Monday, March 10, 2008

Far Ago and Long Away

The names of some of the moves in a couple of activities I used to do as a child. If you are old enough, or a student of ancient history, you might know to what these lists refer ...

1. Spinner
2. Walk the Dog
3. Over the Falls
4. Skin the Cat
5. Around the World
6. Rock the Baby
7. Around the Corner
8. Three Leaf Clover
9. Creeper
10. Loop the Loop
11. Man on the Flying Trapeze (Breakaway)
12. Barrel Roll
13. Lindy Lou
14. Shoot the Moon
15. Atom Bomb


1. Palm - half flip
2. Back of Hand - half flip
3. Elbow - full flip
4. Knee (ditto)
5. Nose
6. Head
7. Slap Pappy Over the Fence
8. Ten Sticks


Jason said...

The first list is obviously yo-yo tricks. Though I admit I only recognize half of them. I was never that good a yo-yo guy.

The second list you've got me on, Mammoth baiting tricks? ;)

Mushtaq Ali said...

Ahh, yo yo season. I remember when all the new Duncan yo yos showed up at the market and all the kids would start practicing their best tricks.

I always went for the "Tournament" in wood, while some of my friends liked the "butterfly". The rich kids went for the "Imperial".

Them was the days. Kids these days don't get good yo yos like back then.


Aaron said...

Seems to me that alot of these were the names of tricks during the yoyo resurgence of my own childhood.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

I spent _months_ trying to find a wooden yoyo for a play I was doing props for in the 80s. Plastic wouldn't do: it was Merchant of Venice, being done more or less period.

Could not find one anywhere in town :(

Steve Perry said...

I have box of 'em in the attic somewhere, I think.

The biggest joy of the wooden ones was that the yo-go guys who came around to give the contests could carve your initials or name, under a snazzy palm tree, in about forty-five seconds. It was part of their training.

I considered trying to go to work for Duncan, but one of the requirements was that you had to be able to yo-yo with both hands, loops and shoot-the-moons, at least, and as as lefty, I wasn't so good.

I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary about Pedro Flores, "World on a String,"

He was the grandfather of the toy in America, before he sold his company to Donald Duncan. Many of the yo-yo men who did the tours back in the day were, like Flores, Filipino, from the country where the toy was first made popular. Flores invented the slip-string, which made the thing do more than just go up and down.

The documentary features, by the way, an interview with Dan Inosanto. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the second list is mumblety peg, or "knife peg" as you refer to it in your next post.

I'm old enough (and from a rural enough area) to remember that!

Steve Perry said...

Mumblety peg is the right answer, though we just always called it "peg," or "knife," to differentiate it from the stick version.

There are all kinds of variants, but this is the one I learned. It was the boys' equivalent of jacks, a girl's game played with a small rubber ball and little metal pieces that looked kind of like caltrops, with rounded tips. Hopscotch, jump rope, tether ball, red rover, pile-on, leapfrog, all playground games that cranked up a recess if the weather permitted.

Back in those days, every boy I knew carried a pocketknife, and we played the game on the schoolground and nobody seemed to care.

Anonymous said...

Except we called them "jack knives" -- and most of them were scout knives with spoons and forks on the sides :-)

Jon said...

Here's a great description of the Mumbly-Peg (as we called it) sequences. It also explains the origin of the name, although regretably we didn't know this portion.

I think you taught Jess and I this game when we were little, and we took it with us to summer camp in Michigan. And it took off like Wildfire. At the end of 7 weeks, the counselors gave us each a specialty mumbly-knife in honor of how popular the game became among the campers and counselors. Great memories.