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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.

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