“Once there was a little old woman and one day she went to the neighbor’s to buy a pig. It was a fine, big pig and she was mighty proud of it. When she got to her fence, she said ‘Pig, pig jump over the fence so I can get home tonight’, but that pig refused.”
This was the beginning of one of my very favorite stories my mom told me as a child. In the story, the pig wouldn’t jump over the fence no matter what the old woman did to persuade him. My mother told that story with such enthusiasm; it was like I was there watching the old woman going from animal to animal to persuade them to help her with the pig.
My mom told us stories that her mother told her. I remember “Tallypoe, Where’s my Big Toe”, the story about the Giant’s missing toe, and “The Tinder Box”, another favorite of mine whose characters were a soldier, a princess, an old witch, and dogs with eyes as big as saucers. It didn’t matter how many times I heard it, I still wanted her to tell me all about them over and over again.
Another favorite pastime of mine was watching her play with a tied-together piece of string. With a quick movement of her hands and fingers she transformed it into an intrinct pattern of lines she called Jacob’s Ladder. She could make a pattern she called Crow’s Feet. She did tricks with the string also and “trapped” our hands or fingers only to be released by a tug on the string. Sometimes she would thread a big button through the string and make a “saw”. She called it a saw because of the humming sound the button made when it spun on the string. As a little girl, I never imagined a string could be so much fun.
I was never bored. When we were snowed in and had a day off from school, my mom taught us little girls to play “Pretty Girl Station”. This was a game where one of us would be the girl at the station and the others were the transportation home. The “transportation” decided what type they wanted to be and the “pretty girl” chose which type of tranportation she wanted to pick her up,without knowing which one of the other girls was which type. Transportation could be anything you could imagine; one could be a cruise ship, the other a bus, and one an old worn out donkey. The game is played with lots of laughter and imagination, complete with sound effects and animation.
Another game was “club fist”. We would stack our hands together, thumbs up, and take turns knocking off the others’ hands. As the game progressed, for some strange reason, we could not show our teeth. Whom ever was the first to show our teeth, then all sorts of things happened to her. For instance she would get a tickle or a hair pull, or maybe a pinch. As you can imagine, it is very difficult for three little girls to keep from laughing while trying not to show our teeth. That brings back so many great memories of my sisters and I playing this game for what seemed like hours.
All of these games were ones my mom played when she was a child too, but my childhood was very different than hers. I had plenty of store bought toys and games. I had TV and a bicycle and dolls. Even still, I found her games and stories more fun and interesting than anything money could buy.