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Monday, November 10, 2008

Playing Pretend

As a child, I had a ton of toys growing up. I had Barbies, and Fisher Price "Peoples", and board games like Battleship and Candyland. I never got an Easy Bake Oven, but when Fondue was really huge, I had Kiddie Fondue pot that melted chocolate chips for dipping. None of them held a candle to my absolute favorite toy of all time. The costume box.

My mother had an old hamper that she filled with anything that could be counted as "Dress Up" this meant that old formals, and nightgowns, and costume pieces found their way there. Really, though, while dressing up was always great, it was only what was necessary to play my favorite game- pretend.

I had an active imagination, and whenever I could get anyone to play along, then it was time to play pretend. Most of the time, we played that we were orphans or runaways, and would have to find ways to deal with the harsh realities of life on our own in my backyard. I remember running a restaurant, and playing house, and once we lived in the "Land of the Lost" populated by dinosaurs and lizardmen.

My FAVORITE pretend game, however, was Logan's Run. There was a brief television series that came out based on the movie. The premise was a futuristic society where everyone was killed once they turned thirty. People trying to escape their fate would become "runners" and be hunted down by the government. I didn't really understand the social message behind the show, I just became fascinated with the idea of ESCAPING the evil society. We had to become runners. We ran up and down my cousin's suburban street, pursued by futuristic police (all the boys). We would sneak through yards, and find hidden paths to elude our pursuers. We always got caught, and we always escaped again. At least until our Moms made us come home for dinner.

I look at toys in catalogues, and think about when my children were little, and what toys they wanted the most. Really, it didn't matter what they ended up with as presents, as long as the costume box was full...


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