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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Playing Pretend Some More

I've mentioned that my favorite childhood pasttime was playing pretend. It wasn't until I hit middle school, and sixth grade, however that playing pretend got really GOOD.

I had a friend named Chris who was fun and creative. She read all the good fantasy and science fiction books, and we'd have fun making up stories. I would have sleepovers at her house a lot, and we'd act out scenes from books, or stories that we made up together.

The BEST game, though, was just after Galactica '79 came out. We were both big fans of the Battlestar Galactica tv show, so when they remade the series to actually bring the Galactica to earth, we were glued to the television set. The series was awful and didn't last long, but we were in sixth grade, and had no taste. We watched EVERY episode. The basic premise was that the Galactica arrived at present day earth, and the evil Cylons had followed. So instead of just beaming everyone down to the planet, they sent some of their soldiers to work on ways to safely integrate the Galacticans with the earth population. They did this by turning invisible and talking to brilliant scientists. Like I said, we had no taste.

Chris had the brilliant idea of a secret society of scientists who worked with alien technology far more advanced than current civilization. They had already made contact with other alien races, and had a secret government funded lab where they could work on their advanced projects. She called it the EX team. We were agents of the EX team, and our cover was to pose as middle school students in an ordinary American school. When the invisible Galacticans made contact with us, we ended up trying to save the world from Cylon invaders every lunch recess in the sixth grade.

Shooting Cylons at recess ended up not being the popular activity among the other girls at school- they preferred playing jump rope. I really didn't care. I was having a great time, and there was an endless line of boys who were thrilled to play Cylons or other EX team members. Nobody EVER had as much fun at recess than we did.

My daughter came home the other day telling me about a game they were playing at school where they all had secret superpowers and were fighting bad guys at recess. You go, girl.

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...

"To be a person
is to have a story to tell."

- Isak Dinesen  

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