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A Blast From the Past

Historical Facts | September 23, 2018

What baby boomers would refer to as having a “blast” would be perceived as “boring” to today’s generation. Yesterday’s culture looked quite different than ours does today. The forms of entertainment would be unrecognizable to the youngsters today.

What is a pram? A pram is a baby carriage that was developed in the 1800s, starting out in its primitive form as being made of wicker. As they developed it further, it had been improved upon by changing it so that they could be pushed rather than pulled and the child could lie down in them instead of sitting up. Other improvements included brakes, big rubber tires, plastic handles, and even power steering. Eventually, they started making toy versions of them for young girls to play with by pushing their baby dolls around in them. 

Children’s street culture.

Urban cultures back in the day allowed children to be able to play in the street with no fear of being attacked or getting hurt. Accidents still happened from time to time but certainly not like today. They didn’t require constant supervision back then. The children would just hang out in the street for hours with no parents nearby telling them to do chores or go to bed. 

Usually, as long as the kids were home by dark, the parents were fine with it and didn’t see a reason to worry. These “street” children would create their own entertainment using their imagination consisting of scavenger hunts, secret clubs, hide and seek, and even come up with “legends” like a certain house in their area being haunted.

Hula-hoop

The Hula-hoop was a curious invention that, for some strange reason, brought about a form of entertainment to many – even a fad back then. It created a sense of competition to see who could hula-hoop the longest. Modern-day hula-hoops are made of plastic but they were originally made of willow, rattan, grapevines, and stiff grasses. Children and adults alike enjoy twirling them around their waist, limbs, or neck and even rolling or throwing them. Originally, they were a form of Native American Hoop Dance, which was a form of storytelling using as many as 30 hoops for props. It was a craze in England in the 14th century and doctors had to treat patients for pain from dislocated backs as a result. As the name “hula” suggests, Hawaiian dance in the 18th century was similar as it involved the same movement of the hips. 

Wham-O toy company gave it international popularity when they marketed the plastic version successfully in 1957. By July of 1958, it became such a fad that twenty-five million of them were sold in less than four months with 100 million being sold in two years. The hula hoop was actually inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York in 1999. Many records have been set for hula-hooping but the longest verifiable record for steadily spinning it was 74 hours and 54 minutes in 2009.

Clackers

Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, these strange-looking balls were simply held together with a string that was swung up and down, making a clacking sound which explains the name “clackers.” Despite their popularity, they eventually had to be taken off the market in the United States because it was reported that some children were being injured, when, at times, the hard acrylic plastic would shatter from banging against each other. 

Similar to playing golf, Croquet was played in London back in the 1800s with the All England Croquet Club being formed at Wimbledon, London in 1868. There are two varying opinions of the origin of the game of Croquet. One is that it dates back to Charles II of England between 1630-1685 and the other is that it was introduced by Ireland in 1850. Another name for it was called Pall-Mall. The game had spread to other countries by 1867 including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

This popular game is played outside on the lawn in which the entire family can play. It has been known to be highly competitive and does involve a certain amount of strategizing in order to win. Croquet is a game that is still played today. There is even an organized championship that takes place every 2-3 years by the World Croquet Federation (WCF) – the most recent of these was held this year (2018) in Wellington, New Zealand.        

Back in the good old days, if you wanted directions, you wrote them down on a piece of paper; when you paid your bills, you mailed a check using envelopes and stamps; you listened to music on record players or the radio and made telephone calls on rotary or push button landline telephones.

In today’s culture everything revolves around computers in one way or another. Our whole life is connected to the computer, from games to business. We have endless hours of entertainment: movies, shows, utube videos, social media, music, and the list goes on and on. Whatever your interest is, there is something for everyone no matter what your age. When it comes to business, we can do our bills, balance out checkbook, keep track of medical records, find jobs, and this list goes on and on as well. 

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Terry Claypoole

Writer

Terry is a lover of the beach, history, politics and has a passion for social media and technology. In her spare time, you can find her at the beach (of course) enjoying the sand and sun and listening to music from the groovy era.