“Can You Spare A Dime?”

Saturday a close friend reminded me of the toys we used to be able to buy for a dime. I have written in the past about the little balsa wood airplanes that cost that amount. But she recalled the paddle ball, a piece of wood with a rubber ball attached with an elastic cord to a staple in the middle of the paddle. Not very sturdy, but it did only cost ten cents!

In theory you bounced the ball out and back with the paddle, either overhand or underhand as the two children in the picture illustrate. In practice, however, I most often bonked myself or my sibling with the ball. This was not my favorite way to enjoy myself, but I always forgot that consequence whenever I bought a new one. Because, as you can easily guess, the previous one was either broken or confiscated.

Childhood seemed to provide numerous opportunities to be bonked on the head or face. Tether ball seemed to always leave me not only a loser (I really was too short to have a chance) but also bumped. Dodge ball’s sole purpose, of course, was to hit another child with a ball. A kickball, ineptly fielded, could hit my nose too. Where were all the overly solicitous safety concerns anyway?

I thought I had left all the chances to hit myself in the face behind me when I became an adult. But modern gyms have several pieces of equipment to repeat the experience. Perhaps naming one of them “slam balls” should be a clue. These can rebound off the wall right back at me if I am not careful. And weighted medicine balls can be hazardous too. Perhaps a full face guard should be the next addition to my home gym!

30 thoughts on ““Can You Spare A Dime?”

  1. When I was growing up I loved the 10 Cent Store. I can still remember the aisle with the peculiar toys. One was a tube with goop inside; you’d put a glob on a short straw that came with it and blow different colorful shapes. (I just looked it up and it was called Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, apparently very toxic! )

    Every year at Christmas my mom would give us 5 kids some money so we could buy presents for each other and off we would go to the 10 Cent Store where many cheap and amazing purchases could be made. Good memories! 🙂

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  2. I haven’t thought of paddle palls in many years. My memory is that the ball was attached to a thin piece of stretchy rubber material, which frequently snapped. I think they were cheaply built, but they also didn’t cost much. It reminds me of the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

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  3. The ball used to hit my wrists more often than the paddle (we called it the bat, but I can’t recall what the whole shebang was called back then). But I never was good at hitting anything with a bat – tethered or not.
    I bought a swing-ball after I retired with thoughts of getting some exercise in the garden, but the grandchildren have it now.

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  4. I never could do paddle ball, although I kept trying. I was terrified of dodge ball. Our male gym teacher actually divided the teams into boys and girls, so the boys pummeled the girls with balls. Is it any surprise I’m not a ‘go to the gym’ person?

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  5. We had versions of those too here in Australia Elizabeth. I wasn’t that coordinated in any ball sports either until high school. Then ladies net ball became a sport I enjoyed becoming captain. 😀
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  6. I have not set foot in a gym for years, Elizabeth, but I was also a girl that frequently got hit in the face with balls. I think its because I wore glasses and couldn’t see that well without them. I never wore them when I did sport in case they got broken.

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