Florence Nightgown

When I was a little girl I was an only child and only had a few friends who lived in my neighborhood.  So as you can imagine there were many times that I had to keep myself entertained.  We had a television but my grandmother (who lived with us) kept the TV on her game shows and soap operas most of the day.  Oh and Murder She Wrote..always Murder She Wrote.

Pretend play was by far the easiest way to keep myself entertained.  I sometimes would read a book but honestly I preferred to make up my own stories and not read someone else's.  My collection of barbie dolls weren't just dolls, they were communities and families.  

Each time I'd pull them out I would create a couple families and each family had their own "story".  I went so far as to even write their stories out on paper.  For example, The Lawson Family consisted of Paul (Beach Ken), his wife Claire (Dee Dee from Barbie & the Rockers) and their twins Fiona and Frankie (two he/she cheap miniature baby dolls).  Paul worked at the local lumber mill and Claire was a stay at home mom to the twins.  She loved canning food and sharing with her neighbors.  Fiona was a gymnastics ingenue who needed an attitude adjustment while Frankie was a lover and not a fighter.  He loved his own boogers.

The next day I would start all over again and new families were created.  
Aside from that, I also loved to create adult pretend jobs for myself.  

Like a Waitress - Ms. Patty Pancakes

I would take my grandma's lunch order.  I'd tell her the specials (peanut butter & jelly, meatloaf & gravy or banana split).  I'd write down her order and then scurry off to my little mini-kitchen.  Sometimes she'd actually let me make her a real sandwich but most of the time I improvised.  I had plastic foods I could use but preferred to create my own food.

Play dough was a main ingredient and sometimes dish sponges.  Other times I would just draw on a piece of paper the food I would be serving.  I also loved to create the menus.  I never did anything half assed you see.

Or a Nurse - Florence Nightgown

Everyone's bedroom in my house was used as a patient's room.  My dolls and stuffed animals were the patients.   I would give them shots using a ball point pen.  I would use some form of tape as band aids.  This was after I used up a whole box of real band aids and my mom scolded me.  

My beloved stuffed Popple was in my ICU with a head concussion from a bar brawl with a Care Bear. (Birthday Bear was a drunk bastard). I'd wrap my Popple patient's head using socks as bandages.  If they were old socks I would color the ends in red marker to resemble blood.

My nursing skills were world renowned and sometimes I would even get medical requests from real humans.

A Bank Teller - Penny Nickles

A Monopoly board game was perfect for playing bank teller.  I'd put the top of the Monopoly game box on the top of the two boards (usually Monopoly and Candy Land).  I'd put the monopoly money with the tray inside my little teller window. 

There were so many other pretend things I would play.  A pretend secretary at a large Fortune 500 company or a television character from the TV Show "V" (1980's version).  A child star who made her debut on Circus with the Stars as a trapeze artist.  She was so good she quit her day job and joined a traveling trapeze troupe.

I often wonder if I were born twenty five years later if I would have played pretend as much.  Maybe, maybe not.  What with the advent of video games and the internet it seems like imagination and pretend play is SO different.  Creativeness is built from imagination and pretend.  What is built from the minds of children brought up with video games and the vast, overwhelming internet?  It seems to be forced imagination sometimes.  Kids are being told what character they are going to be.  Problem solving and hand/eye coordination is enhanced, to be sure, but what else and at what cost?  Kids have to keep a farm or a city or a virtual pet alive.  Has that taken the place of playing dolls and house? I'm not saying it is altogether a bad thing, but it is definitely different.  


Pixie said...

"Fiona was a gymnastics ingenue who needed an attitude adjustment", Ha!
Your grandmother and I have something in common, Murder She Wrote is probably the best tv programme of all time. Of all time.
The idea of the 'loss of imagination' is a tough one, as an example before my sister 'discovered computers she did the most amazing creative and intricate drawings, now everything is Manga influenced, on the other hand she has crazy amazing computer skills, knows photoshop like the back of her hand and regularly designs her own computer games. Maybe it's just a different kind of 'imagination' or 'creativity' than we're used to? (sorry for the long comment).

Tonya said...

No, by all means keep the comments coming!

I agree with what you are saying, that's why I am hesitant to say it is a bad thing.

I believe if someone is instinctively creative it will find a way to come out no matter what. Photoshop rocks.

geni said...

Wow, this blog post is like something out of childhood. Where else could I see such an obscure reference as Circus of the Stars. LOVE

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