Boise Art

Grandpa's Boring Childhood - I'll Do Without the Polio, Thank You

Chamber of Commerce Description

This bronze statue of three children playing marbles has graced the edge of The Grove since 1987. If you stand nearby on a summer evening, under the dappled shade of the honey locust trees and surrounding buildings, you can almost hear the pop and echo of the marbles and the laughter of the children. It's enough to make even the crustiest and most jaded folks among us smile a little bit.

This is a piece of art that reminds us of the simplicity of childhood, when games such as tag, kickball, hopscotch, and tetherball were the highlights of school days and summer evenings in the neighborhood. It also makes us long for the innocent friendship of youth. Remember the days when the words 'Can Timmy come out and play?' came without conditions or judgements?

Over the past 20-some years this statue has been a witness to countless events on the brick-paved and fountain-wetted Grove. Although most folks enjoying the Saturday Market, Alive After Five, or a Christmas tree lighting forget it's there or have never noticed it at all, rest assured that these bronze children know all and see all. And thanks to a recent cleaning and restoration, they'll keep playing their silent game and watching you for years to come.

For some cool background information on the statue's creation, check out this article.

My Description

This sculpture reminds me of the contempt I have for people who romanticize old frontier Boise. Those people who think they were meant to live in "simpler times" and ride horses and wear faded red union suits are idiots. Sure, you might get to wear a cowboy hat and carry a six-shooter, but there was no such thing as personal hygiene, the local dentist only had one tool, and you were probably going to die of cholera tomorrow.

If you asked people who actually lived in frontier Boise if they would've preferred to be an illiterate sodbuster eating muskrat in 1880 or a lab technician with a late-model sedan and a Frigidaire in 2010, I think you know which one they'd pick. Clean hands, indoor plumbing, and straight teeth cannot be overrated; just ask the homeless.

How does all this relate to a bronze statue? Those people who think childhood was better fifty or even twenty-five years ago are being dumbly sentimental. If you gave a kid the choice right now to A) play marbles out in the street and talk on his tin-can-and-string phone, or B) sit on the couch and play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox 360 while texting on his iPhone, you know which one wins.

The fact is, grandpa played marbles because he didn't have any money to play poker, and listening to bad pirate shows and Little Orphan Annie on the Philco radio got real old after about fifteen minutes. Kids today have it great. And if you don't believe me, just think about marbles, pet rocks, tinker toys, hula hoops, erector sets, Atari, Dark Tower, and the Commodore 64. The Atari only had one button, for Pete's sake!

The past sucked; just accept it and move on.

Boise-the-Great Name: Grandpa's Boring Childhood
Real Name: Keepsies
Type: Sculpture
Artist: Ann LaRose
Completed: 1987
Where: The Grove

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