1935: Play

I’ve been spending my Sunday sewing velvet curtains for a puppet theater that my dad built for my nieces, Olivia and Iris. It is a belated Christmas present to them from him, and I offered my ~ahem~ skills as a sewer of straight edges and square and rectangular shapes (about all I can handle — I received a C- grade in the “sew something” part of home economics in 7th grade. I don’t know why they didn’t like my shorts with bows on the side!).

Anyway, while working on the curtains, I’ve taken to occasionally pulling out my Bert (of “Ernie and” fame) puppet to test them out, and it got me thinking about how I’d rather play with puppets than go to work tomorrow. So with that thought, I bring you this little excerpt from a book titled Play: Recreation in a Balanced Life, written in 1935 by Austen Fox Riggs (Country Life Press, N.Y.). The book is devoted to helping overworked adults feel more like kids again. Can’t argue with that!

“To find the best kind of play for yourself, you must be sure not to be too serious. You must explore the land of play with your sense of humor to the fore, realizing that it is a wonderland of make-believe where there is laugter but where the word ‘ought’ is unknown. In this voyage of discovery let your motto be: ‘You can never tell.’ Keep your mind open as well as curious. With such a point of view and attitude, choosing play by the ‘trial and error’ method can be relied upon to produce the quickest and best results. You never can tell what you will discover. Indeed, you may and probably will uncover latent abilities of which you were totally unaware. It may be a skill with needle or loom or facility in metal work or in fine wood carving. You may find a thus far undeveloped love of nature together with an interest in wild life which you never even suspected yourself, though you cannot be sure until you have carried the experiment into action. When the discovery is finally made and proved, the outcome will be yours for all time.” (pp. 80-81)

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