Click and Wheel and Other Activities

Almost all farm boys had a sling shot, always in the hip pocket of their overalls.  Most also had a worn Barlow knife, which they used to play Mumble Peg.  These were enjoyable playthings, but the universal favorite was Click and Wheel.

It consisted of a round metal wheel about eight inches in diameter, obtained from a wagon and buggy axle.  The other part was the 'Click,' which was made of stiff wire with a corncob handle placed on the pushing end.  The wire was bent to form a flat area to push the wheel along the ground.  The flat area had sides to prevent the wheel.  (See the diagram of Click an Wheel)

The wheel rolled, giving it a start.  The Click bottom was placed at the rear bottom of the wheel, so that when you pushed it, it would continue to roll.  Contests would be held to see who could maintain the rolling wheel over difficult terrain.  But usually two boys would push their own wheel.  They would walk long distances pushing the wheels up and down hills.

Another fun, cost-free activity was corncob battles.  In almost all corncribs were numerous corncobs, which accumulated when the corn was shelled.  This was the ammunition for a corncob war.  When a cob was broken in half, it was just the right size to throw.  It could be thrown hard and would smart if it struck you.  For a really intense battle, you needed several participants.  Sides were chosen, and one group would defend the barn, while the others attacked.  Unfortunately, the game often ended up with a hurt boy and an unhappy parent.  A hard-thrown cob to the side of the face of head often smarted.

One of the most senseless and repugnant activities of the thirties was bird thrashing.  In clearing land, the underbrush was placed together, forming brush piles.  There could be several of these in a  field.  Birds would roost inside the brush piles.   For a bird thrashing, the pile would be set on fire.  As the birds fled from the fire, the participants would try to hit them using limbs or thorn bushes.

''Any over'' was another fun activity.  All that was required was a ball and two participants.  The ball was thrown over the house by one player and caught on the other side by the other player.  The players threw it back and forth.  This was not only fun, but was good training for baseball.

Charades was also a fun activity.  One team would approach the other saying ''Bum, bum, bum, here we come.''  The other team would reply ''What's your trade?''  The response was ''Sweet Lemonade.''  Then the reply was ''Get to work and get it made.''  Then the reply was ''Get to work and get it made.''  The charade was then performed by each member of the team.  This continued until the other team guessed what they were doing.

NEXT: Wash Day