By Marion McKechnie

When I was young, we did not have the things that children have nowadays such as movies, television, all the mechanical games and so on. Consequently, we had to make our own amusements, mostly outdoors.

Two of our games were paper chases and chalk chases. For the first, we tore paper into pieces and two people were chosen to be the hares. There was plenty of open land with trees and hills for us to run on.

The hares were given a good head-start, and as they ran, they dropped handfuls of paper, here and there, for the hunters to follow. The idea was to see how quickly the trail could be found and followed back to the starting point.

The other game of chalk chase was lots of fun. We hoarded all the bits of chalk we could find and usually on a Saturday, started out. Two people were given a good head-start. They marked chalk arrows on fences, trees, buildings or any other suitable place for the followers to find. At times, there was a lot of back-tracking to make the trail more difficult to follow.

One day, my friend Jessie, who had very curly hair, and I, ran through a patch of burdocks, and both got our heads full of burrs. Then, I fell down a small hill into another patch of burrs – bootjacks this time. My clothes were full of them and they really made me uncomfortable, but we had to keep on running to keep ahead of our pursuers.

After the game was over and we went home to clean up, we found that it was quite a job to rid ourselves of all the burrs. Getting the burdocks out of our hair was the biggest job. Jessie’s mother worked for a long time, and finally got all the burrs out, but Jessie’s hair was nearly straight by the time it was finished.

These were just two of our favourite games, but we had many others, which kept us occupied in our play times.