Games at home –
We certainly indulged ourselves with games at home.
The Scrabble board came out quite often, especially if the great aunts were visiting. It wasn’t long after Inga and Rikka came up from the Cities for a visit, the Scrabble board would be out, surrounded by those interested in playing along with those two word wizards. Coffee cups and cookies available to all, well-lit by the ceiling kitchen light.
We had an old board – the colors had paled to pastel shades. The tiles were fine, but the racks were bare unfinished wood… we had even somehow lost one of them, so with the 3 blond colored racks, we had a darker rack, a kind of half-dark brown shade.
The game started – and oh, the words that flew! These two ladies, as well as my grandmother, knew all the good two-letter words, too many to list here. Laughter sprang off the walls of the kitchen as the competition ramped up. Score was kept, addition checked and rechecked. A victor would be declared, the board cleared, and another game begun….
But then, there was more. The TV show PASSWORD had a home version, and we had our copy. Again, the focus was words, and we had some excellent folks who could play. Add aunts Lola and Gina to the fun, and there was even more laughter and more victorious whoops as each game was played…. And as long as we’re on TV game show versions, we also had the MATCH GAME, the source of quite a story.
I was playing this time, Lola was there for sure, maybe Gina and another aunt – Betty, I think. Mom read the question for the time; “Name a weather condition you might hear from the weather man on TV.”
The responses included ‘rainy’, ‘sunny’, and the like. My answer: “PTLYCLDY”, which I pronounced as ‘Pittly Cliddy”. At first, they didn’t get it, but then they realized that I mean PARTLY CLOUDY – well, hey, that’s how I had seen such conditions listed on the TV reports, so I thought my answer was perfectly legitimate. Lola, however, saw it differently… she fell into roars of joyful, unfettered laughter, and then a heartfelt humorous mock scolding in my direction for using such an unexpected ‘match’.
We had a shelf in the closet full of board games – and we had the classics. Monopoly was one of the best – and we had an ‘old’ set, complete with wooden houses and hotels. The money was a little different, too – it was smaller and didn’t quite match up to the colors used in today’s versions. But play it we did… sometimes to a successful finish, sometimes until one of us got bored enough to just give it up. Parcheesi and Sorry, Uncle Wiggly and Candyland were there, and Yahtzee – we even had some games based on TV shows – I remember that we had COMBAT and even – if I’m not mistaken… THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY game.
Cards, too, played a part at the kitchen table. There were always two or more decks sitting on the ledge of the kitchen window, kept together safely with a rubber band, and ready for anyone to use. There was solitaire games of many versions. There were games of War that lasted for hours. New games showed up from time to time, introducing us to SPOONS and OH HECK (there was an adult version of that, as you might suspect). Mom and dad played – my sisters played – friends played – it was just done. I learned CRIBBAGE at that table from my dad – and let it be said now, as far as I was concerned, he had a Black Belt when it came to Cribbage.
And those playing cards brought one formal affair to our house, about twice a year.
Mom was a member of a ladies’ card club. Once a month, they would gather at someone’s house – they rotated the hosting of the group – and when it was mom’s turn, things went into gear…. Clean the house, take out the ‘good’ coffee stuff (mom’s glass trays and matching coffee cups, for example….) and clear the dining room table and put down a real cloth table-cloth for the affair – no ordinary kitchen for this, let me tell you….
And in they came — the Card Club group. TWO Millies, Lillian, and JoAnne were the regulars – and sometimes there were a few others. These ladies, along with my mother, were the solid core of the group. Coats were piled up on a bed somewhere, and the visiting began… coffee, cookies, bars, coffee bread, more coffee.. and they almost all smoked, so there was that … and they’d sit around the table and visit at first with the latest domestic news of any nature. Eventually, we kids would be shooed up the stairs to bed, and the cards came out. (No one said went to sleep – not with the laughter and the talk and the game going on in such earnest effort below us.) And did they play those ordinary games I already mentioned? Oh my, no! CANASTA! The Cadillac of card games, as far as we were concerned. The ladies played a good long time (or so it seemed to us ..they probably left by ten o’clock, which was forever to us….), enjoyed themselves, and planned the next month’s affair.
Games – formal, informal, silly and serious. So much fun for so little expense and resulting in so much great memories!