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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Springtime Storytelling Special Reflective Entry from the Kids at Heart Who Played! - Featuring Danae Andrea Harwood and her Book ".factor..." - 11am, Saturday, 26th September 2015

This event was inspired by Danae Andrea Harwood's family paper-game activity book: 
".factor: hot dot and odd spot games for cool entertainment."

Danae Andrea Harwood sticks her antlers out to guess the celebrity character on her head, as the audience responds to her identity questions...whilst struggling to decipher Julia's less-than clear handwriting!

Julia competes in a game of Bluestone Battle with the game's maker; Danae. The object of the game being to construct a tower through joining dots to forge bricks, line by line, before your opponent does and wins the honours of be-heading you in triumph...It was my head which was decapitated!

There is a line from the 1986 movie "Stand By Me" that resonates very deeply with me and I think really encapsulates the magic of childhood. It is simply stated, and yet, so incredibly moving and profound:
"I never had any friends again like the ones I had when I was twelve...does anyone?"

That time, those mates, those adventures, those games, those discoveries, the pain and joy that comes with those surprises and life lessons when you are wide-eyed and open to new experiences....
I do not think they are ever experienced more intensely and with such resonance as in childhood.

Being part of the preparations and presentation of "How We Played Then and How We Play Now" was an absolute labour of love. We advertised that attendees were expected to bring their inner child with them...and I was more than happy to lead by example!

Danae's book ".factor..." first touched upon at our library in March when Danae opened our fifth series of "An Author for All Seasons" truly paved the way for our September Springtime Storytelling Special; a time of year where it has become tradition for us to bring in a playful element which lends itself to audience participation, as all that has been in hibernation comes into bloom.
Danae's book was inspired by the games she used to play with her Nan - many of them involving spots and dots and the countless combinations of fun to be had from them. These games allowed for solitude, as well as family-friendly fun...and most importantly - to keep the kids occupied in a productive manner!

We employed Danae's book to take some snapshots through the generations of popular games and fads...and what better way to do so, than with our library president playing Dad, and Danae and I playing quarreling children needing something quick to keep us occupied!

Here is my perspective as the snot-nosed younger sister whom father refers to as the "sting in dad's side"...amongst other terms of resentment!

Without further delay, let the games begin.


I was a child of the 1980's and very early 1990's.
I was only too happy to resurrect activities and fads that made me leap out of bed every morning during my formative years.
I focused on the impact of the children's television show "Playschool" and my heroes of its day; Noni, Benita, John...and the other John that made the mothers willing viewers of the program!

Well...I did more than that - I channeled my inner Noni and got the audience involved in my shamelessly self-indulgent sing-a-longs...including "Open Shut Them" - especially introduced to coincide with the timeline of early to mid 1980's video games. In the example below, we are all singing a song about Pac Man!

Though my singing abilities left much to be desired, the road down yesteryear was a joyous one, patterned with Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, Celebrity Head interludes...and just being a downright, extroverted, attention-seeking, rowdy, pain-in-the-neck of a kid!

Thank-you so much to Danae and Tony for being such fantastic play-mates, good sports and creative stalwarts. Special thanks are additionally extended to Joe Bosa of Mentone Grammar for his state of play as a child of Generation Y, Chinmay for so diligently capturing the antics of the session ...and to our wonderful, receptive audience.

Generation Y Spokesperson Joe Bosa prepares to lead us down the memory lane of his childhood, as Danae and a Mentone Public Library patron battle it out in Danae's conceived paper game "Ogle."

Happy playing and may the child always be with you!

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