspector of Indian agencies and we are right on a reserve. Until a short time ago there were 15 of us in the house, as my aunt had quite a lot of visitors. But at present there are only ...

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THE KAY CHILDREN

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pp. 75-

Kathleen and Katy are delighted girls because their little cousin have come from town to spend the summer with them. They are going to take him to a picnic, and will be ready to start, with their baskets, as soon as they get their pretty Summer things on. Katy is very anxious to wear her new habitant hat. Kenneth ...

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(Untitled)

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pp. 76-77

A scout does not smoke. Any boy can smoke; it is not such a very wonderful thing to do. But a boy scout will not do it because it is foolish. He knows that when a boy smokes before he is fully grown up it is always sure to make his heart feeble, and the heart is the most important organ in a boy’s body. It pumps the blood ...

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THE VERY BEST TIME FOR US

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pp. 77-79

Outside in the spring and fall we had a baseball diamond. The school board gave us one ball a year and that had to last. The bat lasted longer than that, of course, but if it broke, you could always go to the poplar bluff by the barn and whittle out another. The bat didn’t matter but the ball sure did. Once it ...

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SCHOOL FIELD DAY

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pp. 79-

Will you please let me enter that cozy little corner of yours, the Maple Leaf Club? I am a reader of all letters and enjoy them all very much. My object in writing is to tell you of the Field Day our school held on the 3rd of June. Our program was a fine one; it consisted of drills, addresses and also sports. There were two baseball matches, and one basketball ...

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SPORTS WERE FINE

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pp. 79-80

... and football. I liked the baseball best of all. When the sports were over there was a dance. I did not go as I was young, but my friends went. The dance did not finish till nearly daylight, then we started home. I would like to correspond with Woodchuck; I am ten years old. ...

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WENT TO PICNIC IN AN OX CART

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pp. 80-

I have not written to our club for quite a while. I wrote two letters, but did not see them in print. We had a picnic on Victoria Day in Granite Village. We went there on the ox-team and had a good time getting back at night. I am going to the Temperance Picnic to be held at Port Clyde this month (August). I was there last year and had a good time. ...

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GOING TO MAKE A PLAYHOUSE

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pp. 81-

Last winter my brothers and my sister and I tunnelled under a big snow drift in our yard. First we made three tunnels, then we joined them and made a nice big room. We went on digging till it was about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. We had nearly finished it when it started to thaw. We also dug a ...

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BOYS’ FARMING CLUB

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pp. 81-82

We each had a calf and little pig to raise and we could do any other thing we wanted to. One warm Saturday morning we met by a little bluff to choose our secretary, manager and other officers. We made certain rules that we were to follow. We decided to have a concert to raise money to start our club. On the third of January our ...

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FROM SMALL TOWN TO BIG CITY

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pp. 82-85

Until I was eight years old I lived in Snowshoe, a small settlement which grew up around my father’s sawmill on the Fraser River, between McBride and Prince George. There were never more than twenty children attending the one room school, and although we often played with those in our own age group there ...

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CAMP FIRE GIRL

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pp. 85-

I go to Derby Academy and like it very much. I take domestic science. I have not seen any letters from the good old “Green Mountain State,” Vermont. I belong to Camp Fire Girls. I am a fire maker now. I have the wood gatherer’s ring and also the bracelet. We go on hikes and have great sport, in winter we go skiing ...

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A CHARIVARI

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pp. 85-86

Not long ago one of our neighbors’ daughters got married and a bunch of us gave her a charivari [shivaree]. The groom gave one of the biggest boys $7. The boys gave the girls only 15 cents apiece and kept the rest for themselves. Now, that’s just like a boy, isn’t it? Last Friday afternoon at school we had a ...

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HOW I HAD FUN AS A KID

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pp. 86-88

The year I was born there were very few babies born in our district. I grew up on the farm and my playmates were the farm animals. I always had cats, dogs, horses, and calves with which to play. My only brother is three years older than I. He is very mechanically inclined and works very well with his hands. On ...

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WE HAD FREEDOM GALORE

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pp. 88-92

I grew up in Brookdale, Nova Scotia, four miles on a gravel road out of Amherst. We didn’t have a car or horses or anything, so we seldom went anywhere else besides Brookdale. We were four girls and a boy, Beryl, Larry (Lar), Betts, and then me. It took five years to supply the world with those four children, and five ...

