Moving to the "country" when I was 9 years old was quite an experience for me. We'd moved from Blair Village to Cliftondale and away from all my friends and cousins. There were no children anywhere near us, or so I thought. The only time I had a playmate was when cousins would come to visit.
One day I was outside wandering around the yard. There were tall pine trees all over the yard and pinecones all over the ground. I began to pick up pinecones and put them in groups according to their size. There were tiny ones and then they progressed in size to about 6" tall. Soon I had several piles of pinecones. I began to make villages for them using sticks and rocks. I'd imagine they were towns folk and that they were in danger of being crushed by giants.
Then, Mama gave me the Sears Catalog that was out of date. Oh! I was in heaven! I gathered a family of pinecones, a Daddy, a Mama, a brother, a sister and a baby. Then I searched my room over until I found my safety scissors, remember the ones with the round tips? I took my prize outside on the carport and began to search through the catalog for my pinecone family some clothes. I dressed the family using clothing I'd cut from the catalog and Elmer's Glue left over from school the year before. I played with that pinecone family for days.
Then I decided to make them a home to live in. I went into the front yard, took a rake and cleared a spot of pinestraw. Then I took the small pine sticks and made walls. I searched through my catalog and cut out a lovely sofa, chair, beds, bedroom furniture, kitchen appliances and placed them in my "house" for my pinecone family.
I'd sit out there in that yard, playing for hour upon hour with my pinecone family. Never tiring of the different stories that I'd create for them to live out. In the late afternoon I'd take up all my cut out goodies, clothes, and furnishings, place them into a large shoe box my Mama gave me and come inside to play.
On rainy days when I couldn't go outside, I'd put my family up on the window sill and we'd watch the rain fall and have inside adventures.
I remember telling my girls about my pinecone families and the fun I had with them. I would watch their faces as I'd tell them and see the interest in the story Mom was telling but I could also see the wheels turning in their heads......"poor Mama, didn't have toys when she was little and had to play with pinecones and old catalogs".