Monday, February 15, 2010

Playing with Hoops

Back in the late 1950's there were not too many cars in the streets of Victoria, Gozo. In fact I remember the time when only the doctor had one, brown and shiny (if my memory serves me well). I remember this car only too well because one evening I had a narrow escape when he almost hit me when rounding a corner at some speed. At about 4.30 pm I was on my way to the Oratory a sort of Catholic Youth Club and as I rounded the curb, there he was missing me by inches.

We played simple games, almost always in company with other boys, running around barefoot most of the time. We wore shorts in those days supported by braces. The braces were part of the trousers made of the same cloth and attached at the back to the waist. We wore them crossed at the back and buttoned them in front. Young boys used to wear short pants above knee length up to age 12 or 13 and then as we came into our teens we changed over to long trousers. At first we were a little shy to appear in public in long trousers, but eventually we got used to them.
In the quick sketch above the 3 boys are seen playing with hoops. We used to drive them or control them with a wooden stick with a bit of bent wire attached to its end. We ran races and became quite experts swerving and rounding corners. The hoops were sometimes of thick solid iron about 12 inches diameter and sometimes less and were probably part of the hub of a large cartwheel. At other times the hoop was made of sheet-metal like tin or zinc and these came perhaps from broken wine casks or were discarded by the coopers.
In the old days, children had much more fun. The games were more enjoyable since children played together, competed, shouted and screamed and learned to live with each other. They played in the open air and spent their energy in a healthy manner unlike the children of today who spend hours on end huddled over a computer keyboard.
Note: Hoops are used by a cooper (a skilled tradesman who makes casks) to hold the numerous staves of a cask pressed tightly together.

1 comment:

  1. Frank Galea (Cikku)June 18, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    Hi there,
    Its me again Frank Galea (Cikku minn wara Sant Wistin )but living in Australia for the last 46 years. Yes I do remember everything what you said about the hoops in those days. And what about the fine paper kites we used to fly from my Nannu (Flew or tal-Patri fields next to the Oratory ground. The oratory was a good gathering place for us in those days and very fond memories especially for me living in Australia now. Do you remember those little finicky small carts that we used to make and decorate them with coloured kite paper in a form of a boat and in summer, after you had a wash, in the early evenings parade them along the streets of Rabat.
    Hope that you, the author, remember and knows who I am.
    Cikku Frank Galea minn wara Sant Wistin living in Australia