Meet Me at the Garden Gate

May 20, 2009

Green on green garden gate

Green on green garden gate

This green garden gate, with its old-fashioned ironwork, caught my eye as I was walking home from Green Lake.  And then a few moments later, I realized that a childhood jump-rope ditty was going through my mind, keeping pace with my footsteps:

“Two, four, six, eight,
Meet me at the garden gate.
If I’m late,
please don’t wait.
Two, four, six, eight.” 

What memories I have of jumping rope!  This was a big past-time at recess in my elementary school.  I must have spend hours jumping rope.  I remember mastering jumping in and exiting in rhythm with the rope twirling counter-clockwise and clockwise (the latter was harder).  I remember being a little bit intimidated by the speed of Red, Hot Pepper.  I remember twirling in turn, with lines of girls and boys waiting for their time in the spotlight under the rope.

My brothers and sisters and I jumped rope at home, too.  We used an old piece of rope from the barn, and tied one end to a post so that only one person was needed to twirl.

I don’t remember jumping rope after the fifth grade.  In that era, before sport bras and women’s sports, it must have been deemed unseemly and provacative for girls with breasts to jump rope.  I’m not aware of a conscious decision to stop jumping, and I don’t remember missing it.  But now I look back on that choice with regret.

I wonder if jumping rope is like riding a bicycle — once you’ve learned, you’ll never forget how to do it.  Wouldn’t it be fun to get together with a group of women friends and jump rope again?  We could all share favorite jump-rope rhymes and show off our skills.  And why limit it just to jumping rope?  Dodge ball, anyone?

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2 Responses to “Meet Me at the Garden Gate”

  1. Lynne Says:

    Aren’t there some books of jump rope rhymes? Childhood game poetry would be an interesting subject, don’t you think?
    I hated dodge ball, but I wouldn’t mind reviving jump rope, jacks, and four square – though I’m sure it would be a sad demonstration of declining coordination! Jacob’s Ladder is another fun playground game that shows up in other cultures around the world, too.


  2. […] Meet Me at the Garden Gate, May 20, 2009 […]


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