Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kites (2)

"With tuppence for paper and string.."

What do we mean by tuppence? one might ask. Well, you can click on that word right now to find out, or I can simply tell you that it represents two pence. At least, until 1971 it did. In England.

But the more important issue here is that it is not very much money! And with it you can (or could) buy whatever you needed to build a kite: paper and string! I am not sure that people very often build their own kites now, but they used to. And I heard today of one such person. My brother.

It must have been the early 1960s, and our Uncle Jimmy was visiting (Uncle Jimmy was always good for adventures, some of which we won't post about - haha!). We loved Uncle Jimmy and looked forward to his visits very much. For one thing, he was young. His mother was our mother's mother and both his mother and our mother had babies at about the same time. This was a surprise, of course, but we all agreed that it was a jolly good one.

He and my brother decided one day to build their own kite. The winds were perfect for it, and for the moment all responsibilities were laid aside. We lived less than a block from the school, and so the baseball diamond was literally a playground for us. All sorts of great shenanigans took place there, in the days before children's mothers became afraid of shenanigans.

from Air All Around, by Tillie S. Pine and Joseph Levine
Illustrated by Bernice Myers, Whittlesey House

My brother read yesterday's blog post, and then shared this story with me:

"I remember building my own kite, along with Uncle Jimmy, many times; and we built one once that we tied multiple rolls of strings to [probably about 10 balls of at least 100 feet or more…and it was strong string], and flew it from the high school football field out towards {the cannery}. You could hardly see it at the end of the string, but you could sure feel it pull.  

It was a big kite, too, (5'6" tall, 3' across) made of multiple layers of newspaper pasted together to get enough of a sheet to cover the kite. I will never forget it. And, what a tail it had…mom gave us the materials for the tail—I think it was an old bed sheet, ripped into strips, with bowties all down the tail. She loved seeing it go out over the town. You girls went up to get her, and she came down from the house all smiles, and just couldn’t believe what we had done.  

It flew for several hours, until it was getting too dark. We couldn’t haul it in….the wind was too strong way up there, and we finally just broke it loose. So, it probably ended up in {a farmer}’s wheat field, or something.  

Thanks for bringing back the good memory!!!"

Now doesn't that sound just fine? With seemingly all the time in the world, on a fine spring Saturday, with an adventurous young uncle willing to work at it with you? Just think of how many decades ago that was, and yet - it still rings in their memories, never to be forgotten.

Since we are thinking of kites, I have picked out a little gift of a song for you. Click here, and let your own toes begin to tap ('Saving Mr. Banks', Let's Go Fly A Kite). Do take note of the man in the white shirt - I just love that guy!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Seattle Municipal Archives</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Middle-earth Mama</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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