Thursday, January 15, 2015

Building your own fun

Have you ever made yourself a toy?

I bet you have. I bet you've made a kite, or a spinning top, or a model boat. I bet you've tied a loop of string for Cat's Cradle, or picked out a good stick for a bat before playing ball.

I made a top out of paper this morning. 
See? It spins and everything!

A few decades ago, in most of this province, toys weren't available in stores year round, if ever. Kids had to make their own.

Winston Fiander grew up in Coomb's Cove, Fortune Bay, and he had a few tricks up his sleeve when it came to making his own fun.

"We used to make these slingshots. (...) you'd take a piece of line (...) looped, and in the base of that loop would be a couple of pieces of line where you could support a rock. And so we would have it rigged so that you put your finger through a loop in the end of the line, and you caught a hold of the line with your finger and thumb, and you just put a rock in it, and you'd wind it round and round and round and then you'd let it go. (...) And it would go, geez, it's amazing how far the rock would go."

When we got to talking about hockey, he told me he and his friends had a puck to play with, but they made their own sticks.

"We used to make them out of wood. Well, you know how they used to make timbers for boats (...) you just go into the woods and you find a stick that looked like a hockey stick (...) bent already and you chop it off and bring it home and shave it down a bit and there you are, you got a hockey stick."

Paula Roberts, from Clarenville, did some quite ambitious building with her friends:

"Somebody threw out a baby buggy once, and I remember... we took the wheels off of that and made the wickedest go-carts."

And then, they hit the jackpot of scavenged building (and bouncing) materials.

"Somebody had thrown out a mattress, and we tore the mattress apart, and all the springs that were inside the mattress, we took and attached them to our feet, and made like bungee, springy things. (...) I'd say for about two weeks we were occupied by tearing up that mattress. But the wood that was inside the mattress we used for the go-carts."

If you'd like to take part in ICH's Hoist your Sails and Run project, or talk to us about toys or game equipment that you once made, please drop me a line here or by phone at 739-1892 ext 3.

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