Thursday, 17 January 2013

Where Do Stickmen Come From?

Since our daughter has changed her job the school pick-up falls to me on three days of the week. I wondered if it would feel at all odd, finding myself standing in a playground, waiting for a six year-old to appear at the thin end of her learning day. But, not a bit of it. In fact it feels just right.

The few minutes of waiting are filled with the usual people-watching, nods of recognition and, most welcome of all, occasional small-talk with some of the Mums of SW's friends. Yesterday, during one of these little chats, I noticed that a young lad called Freddie was carrying an enormous stick. Actually, he's no stranger to sticks. A week or so ago, he was wielding a fine specimen, weighty enough for the hands of Little John, let alone Little Freddie.
 
Seeing him etching lines and squiggles in the dirt, leaning on it as though it was a crutch, and hoisting it high, sometimes alarmingly and always erratically, reminded me of how important sticks are to young boys. At least, that's how it used to be. But then, when I was little more than Freddie's age, I had my own penknife. Horror of horrors, I used it to sharpen sticks, remove bark, and to whittle away to my heart's content. Suddenly, I'm thinking how much things have changed. In my day, almost every boy carried a penknife. How else would he cut the piece of string that invariably resided in the depths of the opposite trouser pocket?

Penknife
Penknife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My thoughts were interrupted as SW emerged from her classroom. All smiles and oblivious to the role of sticks and knives in the far-off days of Ga (that's me) she unloaded her bags to me and we headed for home. Out the corner of my eye I could just make out Freddie's older brother examining the stick, wearing a familiar expression of approval.         
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11 comments:

  1. Sticks can be really useful.When I Was That Age I Once Killed An Entire Battalion of German Soldiers With One.

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    1. Heroic stuff, Tony. Or should I say, heroic staff?

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  2. I used to love sticks - and I used to "borrow" my big sister's penknife, just in case I came across a horse that needed to have something dug out of its foot you understand ;-) x

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  3. I'm pleased to hear that you are enjoying migling at the school gate - now don't listen to gossip about the headteacher!

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  4. Oh those wonderful innocent days of yesteryear when sticks were whatever our imagination made them, penknives were not regarded as means of assault and risk assessments hadn't even been thought of.

    I feel sad for our children in these risk-aversion days - they are denied their childhood. Such is progress...

    Anna :o]

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    1. As I've said many times, Anna, I'm thankful to be the age I am.

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  5. It used to be a common sight to see the 'old guys' in overalls, sitting in front of our county courthouse, whittling, spitting, and swapping lies. What will today's pocket knife deprived youth do when they get old?

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    1. I know what you mean, Vicki. Old guys comparing PS2 game scores isn't going to be nearly as entertaining.

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  6. Reminds me of growing up with two brothers....whittling, sticks, all very important stuff.

    My grandson calls me Crazy Grandma. Here's a slice of our lives together:
    http://crzygma.blogspot.com/2010/10/another-conversation-overheard.html

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