Right now, I'm staying at my parent's house a little while, restocking toys, visiting with my beloved family, discussing politics with my brothers, cashing in on a Nana deprived of her grandson for a few months. There is just something about home.
I grew up on 18 acres, mixed woods and field (weeds, scrubby trees) and lawn, one pond, one damned up little river to make another big pond. It's just heaven to me. Outdoors it is so beautiful. Inside there can be trouble and drama, but outside, I could always escape to wander around for hours by myself. In my head, I herded cattle for hundreds of miles with a willow branch whip. I created whole other worlds to live in. And when I felt the need for company, all I had to do was go inside.
Inside, my brothers could usually be persuaded to play with legos or clay. Each of which was a full scale production in creating miniature worlds. Out of our gray clay, highlighted with whatever colors were still un-homogenized, we fashioned houses, cars, people, money, food, guns, televisions, radios, computers, couches, bridges (to my little brothers high chair island), and whatever else we could think of. When we play legos, each of us would have an island on the carpet housing our personal legos. Each island was it's own country, complete with fortifications (cannons, patrolling gun boats, etc.), and each play time almost always ended in full scale world war, which usually ended with us all mad at each other, because really, you can't tell who got shot (if anyone) by a tiny plastic gun.
Then there was my room. As the only girl (out of six kids), I always had my own room, after my younger brothers were out of their cribs. My favorite things to play with were legos, barbies, marbles, and a mixture of small plastic and rubber animals. When Caleb, my son, found my marbles last year, I could still remember each marble's (they were people) individual or group identity. There were a few different scenarios for the marbles. In one (my favorite), they were a country, and they had to other throw a wicked king, and all the intrigue and plotting that goes into that. In another, they were in school or camp, and the marble run was a waterslide, and there were intricate social structures that went into that one.
Barbies and legos were my favorite though. Legos had more building potential. You could have more of a scene. Barbies, though, you could dress up. I was heavily into making clothes for them. Gymnastics were a big theme for barbies. I was (still am, for that matter) enamored with gymnasts. With the Barbies and the legos, each character had their own personality. They all had names, and these things never changed. Alec, the former pirate, amazing jockey, (modeled loosely after Alec from the Black Stallion book) was always Alec, and he always loved Christy, another jockey, a tomboy with freckles and red hair. The lego setting was a horse ranch. I had stables, bunkhouses, a mess hall, private rooms for the owner and his family. And the best thing about legos was that I could constantly redesign these things.
I loved playing. I had so much power to amuse myself. We didn't have a TV. My childhood, in regards to play, was amazing.