Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Potsy and Playgrounds #AtoZChallenge

Memories of my childhood sometimes seem so fresh.  I can just turn inward, and my childhood growing up in the 50's and 60's in the Bronx (a borough of New York City) comes to life for me.

In those days, our parents (normally, a stay at home mother) encouraged us to stay outside whenever we were home from school.

There was no such thing as a helicopter parent.  It may have been a little easier for me, growing up in a city housing project which had a couple of small playgrounds in its design.  There was a larger playground across the street, Magenta Street to be exact.  It is called the Gun Hill Playground, and still exists today.

I never knew the origins of how Magenta Street was named, until I read this online:

"The naming of the color celebrated the victory of a battle in which an Italo-Franco alliance defeated the Austrians and helped to bring about a unified Italy. Prior to 1900, this Bronx neighborhood was inhabited by a small colony of French weavers as well as by a growing number of Italian immigrants. The street was named Magenta to signify the Italo-Franco unity that once characterized this portion of the Bronx."

When I looked at pictures of the Gun Hill Playground online, I was amazed to find a painted Potsy board.  We would have scorned something that official, preferring to draw a large board in chalk.

Potsy, in many parts of the United States, is called Hopscotch.  In New York City, it is called Potsy,and these are the rules.

Basically, the board had a double row of boxes, numbered from 1 to 10 (10 was a semi circle at the head of the rectangle.  The first player would take the "potsy" (a rock, or a penny, or something similar), throw it into the box numbered "1". You hopped into box 2, then 3, then 4, all on the same leg. When you reached 10, you reversed direction and hopped back.  If you touched any line or lost your balance, you were "out".  If you made it to the last box, you leaned over, still on one foot, picked up the potsy.  Now, you got to get back on two feet, as you threw the potsy into box "2"and repeated the process.

I'm surprised that I have balance problems as a young senior, as I played enough of this game on the sidewalks and playground of the Bronx.

Hopscotch is, or was, a universal game.  Do they still play it where you live?

"P" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.


  1. I'm a suburban kid, we played in grassy yards most of the time, didn't play a lot of hopscotch.

  2. brought me back to my(1950's-60's) childhood! "Hopscotch", as it was called in small town Massachusetts was played on the school playground. Did you play kick ball, jump rope and jacks, as well? We had a water tower behind the school that we would throw rocks was a really eerie sound.....thanks for the memories!

  3. Alana, I never played hopscotch. And I've never seen anyone play it except on TV. I wonder why that is? We jumped a lot of rope though and played tag.

  4. I love love love this so much as my commitment for 2017 has been adding more play into my life. Swings, hula hoop, playground stuff, hopscotch hopscotch hopscotch!!!

  5. I seem to remember a differently configured play area- one box, topped by two boxes, topped by one, topped by two, topped by one, topped by two, and topped by one. That must have been the Long Island variant :-).

  6. It must have been such a different neighborhood back then! We lived in Queens in 2006, and my goodness, the history of those places... Loved this little insight into your old neighborhood, and I'm wondering if I ever flitted by it while living there.

  7. Hopscotch was certainly around in my younger days Alana - sounds like a slightly different layout to your Potsy but same idea and a lot of simple fun - which was all we knew back in those days.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

  8. I've played hopscotch so often I can probably recite the rules in my sleep. Although there may be a few made up rules in there - I was the evil elder sister, tormenting my younger sister with all kinds of made up rules! ;-)

  9. I grew up halfway across the world from NY in Africa and India, and like you without helicopter parents and with hopscotch :) it was called 'stapu' in Delhi where I played with my friends. Great memories! thanks for bringing them back.

    Best wishes,

  10. Our hopscotch was a row of boxes (3 or 4), a cross of two, and then one at the end. We'd throw the marker into the first box, skip over it, and hit each box on one foot except for the penultimate two where we'd jump on both feet.

    There was a version with a semicircle on the end, but that was called something different. It was still hopscotch, but it had an added name. I'll have to look that up later.

  11. I used to see hopscotch courts (for lack of a better word) on sidewalks all the time. I haven't seen one in forever.

  12. I remember playing outdoor games when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s (that seems like a long time ago). They involved a lot of running and chasing. I think that I played hide and go seek a lot. I remember hiding in a crawl space under the house.


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