Issue 3-23-14 Website 2 - page 11

In The Neighborhood
by Lynne Belluscio
Last week I told you
that you would get a
pop quiz this week, but
I think you would all
pass the test about local
history. However, I was
a little disheartened
because no one called
or emailed about the
mistake in the article. I
did hear fromNewbold
LeRoy who lives in
New Hampshire and is
a descendent of Herman
and Jacob LeRoy .
He reads the articles
on line and although
he didn’t specifically
mention that he is
aware that folks in
town mispronounce the
family name, I’m sure
he knows I’m trying
my best to let people
know about Luh Roy.
In the meantime, I’ve
been collecting stories
about neighborhood games. Jim
Arrington was in last week, and
I asked him about the kids up on
North Street where he lived. He
said that they liked playing “kick
the can.” He also mentioned that
they would play after it got dark
under the street light. I have
to be honest, I never played
kick the can, but I suspect there
just weren’t enough kids in my
I posted an inquiry on one of
the museum lists that I keep track
of and in came a lot of stories
about kick the can. If you’ve
never played kick the can, and
I suspect very few kids today
know how to play – you start
with a small area that is “home”
in which is placed a can. Some
folks mentioned that they played
it with a stick instead of a can.
The game is a little like hide
and seek. Someone is “it.” And
they have to find all the other
kids who are hiding. When they
see someone, they call them out
and they have to tag them out
before the runner gets to the can
and kicks it away. If the runner
is caught they are in “jail.” If
the runner gets to the can before
being caught, they kick the can as
far as they can to send the seeker
out to retrieve it, while everyone
can hide again. If anyone is in jail,
and the can is kicked, they can go
free. The game is best played in
back yards where there are lots of
hiding places.
Someone sent me a link to a
youtube site about a Rod Sterling
“Twilight Zone” television show,
where a man living in a retirement
home, convinced all the folks,
that they could find the secret to
the fountain of youth if they all
“escaped” and played kick the
can. You can Google it and watch
it. I also learned about “Sardines”
which is another version of hide
and seek, where the people hiding
try to find each other and hide all
together without being tagged
out. I was told, that the hardest
part was after several folks were
gathered in one place, it was hard
to stop giggling and be quiet.
I emailed Marguerite Green,
who lived in Limerock and she
said that they played kick the
can, but what she remembered
was “Annie Annie Over” – Throw
the Ball Over.” They played this
game by throwing a rubber ball
over the Limerock school. There
would be kids lined up on one
side of the school and another
group lined up on the other side.
The team would yell “Annie
Annie Over” – Throw the ball
over.” And the team with the ball
would try to throw the ball over
the top of the school. If the ball
went over, they yelled “pigtail”
and then the kid with the ball
would race around the school and
try to hit a kid on the other team
with the ball.
You never knew which corner
of the school the kid would come
around. Sometimes they would
fake it, and not yell “pigtail” and
yell “Annie Annie Over” even
though they had the ball. Kids that
were hit with the ball had to join
the other team. A friend of mine
emailed and said it got to be a
rough game when they threw hard
apples over the school, instead of
rubber balls. Getting hit with a
hard apple left scars.
He also told me about “Buck
Buck” which was a game of
endurance. Five or six kids
would bend over and form a
line. The other team, would one
by one hurl themselves on top
of the line, to see if they could
break it. Bill Cosby recounts
playing Buck Buck in his
neighborhood in Philadelphia.
They were challenged by a team
from another neighborhood and it
looked as if the other team would
win, until “Fat Albert” threw
himself on the other team.
What fascinates me is that all
over, in little towns, on farms,
and in cities, kids played these
games and frequently they had
the same names and similar
rules. They weren’t organized
games like baseball or football,
yet they were passed along from
one generation to another, one
town to another. And they have
disappeared from the experiences
of today’s kids.
Some sources will attribute
the decline of kids playing to the
television and today, of course
to digital games. Others will cite
the change in community safety
or the mobility of people in and
out of neighborhoods. It’s hard
to let your kids go out when
you don’t know your neighbors
or you have to check a police
report to see who’s living in
your neighborhood. Times have
changed and so have the way
we play.
Oh, and if you’ve read this far
and want to know what mistake
was in last week’s article – I
listed the Triangle Tract marker
as being on South Street instead
of Summi t St r ee t . Wrong
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