Monday, May 18, 2009

I Don't Think I Have to Worry About Losing My Marbles.

My brother was here last week for a short visit. One week is short in my book. It rained most of the time he was here, which put a literal damper on some of our plans. But, one plan that it did not impede was playing Marbles after dinner.
This isn't the game where you aim your shooter at smaller marbles and knock them out of a circle. No, it is a board game much similar to Parcheesi. The boards that I have were made by my Grandmother Kimball. She was a clever one, that Grammy.
This jar of marbles are mostly hers and some that I have collected over the years. I usually find the ones I played with when I was small, the rainbow Cat's Eyes. The dice in the bowl are Grammy's as well.

This is the same board that my brothers and I played on when we were little. The houses are faded and yet I cannot change them. It would not be the same. It had been green at one time, then blue and, finally, pink. It has always been pink to me.

This blue board is the six-player board. It's a bit warped now and sometimes the marbles will roll if you don't get them right into the holes. I store it flat with books on it to try to straighten it out. It isn't working very well.

In the center of the board are the construction paper dice and houses my grandmother made, along with the names of family members and friends, some now gone.

There is my grandfather, Don, my grandmother, Rita and my dad, Don Jr. Eunice and Tom, my dad's cousin and his wife and Tom's parents, Charlie and "Ve" for Vera. My uncles, Dick and Harry and my grandmother's friend, Bob. He used to scare me when I was little. He was a tall man, with a scruffy face like a hobo and always had a deal in the works. He bought and sold things. I don't know if that was his actual job, but that is how I remember him. There are other names that I know I should remember but don't. Maybe Dad can jog my memory.
The object of the game is to get your men (marbles) out by rolling a one or a six on a dice. If you roll a six, you get to roll again. (If you roll three sixes in a row, you send the marble closest to your home base back to start. ) Once out, you move around the board, trying to stay a step ahead of your opponents. Whispering a desired number to your dice is a common occurrence and cries of disappointment come when, yes! the right number was rolled and you have sent back to start someone who was this close to home. One game can last a few hours if the players are playing cutthroat, as we call it.
The first player with all of their marbles safely tucked home is the winner. When we were small, we would play for second and third. We don't do that anymore.
It is a simple game, really, but we love it. It takes us back to when we were children, sitting around the card table in Grammy's music room, plotting our next move disregarding the fact that everything was a matter of chance.
Playing Marbles this past week was one of the highlights of my brother's visit. I have to say that it topped the King Tutankhamen exhibit for me. That may be because I didn't really get to see the King Tutankhamen exhibit because I was busy avoiding people's ankles while pushing my mother in the wheelchair.
One day I hope that my (future) grandchildren will come to visit and I will teach them to play Marbles on the board made by my grandmother.
The game goes on.........


Aunt Jenny said...

How cool!! I love things like that. We are for sure a board game playing neat that you have such a fun reminder of your grandma and your childhood. Sounds like a fun visit with your brother too. I wish my brother would come to visit!!! (wont' see him until August..apparently the road only goes one way this year!) Have a great week! And congrats on the giveaway win over at Sue's blog!!!

Betty said...

What fond memories you have of playing this in your childhood! The game sounds somewhat like "Wahoo", which my parents played for years. We haven't played since they passed away..maybe we should start again, eh?

Utah Grammie said...

What a wonderful memory and the tangible game to boot! This is a wonderful post - and I feel about my brother like you do..can't wait to see him again!

science + skeleton said...

You're gonna have to wait a long time for those grandchildren. (HAHA the word verification below says "istrue," thus confirming I am right.)

Thimbleanna said...

What a treasure to have the marble board to pass on. I love family heirlooms like that!

Nan said...

Lucky, lucky to still have this! Do you think people used to play more games than they do now? I mean board and card games, not counting computer or video games. Cribbage was big in my house, as was Canasta. I don't know anyone who goes out during a week to play a scheduled game. Sad, really. Yours is such a treasure, and I loved reading your words. Thanks.