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MORE PRAISE FOR THE RED CROSS

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pp. 92-93

It’s encouraging to see everyone doing their utmost to help the Red Cross and its magnificent life-saving work. It’s up to us back here at home to help the Red Cross make it possible to supply our prisoners of war, soldiers and refugees with things they need. Let us all do what we can cheerfully and willingly. ...

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BEING YOUNGEST HAD ITS ADVANTAGES

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pp. 93-94

Here are a few memories of how I entertained myself before television. Actually, my father would not allow a radio in the house, so my memories pre-date radio in a sense. I am the youngest of a large family. My parents had fourteen children. On Sunday evening my parents would sometimes go to ...

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GROWING UP IN THE OTTAWA AREA

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pp. 94-96

I am one of a family of six. I talked with sisters Sandra and Dorothy about our childhood and this is what we remembered. The time period was the mid-40s to mid-50s. The place was a semi-rural area just outside of Ottawa where we and our immediate neighbours lived on 10 acre farms—hobby farms they ...

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CUT OUTS AND OTHER GAMES

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pp. 97-98

I grew up in the 1930s and 40s and I had a great childhood. For the most part my childhood revolved around cut outs [paper dolls]—but these were cut outs that my talented friend drew, cut outs made from catalogues, or cut outs from books. Some of the games we played included throwing a ball against a building and saying a rhyme or clapping our hands in ...

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DAUPHIN FAIR

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pp. 98-

Dauphin Fair was held July 10. The girls from our club were given tickets from Miss McConnell, and we also got a ride in a truck to the fair. Miss Herman, our teacher and leader, took us to the tent where we were registered. There was a fashion parade for the girls—three girls from our club were in it. Then after the fashion parade there ...

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(Untitled)

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pp. 98-99

I think any girl that is interested should talk it over with other girls, and get in touch with those in authority and arrange to form a company. If a girl is by herself she may become a Lone Guide. The Guides also heed the national outcry for assistance. The companies in our town have sent one shipment of clothes for the ...

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CAMPING WITH THE GUIDES

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pp. 99-100

Holidays are here again—holidays that mean swimming, camping, canoeing, and many other pleasant things. I had the good fortune to attend Guide camp this year for a glorious week. One hundred and three girls attended the camp which was divided into four divisions called pink, purple, white and blue. Each tent was named so we called ours “Well-Come-In.” ...

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BOY SCOUT WEEK

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pp. 100-101

Gather around Boy Scouts, Wolf Cubs, Girl Guides and Brownies; it’s time I reminded you that the annual Boy Scout week in Canada begins Feb. 20 to Feb. 26. Tuesday, Feb 22, will be a special day for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides for it is the birthday of their founder, the late Baden-Powell who launched ...

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A VERY BUSY CHILDHOOD

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pp. 101-103

One of my earliest memories is of playing a game in Grade 2 at Susie Bawden Elementary School in Lethbridge where we formed two lines of kids holding hands. Then we’d say “Red Rover, Red Rover, we call xyz over” and that person from the other line would have to run across and try to break through our ...

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THROUGH THE EYES OF A NEWCOMER

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pp. 103-105

I grew up as a child in Holland in the 1940s and came to Canada with my parents in 1951. For children of my generation and circumstances (sports activities were not emphasized in my family), soccer (voetbal) was the prime competitive sport. We played it in school during recess and lunch-breaks on our own with ...

PAPER DOLL POEMS

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pp. 106-

Playing Is Playing Games

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WE KNEW HOW TO HAVE FUN

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pp. 109-111

Sports and social activities dominated our free time. Many of the local service clubs such as the YMCA, Lions, Knights of Columbus, and other church organizations, sponsored youth clubs that organized hockey, basketball, volleyball, and baseball games and other community activities for youngsters. Hockey was played on outdoor rinks, but while popular ...

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LEFTY WILSON AND THE NAKED LADY

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pp. 112-115

Grade eight is about the limit of your marble playing days. You played in spring. Almost before the first robin started hopping on the lawn, out came the marbles. Then, a few weeks later, almost as suddenly as they had appeared, the marbles were gone. Most everyone played, and most everyone gambled their ...

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A FINE COASTING TRAY

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pp. 115-

My sister and I have a nice coasting path, and we have fun on it in the afternoons after our lessons are done. Our mother gives us lessons every day. We have one ordinary coasting sled, two home-made barrel stave sleds, and best of all, an old iron tea tray. And oh, Leaves, it is such fun going down on the tray. You ...

