On the school ground girls played hop-scotch, drop the handkerchief, and pitch washers. Boys spun tops and shot marbles, part of the time in a big ring and part playing rolly-hole. An agate cost more than an imp and they were both more valuable than the lowly doogie. Each boys favorite marble was his shooting taw. Boys also played one and over and both boys and girls played shove-up or workup with a twine ball. Also both groups played pop the whip and on a line of 40 or 50 kids making a bend, the two or three on the end would become airborne. Then away from school we had corncob fights and rubber gun fights. One just was not a real boy until he had been clobbered on the head with a water- and-manure-soaked cob. One Sunday afternoon a group of us boys were having a real shoot-out with rubber guns. We must have been about age 13 or 14. A group of girls walked up and seems like it was Lola who said, You guys are too old for that. And Mary chimed in, Yeah, lets go for a stroll and walk the train rails. Houston came back with Aw come now, fellows, were growing up or havent you noticed? We looked at the girls and then at each other. And Doc or Paul says, Know something? I think they are right. So we went and walked the rails toward Cedar Hill. And from that day forward never again would we play rubber guns!
As we grew up we began going to play parties. Here we played games like Musical Chairs, Pin the Donkey, Spin the Plate, and oh yes, dont forget Three-minute Date. At school we had various programs. There were the Junior and Senior Class plays, there were Halloween and Christmas plays, and there were stunt nite programs. Many former students will remember the Arkansas Centennial Pageant we put on in 1936.
Some may wonder why write about the Depression period 30s. Like many of you I was a child of the Roaring 20s, a teenager of the 30s, and a young adult of the early 40s war years. We were products of the red clay Ozark foothills of north central Arkansas. Sights, sounds and scents of this region and of this era leave a more indelible imprint in my mind than any other place or time.
The author, R.C. McCourt, is shown in the photo above with some of his second grade playground partners at Pangburn in 1928. From left to right they are Vernon Wallis, Thomas Moss, Rex Humbard and McCourt. Yes, this is the same Rex Humbard who became a famous television evangelist.