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Milk Carton Football

I was born and raised as a country boy in the rural Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the art of writing..


The 1950s seem so long ago in years, but so close in the childhood memories. I can often think back to something I did then, but have trouble remembering what I did yesterday. One of those memories was when my brother, Jim, myself and a few friends would get out in our front yard and play football.

At that time in our lives we were on the rather poor side. I know that there were people worse off than us, but we often went without some of the things we would have liked to have had. One of those things was a real football.

We would take one of the wax paper milk cartons out of the fridge and stuff it with leaves. Yes, that was our football, a wax paper milk carton stuffed with leaves. We had a milk man that delivered milk in those glass bottles, but when it wasn't time for him to deliver yet mom would often go to the store and pick up a carton or two of milk in the wax paper milk cartons.

Out on the yard one of the boys would say, where are the lines. My brother would say, "We aren't real particular, but we will make it when you get past that large rock over on the edge of the yard."

One of the other boys would say, "Let's make the line going the other way past that little pine tree with the bird house on it."

We all agreed and got down to playing our game of football. The milk carton football was no good at pass plays. How could anyone possibly throw a spiral with a milk carton?

However, on the running plays the milk carton worked fine. It was those plays that we did most of the time. We would play football in our yard for hours. Often the milk carton would start to fall apart and the leaves would fall out. That was no problem, we would go to the fridge and get another milk carton.

One of us would say, "There is still some milk in here. Does anyone want some?" We would pour a glass and share it passing from one kid to another. It felt refreshing and we were ready to go outside and get at it again.

My brother would get the leaves and stuff it into the new milk carton as tight as he could get it. Closing it up the new primitive football felt like the real thing. We were now ready to go at it again.

My brother and I were raised to understand that it was possible to make good with what we had. I look back to the 1950s of being raised in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and I would not change it for one moment.

Being raised as a country boy in the middle of the century in a very rural area is something that kids often miss out on today. It seems now it is more important to play video games than it is to be out in the yard getting some good old fashioned exercise.


Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on June 13, 2018:

Thank you Liz! I really appreciate your comment, it means a lot.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 13, 2018:

This is an interesting insight into your early life. It's written so that I can picture the scene.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 28, 2018:

Thanks for your comment, Chris. I often like to think back to those good old days when were outside playing all the time.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on May 28, 2018:

I remember when we got an Atari ping pong video game.That was some time in the 60s. I could not have cared less about that. I lived i rural Indiana on a farm and nothing was going to keep me inside. Thanks for sharing your memory of milk carton football. I enjoyed the read.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 28, 2018:

Thanks for the comment, Nell. It is great for us to think back to the good old days and remember how we used to make do with what we had.

Nell Rose from England on May 28, 2018:

What a great story and memory! I was brought up in a small town, born in the 60s' and we used to play with old rope in the road next to our house. it was used as a tennis net, goal post and so on. great times.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 27, 2018:

Thank you for the comment, R Talloni. I think we had a lot more fun back then, than the kids do now playing video games by the hour.

RTalloni on May 26, 2018:

Glad you have such great memories!

Kids who never have a chance to make do with what they have lose an opportunity to become more creative. It is sad when a child's needs aren't met, but it is also sad when every need is met! Learning that we can do without far more than we think is important!

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 16, 2018:

Thank you, Dora! Honestly I am glad that I grew up when I did. Like you said, they were the good old days.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 16, 2018:

These were the good old days when children played outside, grew their creativity and actually interacted with one another. Great read!

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 15, 2018:

Thank you for the great comment, Eric. I like that you instill the make do attitude in your children. Some of my best memories come from those do with what you have and have fun.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 15, 2018:

Larry I require the essentials in my young children. Make do and have a blast. The forward pass of 1906 was not implemented at first. Changing rules mid stream by losers was normal. Laterals was how to kick butt after a faint of some sort. My home town was very dry, we played in cinder lots and got whooped for ripping our pants.

Today my son and I have skinned knees from soccer. Bring it on baby! Cuts, bruises and scrapes are badges of honor.

A real football? We don't need no stinking badges".

Thanks for bringing real life back.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 14, 2018:

Thanks for the comment, Flourish. In the old days we had to think about how to do things, hahaha!

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 14, 2018:

Making do with what you have! I like your ingenuity.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on May 14, 2018:

I am glad you enjoyed it, Bill, and brought back the memories to you. We used a lot of milk cartons when we were kids, hahaha.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 14, 2018:

I don't know how many of your readers understood what the title of this article meant, but I sure did. Played it many times and has tons of fun doing it. Thanks for the memories!

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