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MADE A PAIR OF SKIS

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pp. 115-116

I have a bicycle and in summer I get a great deal of pleasure out of it. On cool summer nights I often ride to Kingston and take in the show, at other times a crowd of boys will gather together at Elginburg (our home village) and go swimming in Collin’s Creek. In the spring we spear fish in the same creek. We have a ...

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TENNIS AND GOLF

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pp. 116-117

I live in a large town were there are very many attractions for young people but lately I find many of these dull and insipid. Among the many interesting things are a great variety of sports of which I was at first a great lover. These were hockey, baseball, basket ball, tennis and golf. Of the last two I ...

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THE GAMES KIDS (USED TO) PLAY

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pp. 117-121

Street games were common in the twenties and thirties. We just moved to the ditch when we heard the familiar “ah-oo-gah” of the occasional car. Eighth Avenue was a macadamized road with deep ditches and high banks. The boys on the street made a glorious swing from the telephone pole. There were L shaped spikes driven all ...

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A GAME OF WAR

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pp. 121-122

I am going to tell you about a game we played at school. “War” it is called. All the boys dressed as soldiers, they had strips of cloth from their right shoulder to their left side, and they had pieces of cloth wound around their legs. The general and most of his men wore tissue paper caps, and had pieces of cloth with brass buttons ...

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A SKATING PARTY

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pp. 122-

I am going to tell you of some the pleasure we have skating. Some of the young people and myself go down to the river about a quarter of a mile from our place to skate. When it gets cold the boys make a big fire, and then we get warm and we go skating again. This is how we spend our winter evenings. I have a mile to go to school, but we are having our holidays ...

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MAKING A RINK

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pp. 122-123

... about our neighbour’s curling rink. The boys chose a good spot for it. There were three ponies working. All the rest had sleighs with boxes on them, and were hauling snow for the sides and ends. We flooded it about four times a day for about a week. Then we got two tanks of water. We have a little shanty with a ...

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WE ORGANIZED OURSELVES

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pp. 123-125

The games we played required little or no equipment, and what equipment was needed was generally something that was lying around. We didn’t need parent groups to organize the games or provide equipment—and we never thought of, or mentioned, being “bored.” Our parents had good remedies for boredom, ...

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EVERY SEASON HAD ITS ACTIVITIES

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pp. 126-127

These included skipping, soft ball, marbles, volley ball, and roller skating (metal wheels on the sidewalk). We bounced a hard Indian rubber ball off the windowless side of the school while following a set routine of claps before catching the ball: plainsies, clapsies, roly poly, etc. The ball was ...

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A SKATING PARTY

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pp. 128-

We live by a small lake called Heart lake, so I can have many a pleasant skate. We had a skating party here this fall. There were 19 people present. We skated until 11, then we had lunch and played games till 4. I have no brothers or sisters, I am 13 and in grade eight. I ride to school on a pony; his name is Tipperary. ...

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GAMES OF WAR

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pp. 128-132

I entered Grade 1 at Vancouver’s Cecil Rhodes School in 1939, right at the start of World War II. It was a fear-filled time. As a little boy I became acquainted with constant air-raid drills, the buying of 25 cent war stamps, rationing, the ARP (Air Raid Precaution) with constant blackouts and the fearful notion that the walls had ears. ...

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SCOTCH GAMES AT BANFF

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pp. 132-133

went for a holiday to Banff during the summer and I will tell you about the Scotch sports they had there. On Friday afternoon there was dancing and the piping of the Lament. On Saturday there was more piping; this time of songs and marches. There was also dancing. I liked the sword dance best. A sword and its scabbard were crossed and they danced in ...

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PLAYING MARBLES THE ST. JOHN’S WAY

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pp. 133-134

Somebody once defined heaven as “one eternal summer day.” I suppose the summers I spent on the South Side were no different from Newfoundland summers generally—short, with plenty of rain and cool weather, and the occasional hot sunny day. But in my memory that’s not the way they were at all. Summer was ...

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CHILDHOOD GAMES IN THE YUKON IN THE 1930S

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pp. 134-136

Hugh recalls: As a child in the Yukon in the 1930s it seems we were much the same as other kids of that period. There wasn’t much money, especially on a missionary’s salary, and what toys we got usually came via relatives in B.C. and Ontario. I seem to recall Christmas being a time when these items ...

