|The grandest vehicle my brother and I put together. We even let our little sisters ride in it.|
Hubby grew up in Brooklyn and I grew up on the Jersey Shore—worlds apart in some ways but there were similarities. In both Brooklyn and NJ, one of the ways kids entertained themselves was by making their own scooters. The raw materials were readily available. All that was needed was an old shoe skate (the kind that had four metal wheels which you buckled on), a piece of 2x4 lumber (which somehow always seemed to be around), and an old wooden box crate—also easy to find. With a hammer and some nails, the homemade scooter was a wonderful contraption. Everyone decorated their scooters with bottle caps that were hammered into the wood.
The scooters made lots of noise rumbling on the street. It was wonderful!
Nowadays, there seem to be no old metal shoe skates hanging around—no old wooden crates either. Kids today have nice, shiny scooters purchased in the store. The ones we made as kids were definitely cruder, but we had a great sense of accomplishment for having put our own scooters together.
Another way the kids used up their free time back in our youth, was to put together their own go-carts. At the shore, we called them buggies. Usually, we got the wheels from an old baby carriage—but any sort of wheels would do. With more scrap lumber and a rope (used for steering), we had an exceptional vehicle. Naturally, you needed either a hill or someone to push if you wanted to go anywhere.
I know I acquired some rudimentary mechanical skills from the labor—as well as a sense of pride. Where else would I have ever learned about cotter pins?
Everyone played baseball on the street. We did not have teams or coaches.
We got sweaty and dirty. But we had fun. And it didn’t cost anything.