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Prime Time/Jack Rabbit Hill provided lots of active fun

Jack Rabbit Hill was on the east end of Tracy. The swimming pool was later built on part of the hill. Now the whole area is built up with houses.

It was a favorite spot for tobogganing. I don't remember who had the toboggan, but I do remember sailing down the hill with it.

There was a clearing in the middle of the trees which was perfect for tobogganing. At the bottom of the hill there were trees to the right and to the left, but we managed to miss them most of the time.

Of course, the boys had to stand on the way down. Three kids would sit with their legs wrapped around each other. Then a boy would grab the toboggan rope and stand on the back end. Down we would go, flying like crazy. Most of the time the boys did not fall, but when we did - what the heck? It was only snow.

Occasionally we would bring our skis. All we had was two skis with a strap around the middle. We lifted the strap over our overshoes, and away we would go. There was no such thing as slaloming. We went straight down the hill. When we got to the bottom and were heading toward a tree, we would fall down, so we could stop.

Jack Rabbit Hill was also the setting for our war games. It was a valley with loads of trees in it.

Poppy Polinski had one gang, the Red Pirates. I belonged to the other gang, the Sioux Indians. Poppy challenged us to war. By the way, gangs back then were a group of friends who had fun together. There was no such thing as hurting and killing each other.

Poppy got his crew together. Bill, Curt, Doc and I met to plan for the war game. We knew Poppy liked swords made out of laths. So we made swords out of broom stick handles. We took old brooms and sawed the brooms off of them. I don't know what we used for hand guards. We figured we would break the lathe swords in half with our swords, and we did.

We also cut up old bike tires to make giant slings. We tied the ends of the tires around small trees, put oak nuts which had fallen to the ground in the middle of the rubber and let them fly. I think we could have killed someone, if we had hit them with the nuts.

Well, the war began.

Poppy's gang was in the east end, and we in the west. We fought from afar to begin with. Like I said, if we had hit anyone with our projectiles, it would have been sad. But we did not.

So, the close combat proceeded. Poppy's guys had red bandannas around their heads. We had used something to paint our faces.

We met in the middle of the valley. Crawling through bushes and around trees we started swinging our swords. Our broom handles did break the lathes, and we won the war. We were just like the soldiers in the Second World War.

Our celebration was short. A few shouts of victory, and then we were on to another day. Our victories or defeats never lasted more than a couple of minutes.

The same was true of our baseball victories. We always kept score but then quickly forgot them because tomorrow would be another day and another mixture of guys to make up the teams.

I cannot imagine how watching TV could be better than this.

We were active, imaginative. We organized our own games and teams. We laughed and shouted and pretended to be like our great heroes.

We just had a lot of fun.