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GROWING UP IN QUEBEC

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pp. 136-138

We played cards, but never on Sunday while our grandparents were there. Other games included Tiddly Winks, Pick up Sticks, Snakes and Ladders, and Parcheesi. We had a marble game related to Chinese Checkers that was a gift from Eaton’s Department Store Santa. We also had a beautiful wooden Crokinole ...

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THERE WERE LOTS OF PLAYMATES

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pp. 138-139

There were lots of kids to play with because they were all outside playing. Tenting blankets hung over the clothesline made a good house where we played house, dolls, school, or store. We made elaborate mud pies. We skipped. We learned to do spool knitting and embroidery work. We read the clouds and made patterns on ...

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SPRING SPORT

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pp. 139-140

... only thing we think of all day. When the novelty wears off we argue about who’s supposed to be it until half go off catching gophers and the other half decide there isn’t time to have a decent game. Finally we don’t play anything for a couple of days. Then we get out last year’s softball and mend it with a blunt needle and ...

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SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES

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pp. 140-142

It was more of a command than a question. And out I’d go, often with my prized India rubber ball in hand. Between our house and the neighbour’s was a paved driveway, the perfect place to play ball. The neighbour’s wall was a flat brick surface with no windows or chimney space jutting out. She must have been driven crazy ...

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A “MULIGAN” ROAST

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pp. 143-144

I am going to tell you about a real muligan roast. We start when it is just getting dark and to everyone’s horror (but ours) we actually take corn and potatoes out of other people’s gardens. Of course every person expects their corn and potatoes to be raided. They are every year. Then some of the gang run ahead and get heaps of wood and ...

Creating Their Own Equipment

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INSECT COLLECTION

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pp. 147-

I would like very much to be a Maple Leaf. I read your corner with much interest. I am eleven years old and going to Collegiate School. I have a particular hobby—it is insect collecting. I am passionately fond of this, and spend most of my summer holidays adding to my collection. I only started a year ago, but I have over ...

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A MECHANICAL LEAF

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pp. 148-

I live eight miles from town on a farm alone with my mother and father. My favorite sports are hunting and riding horseback. I made a windmill that can saw wood one inch in diameter. I also made a saw myself. I have two pets, a dog and a cat, their names are Fanny and ...

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ENJOYS DOING FRETWORK

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pp. 148-

The boys in school do fretwork every Friday afternoon. We just started before Christmas so hadn’t made many things yet. I made a toothbrush holder, name plate and elephant bookends. We’ll be doing more of this work from now on. My brother has a fretwork saw which I take to school every Friday. I intend to ...

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BUILDING BOATS ALONG THE SKEENA

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pp. 149-150

Port Essington, like most other coastal settlements, was entirely dependent on boats. Although located at the tip of a peninsula it might just as well have been on an island, because every arrival and departure had of necessity to be by boat. When the area was known only as Spokeshute the crafts were all native dugout ...

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BIRDS RETURNING

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pp. 150-

I had almost given up all hopes of writing. I have written six times and only saw one in print. Well, I hope the W.P.B. [waste paper basket] is asleep when this one goes by for he sure likes to take my letters. Spring is near. The horned lark and whiskey jack are back, and the crows will soon be coming. The blue-jay, Arctic ...

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WHOOPIE TI YI YO!

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pp. 151-152

So I was a cowboy in my heart and mind, an ordinary individual and defender of the right at home in the great outdoors, alive to my surroundings and forward-looking. The world lay before me. Being a “cowboy” affected my work, and everyday chores I had to do, from chopping wood to gathering eggs, for I ...

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INFECTED BY A RADIO BUG

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pp. 152-154

On a number of occasions I have somewhat facetiously remarked that I had the good sense to be born into a “comfortable” Point Grey family. My father was a small employer, about 20 employees at the peak of his business, in an industry which held up well when I was a child during the Depression years. ...

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A RADIO MADE FROM A RAZOR BLADE

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pp. 154-

One of the fun things to do when I was a boy was to make your own radio. Although I did not know how a radio worked I knew they did work. I built a number of them and listened to a number of the local radio stations. I did not have much tuning capacity so I was stuck with whatever the local station had on. For an ...

