Sharon Kennedy: Picking out the props – Cheboygan Daily Tribune

sharon-kennedy:-picking-out-the-props-–-cheboygan-daily-tribune

After all of that camDown and your mother would feel the same.

Sharon Kennedy

You never know when you’re going to need something you threw out or sold five years ago. When my publisher suggested I bring some old toys to the Pickford Hay Days, I thought it was a great idea until I realized I didn’t have anything from the 1950s.

During my purge of everything old, I sold all my childhood dolls, games, marbles, jacks and toys including a glass washing machine complete with a metal agitator. I wasn’t overjoyed to part with these relics. It was simply a matter of common sense. I didn’t need them and I have no grandchildren so there was no point in keeping them.

At least that’s what I thought until it was pointed out to me that when I sell my book, children might have fun examining some items from the old days. Even if they’re not specifically mentioned in one of the chapters, something like a blackened cookie sheet or a tin measuring cup that doubles as a flour sifter might be an intriguing piece of equipment. I had nothing of the sort, but I knew who did because he never throws away anything. I used to chastise him, but now I’m grateful for his stash.

So off I went to my friend’s house to consume a good dose of humble pie. He said I was welcome to rummage and take whatever I wanted. I didn’t hear his laughter until I was knee deep in boxes. I did the most logical thing and ignored him as I dug for treasures. I spied the black cookie sheet. Heaven alone knows how many thousands of cookies it held as it felt the heat of a wood stove oven. Then I saw an old fashioned hand-held flour sifter. Nothing special about that except the handle.

In the old days, people made do. If something broke, it was mended whether it was a piece of farm machinery or the handle of a flour sifter required by the cook. In place of the metal that had obviously split from years of use, someone had screwed on a wooden handle. I put that in my increasingly large pile of what I would have formerly referred to as “junk” had I not been knocked off my exceedingly high horse. I found a few other metal containers used in the old days, but I still hadn’t located anything that might catch a boy’s eye so I kept digging.

I was almost ready to call it quits when I hit pay dirt. As if by magic, a red metal International Harvester tractor appeared. I reached into another box and pulled out something resembling a wagon. It was rusty metal but still had four wheels and a tongue. With a little persuading, I attached it to the tractor. I was disappointed not to unearth more farm implements. However, I did find an unopened C-ration can of pound cake.

One of the last props I nabbed bore a strong resemblance to the paddle that hung behind our teacher’s desk. It was the same shape but not nearly as wide, and it lacked the holes that made it a fierce weapon. I thought today’s kids might like to know how troublemakers were punished in the old days.

So if you want to see these outdated items and a few more, come to Pickford tomorrow. I won’t be the only one sending you on a trip down memory lane.

To contact Sharon Kennedy, send her an email at [email protected]

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