Wonderful Cardboard Boxes
By Brenda S. Brown
Our parents owned a propane company in Richland named the Stewart Webster Gas
Company which in addition to distributing butane and propane tanks and fuel,
they sold and repaired appliances and various kinds of apparatuses to heat and
cool the home. Most of this inventory was heavy and bulky and the new
merchandise arrived during early autumn by commercial truck lines.
In those days our office was located downtown and although we had plenty of
warehouse space, there was not enough room for a large delivery truck to drop a
large shipment at the backdoor, so the trucks were forced to park down the
street and haul the appliances on hand-trucks to the front office. One
innovative driver tried to unload the delivery in front of the building, but the
local police officer convinced him not to block main street traffic ever again.
One of the advantages of your parents managing such a business is that sometimes
you arrived home to discover a back yard full of wonderful empty cardboard
boxes. Empty boxes, how can that be wonderful, well it becomes remarkable when
young children use their imagination and formulate them into such item as
medieval castles, western forts, a giant pirate ship and mysterious caverns, or
in our case, an entire village.
In a recent announcement we (those who peruse numerous internet news articles)
were advised that cardboard boxes made it to the National Toy Hall of fame.
"With nothing more than a little imagination, boxes can be transformed into
forts or houses, spaceships or submarines, castles or caves. Inside a big
cardboard box, a child is transported to a world of his or her own, one where
anything is possible." ~ National Toy Hall of Fame
We discovered that the plain beige hue on the inside of the carton was great
background for coloring with crayons and pencils and the addition of masking
tape, paper towel tubes, colorful yarn and some imagination, the boxes were
transformed into structures of our dreams. We marked the places where we wanted
windows or door openings and daddy made the cutouts with a knife. Many of our
boxes had held heavy appliances so they had reinforced corners and bottoms which
meant they frequently lasted for days or until the next thunderstorm.
Then, when the boxes began to tear and crumble, we dragged the largest pieces
across the lawn to the steepest hill in our backyard and used them as grass
sleds. There was only one rule that I remember; once we finished destroying our
boxes, we had to gather up the mess and take it to the outside trash.
According to "Movingsmartblog", children who play in cardboard boxes are exposed
to such dimensions as spatial awareness, comfort and security, empowerment, and
imagination, and more. We had no idea that we our experiences were a learning
occurrence, we just enjoyed the adventure.
PS-the cardboard box, when inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame back in 2005, was
recognized as "The Greatest Toy Never Sold".
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