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ALONE BUT NOT LONELY

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pp. 155-157

Even when I became old enough to go to school, there were no other children living on the farms in the mile between our house and the one-room school. It therefore will become apparent that I spent much time alone, or with my parents, grandparents, or my all-knowing responsive dog, Rover, who would run and jump ...

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IT WAS A MAGICAL TIME

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pp. 157-159

... I considered fun. In the winter after school, my dog, Rover, and I would haul snow and wood to the house. I would grind grain and make mash for my ducks and pet my favorite, Sir Francis. I would gather the eggs and talk to my special hens. Occasionally, my father would tow me on my skis behind the horse-drawn ...

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TRY CRAB-APPLE PIE

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pp. 159-

I’ve picked so many chokecherries for jelly and eaten so many I feel like a chokecherry myself, but that wouldn’t interest you. I know something that will, though. Have you ever tried making crab-apple pie? It takes a little more sugar, but boy! it’s good. You just wash and core the crabs, don’t peel ‘em. Sprinkle ...

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I MADE MY OWN TOYS

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pp. 160-162

I am seventeen years younger than my brother and six years younger than my sister, consequently I was reared very much as a single child. Much of my early play was by myself. My father, who was in his early fifties when I was born, was a busy man but he often took a few minutes to show me how to do something ...

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SEEPEETZA GETS A DOLL

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pp. 162-164

I buried the doll today. Somebody from town gave the school some old dolls, and Sister gave one to me. It had a hard face and messy brown hair. Its eyes could open and close. It had eyelashes. Sister looked mad when she gave the dolls out, like it was a nuisance. Then she told us to go outside and play. The wind was blowing ...

Animals: Friend, Foe,or Food

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HUNTING GOPHERS IN SASKATCHEWAN

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pp. 167-170

Charlie Riley’s pasture was a favourite place for the young Zwick boys to catch prairie gophers. The hot summer sun on the prairies always brought the gophers out to sun themselves. The prairie gopher is a golden brown creature about seven inches long, a burrowing animal that loves to stand upright on his ...

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VERY SPECIAL FRIENDS

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pp. 171-172

As the 1940s turned into the 1950s I was a child of a poor family living on the Victoria waterfront. I mention this for a couple of reasons. First, even though I was thirteen, I was referred to as a “child” as advertising agencies had not yet developed the use of the term “teenager.” Second, the old pre-1930s uninsulated ...

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A YOUNG SPORTSMAN

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pp. 172-

Although I have been a member of this Club for several years, this is my first letter to the Leaves. I live in New Ontario not far from a couple of lakes, where there is pretty good fishing during the summer months. Big game is not very plentiful around here, but there is good sport for us boys in the fall, ...

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FOND OF HUNTING

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pp. 173-

I am very fond of fishing and hunting. I always look for the month of September so as to watch my father shoot ducks and geese. We are about one hundred and fifty yards from Cut Bank Lake. The lake is about a mile wide and two miles long. There are lots of rushes in the lake so it’s hard to get the ducks without a boat. ...

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OUR DUCK HUNT

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pp. 173-

I have not had the pleasure of joining this jolly club before. My story is about a duck hunt which a pal and I had this fall. I had a .22 repeater, and my friend had a shotgun. We started out about 5 o’clock in the morning. We soon came to a slough and shot eight ducks. I fired five shots and got four ducks. Fred ...

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BUNNY FOR A PLAYMATE

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pp. 174-

I am going to tell you about a pet rabbit I once had. I found him when my brother and I were getting wood. It was just a little baby rabbit then, and the horse we had nearly stepped on it. So I took it home and fed it. It would drink milk and water and eat bread, potatoes, grass, bark and any weeds he could get. He ...

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A WONDERFUL PONY

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pp. 174-175

I want to tell you of the fun we had today. Oh! it was fun. Papa got us a dear little Shetland pony, a year and a half old, not broken in a bit. Papa said he would get us harness and a cart, but we couldn’t wait, so we got binder string from the straw stack, braided ropes, ...

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FEEDING THE BIRDS

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pp. 175-

We have a good view of the Okanagan lakes and some other lakes near here. I am ten years old and I am a member of the Audubon Society and I have been for a year. I have built bird boxes and feeding tables and the birds are quite tame. ...

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JOTTINGS FOR MY FAMILY

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pp. 176-180

My sisters, six and seven years older than I, were off at school, so I spent a lot of time on my own. I didn’t care much about dolls, but I loved the cats and dog. I had a special cat, “Snooky” that allowed me to dress him and I would put him in the blue wicker doll buggy. I even had a bottle with a nipple for him. I ...

