A trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete for me if I didn’t mention a favorite backyard game called Lawn Darts. This is an ultra-quick doodlewash as I’m traveling today and tomorrow for work and don’t have very much time to paint. But all these little memories of retro things got me thinking about these scary little guys, so there you have it!
This terrifying game consisted of sharp, weighted metal stakes with colorful fins, like a hideously enlarged dart you might find in a neighborhood bar. Large for a dart, but still a rather compact little game that could be easily taken from house to house. These little “fun for the whole family” missiles were stupidly dangerous, and attempts to ban them in the 70’s failed, not succeeding until 1988. So, of course, my family kept playing with them assuming they must be safe.
I remember my older cousins used to play this game and when I got older myself, I tried it as well. The goal was pretty simple as you just had to get your dart to impale the grass inside the little yellow hula hoop. Thankfully, everyone would usually hide on one side while flinging the little missiles across the yard, and at least for my family, there were never any casualties. But that didn’t mean it was actually safe so much as we were just rather lucky. If someone had marketed a family game called “Be A Circus Knife Thrower” heads might have turned, but these little weapons managed to sail the skies for decades.
Being a little child in the 70’s was actually quite easy as there were absolutely no rules. No helmets to wear if you wanted to ride your bike somewhere and no seat belts to bother with when riding in a car (it wasn’t required to even put them in a car until the late 60’s). Looking back it seems astonishing that any of us survived, but I guess now there are worse things to be afraid of, so maybe it’s not so different after all.
Although I miss some things from childhood that were removed out of fear, I highly support the fear of lawn darts. These things were just stupid. But even so, the memories of my family gathering together at my aunt’s house are wonderful. Playing lawn darts meant we were just “killing” time until dessert was served, which was my favorite part of the day. Though a less lethal game would have been appreciated, we at least came together often to enjoy a little family fun. That’s something we stopped doing as we all got older and that’s really the thing I miss most.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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