October 21, 2005

The games we played

Time for a childhood game meme. Since it's my meme, I get to make the rules. And you all know what that means: you are welcome to take this meme and do whatever the hell you want with it.

Game that makes me think of summer evenings and freshly cut grass: Pies. This was the game in which the wolf came to the bakery and chose a type of pie (or a type of tree, type of bread, type of toy), and if he chose Blueberry and you were Blueberry, he would chase you all around the yard. Yes, I am aware that in real life wolves don't really chase people, that are no documented incidences in North America of a wolf killing a person. But I was a child in the sixties and we didn't know any better. And even in the game, the wolf was just playing. He never really hurt anyone.

Games that we never finished: Monopoly. Maybe it was just my family, but we never got to the end of the game. It would get too long, and we would stop playing. Partly, this was because Blonde Sister, who is the oldest, would get mad if anyone bought a light blue property and she would threaten to stop playing if anyone did.

Game which has caused the most injuries: Zap. I think some people call it flashlight tag. The game involves children (and in my family, grown-ups as well) running about crazily in the dark while also trying to disguise themselves, even going to the extremes of switching their clothes. It's not the going off into the bushes and switching clothes that causes the injuries (although that has given my family a weird reputation) but the collisions that occur when everyone runs in at once to try to tag the kid with the flashlight. We still play this up at camp and a new round of injuries came about when Blonde Niece, Shaggy Hair, and Drama Niece decided to fool people by running with paper bags over their heads.

Game that my kids love that I hate: Chess. Boy in Black and With-a-Why have loved chess since they were small. I do not have the patience for a game which involves sitting quietly and staring a board for long periods of time.

Games that my kids have played that I have not: I've never played any kind of video game or computer game. I've never even understood the attraction. I think all the flickering light would give me a migraine.

Appalling game for children: One of my students once brought a Barbie board game to class, and we spent the whole class analyzing the ways in which it encouraged a constructed femininity that was damaging to women.

Something I hated about childhood games: Choosing teams in gym class. The gym teacher would pick two athletic kids and let them choose teams. I was bad at games like softball and basketball because I had never played them. I did not come from a family that played organized sports.

Game that scared me: Dodgeball. Another bad memory from gym class. About a hundred kids, boys and girls, divided into two teams and told to hit each other with balls. Not my idea of fun.

Game that involved laundry: Kickball. The clothesline pole was first base so sometimes we'd have to run through ducking under wet clothes. The poplar tree was third base.

Game that brings out my competitive streak: Spoons. I decide who the most worthy opponent is and then make sure that person does not get a spoon. Even if it means grabbing all the spoons and handing them to other people. No, that is not cheating.

Games we played at birthday parties: Pin the tail on the donkey. I never really liked that one because I didn't like getting blindfolded and spun in a circle. But I liked the game where you drop clothespins into a bottle and the game where you carry a potato on a spoon. Musical chairs was fun if the parent played the right kind of music.

Earliest memories of a game: I can remember playing the card game War with my Dad and sisters - and having to ask which number was higher. I played endless games of Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders too. I can close my eyes and picture both of those boards perfectly. Of course, Duck Duck Goose and Ring Around the Rosy are etched into my early childhood memories.

Card game played most often up at camp: Any rainy day, you can find a group of people, both kids and grown-ups, playing the game pitch. Teams even have names and their own obnoxious chants. My father and two of his grandchildren will become the Triple Aces , and will pound on the table chanting, "Triple Aces, triple threat" while everyone else in the room rolls their eyes. When my mother, daughter, and I are on a team, we call ourselves Three Generations. My daughter has to be the one to sing the theme song because neither my mother or I can carry a tune. We are the two tone-deaf people in a family of musicians.

Game I used to play with my grandmother: Scrabble. When my grandmother and aunt would visit, we would all settle down at the kitchen table with hot tea and homemade cookies and a lazy afternoon of playing Scrabble. And of course, my kids play Scrabble with my mother at that very same kitchen table so this tradition has continued.


Phantom Scribbler said...

What a great meme!

Monopoly always bored me silly. I wouldn't play unless I got to sit next to the bank. Then I would try to get away with stealing money. Trying to steal the money without getting caught was much more interesting to me than playing the actual game.

Friday Mom said...

I have never in my life finished a game of Monopoly. Has anyone? How do you know when you're done?

In seventh grade study hall we played a version spoons...using pencils. Would it surprise you to know I still have a scar from a pencil poke in my hand?

Aspiring Academic said...

This was such a wonderful trip down memory lane for me. I really enjoyed the warmth with which you described your memories - and your current traditions. Makes me want to go play Skip-bo with my husband.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Flashlight tag: yeah, my 14yo had to have 8 stitches over his right eye after a head-on collision playing flashlight tag when he was about 8. But he still loves it.

Lilian said...

Yeah, I commented about games last Friday... I may adapt this one :) or get my hustband to "answer" it -- too bad *he* doesn't have a blot, he'd love this meme :)

re. previous comments "conversation":
Oh, scanned photos are just fine, you know, I have been convinced to switch to digital 2 years ago, mostly because you can take countless pictures... (I'm a photo fanatic), but I still think nothing beats a good analogic camera, the digital pictures are never as good (and we do have a excellent camera, a Sony DSC-F717, with an impressive lens and all...). Nothing "new-fangled" beats old chemistry and physics just yet :)

joanna said...

I'm with you about chess. I fall asleep within the first three minutes.

ccw said...

I love this meme!

Does anyone actually finish a game of Monopoly? We always just stopped once people got really bored and counted our money to find the winner.

Scrabble is the family game for us, too. I vividly remember watching my mom and grandmother play for hours and dying to be able to "know" words so that I could join them.

sheepish said...

There have been only eleven monopoly games ever finished in all the history of the game. True fact!

I haven't had a good game of War in forever. With my sibling though, it usually devolved into a game of Fifty-two Card Pickup.

I also like the fact that you think wolves chasing people is the least realistic part of Pies, rather than, oh, I dunno, say a wolf going into a pie shop to place an order?!

peripateticpolarbear said...

Wow. You've just conjured up a really powerful image for me. I used to play scrabble with my paternal grandma. She would smoke and drink gin and play scrabble for hours. First with the children, and then late into the night with the adults. I still remember her raspy voice and her foreign to us Southernisms....I would hear them as I went to bed during her visits.

Jane Dark said...

I played all these games. Amazing. And lovely to remember them.

Laura said...

I identify on most of these--I love scrabble, but no one will play it with me, except my son who cannot yet spell well, so he always wins. But my personal favorites are pictionary and what we called The Dictionary Game, which I think they've made into an official board game, it's about goofy definitions.

Lucy said...

sheepish, I think my brother and I played those 11 games. It may have taken days, with the board carefully put in a supervised position and all property and money accounted for with witnesses before going to meals and/or bed, but neither of us was going to give up. My little brother used to lend people money so they wouldn't go bankrupt, but that only made the game slower. Sadly nobody will play with me anymore because they think I'm too competitive...
My favourite game now is the play-doh version of pictionary.