There Was Always Something to Do

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A PICNIC EXCURSION

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pp. 183-184

One bright August morning last summer there was an excursion from this place to the north shore of Lake Huron, to hold a picnic at the little village of Cutler. Nearly three hundred people went on one small steamer, and had an enjoyable trip. The boat left Gore Bay, about nine o’clock, and after a pleasant little ...

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A BOB SLED

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pp. 184-

This is my second letter to your charming Club. It is about two months since I last wrote, but like many others failed to see it in print. Well, I am going to tell you about a pair of sleighs I have that my brother made for me about three years ago. He made three sleighs, two front ones and one hind one, and ...

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A SCHOOL PICNIC

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pp. 185-186

Now girls and boys, I suppose most of you have gone for a picnic in the woods. I have, so I am going to tell you about one I went to last summer. All the boys and girls in our school, our teacher, and a few others, numbering in all about twenty-six, gathered at the ...

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CHRISTMAS IN A PRISON CAMP

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pp. 186-187

I swing my legs to and fro, Japanese music fills our tiny room. Mrs. Kono has a small record player. From this black, leather box, with shining handles which we turn from time to time, glorious music comes. In the hot burning oven, our Christmas chicken is cooking. It sputters and makes funny noises. The ...

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CELEBRATING CHINESE NEW YEAR

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pp. 188-189

To the average Chinese family like ours, Christmas was just another day. Mr. Lam, still grateful to my father, sent a bottle of liquor. That was the only thing that happened. But to the Chinese peddlers, it was an important time. Many Chinese peddled fish and vegetables to earn a living. Their ...

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OH! MY POOR DUCK

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pp. 189-190

That feeling of Christmas for a child is one he’ll never have again. Just to hear the word “Christmas” spoken was a thrill, even in July. A week before Christmas we were at our best, willing to do anything for any member of the family without argument. A few days before Christmas, Pa would give each of us a dollar bill to ...

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SPACE, FREEDOM, ACTIVE, LOVE

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pp. 191-192

As Lee and I talk about Winnipeg childhoods in the ’30s, there are certain expressive words that come to mind, such as space, freedom, active, love—words which need to be fleshed out. And of course, whatever some may think, Winnipeg was hardly the boondocks in those days; in fact, it was the third ...

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VICTORIA DAY IN PONOKA

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pp. 192-193

I can’t recall full details from my 6th year of life, but that year our Victoria Day celebration went something like this: We had all received small Union Jacks at school. Then ten or so children in our neighbourhood decided it would be a good idea to put on a parade. We put our family’s cylinder record player in our ...

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A LOT OF STRENUOUS OUTDOOR FUN

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pp. 193-194

Most of our activities were seasonal and all outside. (I lived with my grandparents who raised me and my two sisters as my mother had died in childbirth.) The tides came into the basin from the Bay of Fundy. It was called a basin rather than a bay, because so much water rushed in with the incoming tide. There ...

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FUN WAS SEASONAL IN EDMONTON

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pp. 195-198

In June and July, all around town, in sheds and garages, in back yards and empty lots we built our soapboxes in preparation for the race on the first weekend of August. A soapbox was a work of art. The more it could resemble the flashy race cars of the day, the more impressed the crowd would be as it whooshed past on ...

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ACROSS THE PRAIRIES ON A PONY

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pp. 198-

I live in Alberta and like it fine. I don’t know what I would ever do without the coulees, the wild flowers, the wild berries, and the wild and free prairie. I am never happier than when I am on horseback striking across the prairie. I have a roan pony, and I think so much of her .../

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MY FAVOURITE PASTIME WAS GOING TROUTING

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pp. 199-202

Everyone was involved in fishing. My favourite pastime was going trouting. Now in Newfoundland when you say you are going fishing, that means you were going for codfish. Everything else you named, like trouting meant you went for trout. My mom tied a safety pin to my line, but I think my father took ...

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A VERY SPECIAL TIME

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pp. 202-206

After the apples were picked and the potatoes and mangels dug, sorted, and stored, then came Halloween. We didn’t have many outfits but we went out trick or treating on Halloween night. We usually got an apple but no candy. Some of the young guys went ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 207-210


E-ISBN-13: 9780889207318
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889204065
Print-ISBN-10: 0889204063

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada