It is amazing the things you find out by simply asking a question. My 90-year-old mother-in-law didn’t feel like coming to dinner last night. She said she wasn’t hungry. It is a common occurrence. Once she gets to the table, she eats whatever is put in front of her. I said, “Fine – you don’t have to eat. Just come and sit with us and tell us a story.”
“I don’t have any stories,” she replied. “Oh sure you do,” I rejoined, leading her closer to the dining room, “tell us one of the old ones. What games did you play as a child on Bergen Street?” “You mean Ringolevio?”
That stopped everyone in their tracks. Ringolevio? We were sure she just got her words mixed up. We started guessing what she meant. Ring Around the Rosie? Red Rover, Red Rover? “No,” she looked at us like we were crazy. “Ringolevio.”
The dinner could wait. Out came the smart phones. We googled Ringolevio. Wouldn’t you know, there was such a game played in the streets of New York and New Jersey. Based on the description from Wikipedia, it appears to have been a combination of tag and hide and go seek. It was played with teams and dates as far back as the late 19th century.
It made me think of my own childhood. Most days after dinner, the neighborhood kids would gather outside to play hide and seek until the streetlights came on and we had to go home. It was fun. It was social interaction. It was childhood play at its finest. And I don’t see too much of it happening in neighborhoods today. Perhaps we are overdue for a resurgence of some good old-fashioned Ringolevio.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit http://www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.