hopscotch - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Hopscotch, with stolen chalk and the sun beating down, was how we spent the last of each Indian summer. Without computers or television we drew the squares on the crumbling street and numbered them. Stones were easy to come by, along with the mud and the sticks it was pretty much all we had. We learned to be creative with our rhymes, and to be honest, they got ruder with each passing year. Our bodies grew, our minds expanded, the street crumbled some more; but always the chalk was stolen and the stones were free.
Every summer we'd lay out a hopscotch grid on the aging planks of the pier. Lorna would draw it in fancy sidewalk chalks, a different colour for every number. There was something so magical about hearing our hops echo down to the waves below to the curious fish. Our vibrations must have travelled down those starfish encrusted legs into the very sea bed. Mama used to shake her head, a twinkle in her eye, "Now, now, you're gonna make those crabs crabby." Then she'd walk away slowly as if she'd just made the finest joke in the world.
We were hopscotch kids all summer. Mother didn't want chalk on our clothes so she had father paint it right onto the street. It wasn't the perfect straight lines of the schoolyard grid, the squares varied just as much as the ones we drew ourselves, perhaps more. But it was the cheapest entertainment money could buy - left over paint and rocks. It stayed there rain and shine, that hopscotch grid, and we weren't the only kids to use it. Others from the street came too, I think that's how we made most of the friends will still have today. It's certainly how I met Rory, the boy who taught me things the teachers never would.
Next to the river that flows darkly under the winter fog is a hopscotch grid. From my bench I see grown adults skip their way over, rarely spinning at the end to return, but hopping like the child they were. At the end they wear the kind of smile only their loved ones get to witness, or perhaps it's an expression that is lost to their life, then the drab business look emerges. Often the school kids will put their backpack onto the flagstones weather they are damp or dry and skip up and down - school bell be damned. Some mornings I place a small bowl of beach pebbles next to the first number to see how many take one and play the game as it should be done. There is something so simple, so disarming and charming about that chalky grid, releasing the inner child in even the most stoic of London commuters.
On the sidewalk ahead the uneven slabs have a rainbow sheen - all that is left of a kids game of hopscotch. The outline is still there, a ghostly shadow of what it was before the heavy rains that pounded the city last night. Above the sky is dominated by tumbling greys, smoky and silver. My eyes stay on my feet across the washed out game and my muscles yearn to hop, to skip. Not today through, today is a day for seriousness, I owe her that much.
The affluent streets road expensive bicycles and skied in the winter. For us in the east side it was all about cheap, the inexpensive or the free. Teddy's Dad was a house painter, one day he marched onto the street with a can of almost finished white and an brush congealed by twelve hours of painting. After a few minutes he marched away, his coveralls still on, leaving a hopscotch grid behind him. It was the finest gift any of us got that year. It was fun, it never broke, it was free and it brought as together. From that day onward we were the hopscotch kids. We were an unbreakable band and it got us through tough times. Sure we bickered, stormed and fought, but as the years rolled by those scraps only forged into a stronger group.
The playground that was mayhem at recess, abuzz with runners, chasers and all manner of games, lies almost silent. Only the drone of traffic gives a backdrop of noise. In the middle of the aging blacktop lies the hopscotch grid. I can almost see the custodian grumbling just to paint it. I must have hopped my way over hundreds of times, there were nights I could hear the hopscotch chants in my dreams, "My mamma said..." I'm too old to be here of course, too long of arm and leg, too "teenage." But there is something about this old school that brings me more peace than anywhere else. Here I can sink back to childhood for moment and forget the future and who everyone demands I become. I want to make them happy, truly I do, but if I told them what I really want, what I need, they'd never understand...
Through the naked boughs, over the frigid grass, come ghostly echoes. I hear the hopscotch rhymes though the court is long gone. It was painted with perfect lines by the old preacher man, the one who told us to love and to share. The stones tumbled in their chaotic way, always at the mercy of chance. Our shoes travelled the numbers, always careful never to land on the forbidden square. I recall little Nelly Ogden, she could never pick up even the largest of pebbles without toppling over. The preacher used to dust her off, encouraging her to try over again.
We grew up by the ocean, waking to the sound of the waves on the dark golden sands. We swam of course and to us swimming means briny waves striking our faces, not the chlorinated pools of further into the town. Even in summertime there were days we didn't want to swim or catch crabs; we'd take our fingers and draw a hopscotch grid in the sand. Pebbles were easy to find. We kids used to spend hours there, hopping from one foot to two, spinning and making our way back to the start. I still recall the softness of the sand, our feet erasing the numbers and the lines as we went. Some days we'd play long enough for the tide to claim our game. Then we hopscotch kids would slink home under the setting sun, our tanned skin cast orange in those final rays before night.