“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

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Photo from Life Magazine

If you can recite the poem that follows the title, you will also remember the jumps that went with each verse from “climb the stair,” to “say your prayers.” If you have no idea what I am talking about, this was the most common jump rope rhyme with its requisite hand and feet gestures made while one jumped.

I love the photo above because it accurately captures the way we waited in line to be the next jumper. We would have been wearing dresses, saddle shoes and white anklets too. Group rope jumping was a favorite morning recess activity. Afternoon recess usually had us playing other games. Two girls would swing the rope and another would run in from the side, perfectly timing her entrance to the arc of the rope. Then the chanting would begin as the girl tried to do all the moves and not trip. If a girl tripped, she became one of the rope swingers and the game went on.

A challenging variation of jump rope involved two ropes swinging in opposite directions. This was especially hard to time. First one girl went in and having established a pace was joined by a second jumper. I learned that it was important to simply run in and not think about the challenge ahead.

Jump roping was done on asphalt, so falls hurt and were another reason to get skinned knees. Fortunately, the school nurse always had plenty of Mercurochrome and Bandaids. Now not only were our knees banged up, they were also orange!

11 thoughts on ““Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

  1. Those were good times in school. Kids got exercise, matter of fact it was required! Unless you had a medical excuse, which was not easy to get. That is a wonderful picture, and the memories of that period.

    1. I am so glad to hear from you. Was just wondering yesterday if you were all right. Then there was that incident with a Great Dane service dog for a deaf couple on a Frontier Airlines irritating a passenger who then punched the dog!

      1. Doing okay now. Rough patch there for a bit, after the medical personnel tried to fry my brain with too much medicine. I didn’t know what planet I was on. It’s great to be back and able to form a thought. LOL

  2. Cinderella, dressed in yella, kissed a fella…. I had forgotten about Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear until you mentioned it. Did you also play Chinese Jump Rope? I liked that too.

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