Let’s Play

This post comes from a weekly memoir writing prompt provided by The Red Dress Club. This week’s RemembeRED prompt was to write about a game you played when you were young. 

I wasn’t much of an outdoor game player when I was growing up.  I wasn’t athletic, lacked coordination, and feared getting hurt.  I detested softball in school and prayed the ball would come nowhere near me because I was sure it would either hit me on the noggin, or I would drop it and everyone would boo (maybe that’s why I was always picked last for a team!).  But the one game I have fond memories of is SPUD.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s played with a red kickball and a slew of kids.  Everyone gets a number and someone is designated as “it.”  The person who is “it” throws the ball straight up in the air and calls a number.  Everyone scatters except the person whose number is called.  That person has to run and catch the ball and call SPUD.  Everyone freezes, and the person with the ball may take three giant steps before throwing the ball and trying to hit another player.  If he or she is successful, the victim gets the letter S.  If he or she isn’t successful, the person who was “it” gets the letter S.  The intended victim, whether tagged or not, now becomes “it” and the game continues.  Once a person gets all four letters in SPUD, he or she is out. The game is over when only one person is left who does not have all the letters.

I invariably lost in this game for several reasons.  First, I lived in a neighborhood of pretty athletic kids, and most of the girls were tomboys.  I was the smallest, weakest, least coordinated of all of them.  I couldn’t throw the ball very far.  I was a slow runner.  A very slow runner.  And finally, everyone knew my number and called it over and over and over again, including my brother.  I didn’t care.  It wasn’t the game I really cared about so much.  I had no illusions that maybe this time I wouldn’t be the first called out.  I liked the game because I got to stay out late on a summer night with my brother.  And there was nothing I liked better and no one I’d rather be with than him.

We usually played SPUD in the street in front of our house.  We had a ton of kids in our neighborhood, and it wasn’t hard to round up a dozen or more.  We’d start after dinner and keep playing as the light began to fade, moving under the streetlight when it got dark.  Since I was usually out first, I had the luxury of sitting on the edge of our front lawn, watching the rest of the game without having to run and get sweaty, two things I was averse to.  I’d capture lightening bugs in my hand, pull up grass and make it whistle, lie back and look at the stars, smell the summer scents of flowers and newly mown lawns. I was perfectly content.   As it got close to ten o’clock, the witching hour for most of us, parents would holler their kid’s name, and gradually the game would wind down as fewer and fewer players were left.  On more nights than not, my brother was the victorious one.  But I was really the winner, because I got to spend a summer night playing SPUD with him. 

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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12 Responses to Let’s Play

  1. I absolutely loved this post. The pictures of you and your brother are wonderful! My younger brother was just like me, not athletic in the slightest. We bonded at a very young age and are still very close today. My older brother was in every sport. I actually did play baseball when I was very young, my dad was the coach so that helped. I am very good at throwing and catching, just not so great at actually moving around the field.

    • comingeast says:

      Glad that you had a brother who was just like you. Even now my brother is still athletic. He is a runner and is in nearly every race he can find in the Richmond area. He’s still brother-mean to me sometimes, calling me Schnorklepuss, etc., but he brings me Red Vines every time he visits, so that more than makes up for it.

  2. Val says:

    I love this post, particularly as I started a kind of ‘memory-jogger’ diary for myself recently to preserve my failing memories (for myself as I’ve no kids) and it’s great to read about other peoples childhoods.

    And I love your photos, but then I would, wouldn’t I!

    • comingeast says:

      I wish I had a better memory, but that’s one of the fabulous things about photography (as you well know!): It jogs your memory. Lucky for me, my father liked to take pictures, so I have a ton of old family ones.

  3. judithhb says:

    just love it Susan. I was athletic but I had a sister who wasn’t and I am sure that she would endorse your comments about being the last one chosen and the first one out.
    Memories are great. 🙂

  4. E.C. says:

    Aw how sweet. Memories such as these are precious. Thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂

  5. Julia says:

    What a sweet story and a great memoir piece. I loved it!

    • comingeast says:

      Of course, since that writing site limits us to 600 words, I couldn’t put in all the mean things my brother did to me, but I still thought he was great. He still is!

  6. What great photos to illustrate your travel down memory lane. I love how you looked up to your brother; he was a handsome young guy (and you adorable!). Where is your brother now?

    • comingeast says:

      We actually live near each other (2 hours away) for the first time since college. We see each other twice a month usually, sometimes more. There were years in between that we wouldn’t see each other for several years in a row. That was hard. I still think he’s great!

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