Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hide and seek memories

Everyone played it as a kid, whether you called it hide and seek or hide and go seek. Every kid and neighborhood had their rules, too, as to what the boundaries were and what was off-limits and how high to count.
"Schoolhouse Rock" taught a bunch of us new counting rhymes. "Ready or Not, Here I Come" was the name of their jingle to teach the five times tables. "Four quarters make a dollar, I didn't hear anyone holler and "apples, peaches, pumpkin pie, whoever's not ready, holler I!" (Or was it "aye"?)

Somehow we picked up "Ollie, ollie oxen free" -- here's an explanation of how that translated to every playground across the land.

But when I read this Ask Metafilter question from a guy who grew up in suburban Boston and used to call out "My ghouls 1-2-3!" when he and his friends got back to base, I had never, ever heard of it. But the thread is great -- it brought out a bunch of kid memories, and the guy who posted the thread wrote out his own neighborhood's very complex rules here.

 I confess, I loved hide and seek. My best friend's basement was perennially under construction, and full of weird little rooms that were open to each other, and hiding in there waiting for someone to find you was so delightfully exciting it gave me shivers. Outside was fun too, but I always remember that half-built floor and snuggling in behind some pillar or open area that would eventually be a closet, trying not to be seen.

Did you have special rules or chants or counting rhymes for hide and seek? Or regional specialties for other outdoor games?

1 comment:

Brian said...

I wonder if some sociologist or historian has done a study of the origins of playground rhymes and songs. I read somewhere where "Ring around the rosey" was supposedly about the medieval Black Death. As kid, it seemed that everyone knew Miss Mary Mack, as well as ditties like: "Comet will make your teeth turn green. / Comet, it tastes like gasoline. / Comet will make you vomit, / So buy some Comet, and vomit today!" Even my dad knew that one from his childhood! But nobody ever knew where it came from.