I have written in the past about the very long car trips we took to go from Portland, Oregon to Buffalo, New York. When we four kids were extremely bored(most of the time) my mother couldn’t rely on her time honored “I have something you can do,” usually house chores. Instead we were left to our own devices. Except we didn’t have any electronic devices to pass the time.
My sisters and brother managed to spend a lot of time reading, but I got car sick when reading, so that was out. Poking each other seemed an ideal alternative. Sadly, this provoked my mother enough for her to stop the station wagon and rearrange our seating. The most dreaded pronouncement was “You will have to come up front and ride with me.” That would have guaranteed that the “lucky” kid would be terminally bored. We tried to walk the thin line between entertaining ourselves and being yanked up to the front seat.
One of my favorite toys was the number sliding puzzle pictured above. At the start the numbers were in a random order. I tried to rearrange the numbers in a sequence from 1 to 15 in four rows with 1 in the upper left corner and 15 in the bottom right. After doing that, I would scramble the tiles and try to get four columns of numbers with 1 to 4 in the left hand row and so forth. The task challenged me no matter how many times I did it.
Then it was back to the license plate hunt, the looking for letters of the alphabet search, and long naps.