I’m three weeks behind on my genealogy posts, so I have had three weeks to think about this topic.
I don’t know what games my far-off ancestors played, but my mom’s parents, Hoyt and Willie Cook, taught me Aggravation. It’s a game that involves rolling two dice, then moving your marbles around the board from base to home. If you landed on the same spot as someone else’s marble, you took their place and sent that marble back to base to start over. At the very end, you had to get an exact number to get your marble into place. It’s a simple game, but we had hours of fun. Sometimes it was just me and Pap-pa or Mam-ma. Sometimes the cousins would be visiting, too, or other friends of the family would stop by. I believe there were two boards, one that would accommodate six players and one that was limited to four. One of the boards was made out of a thick piece of plywood with acrylic on top, if I’m remembering right. What I wouldn’t give to join Mam-ma and Pap-pa at that table again.
Perhaps I’ve mentioned that my parents were very involved with the Good Sam Camping Club. We joined the Low Country Sams in Charleston, South Carolina, then founded the Conquistadors in Pensacola. Many of the members were old friends of my mom’s family, including some of the retired teachers my grandparents had taught with. I was often the only child there, although sometimes Marcus and Sara Page would bring their granddaughter, and for a while my cousin Wendy lived with Mam-ma and Pap-pa. I didn’t mind being the only kid. I was sort of like the club mascot, and I got along well with all the old folks. When the game Uno came out in the ’70s, we used to play that during campout weekends, and then sometimes we would play that at Mam-ma and Pap-pa’s house, too. That also led to a lot of laughter and good-natured ribbing.
The other games we played while camping were horseshoes and Jarts. This was back in the good ol’ days when Jarts had functional sharp points. I don’t remember anyone getting hurt. The horseshoes were heavy, so I remember doing a little bit better with the Jarts.
I always envied my mother’s stories of Monopoly. Her parents used to go to Gainesville, to the University of Florida, in the summer, so they could take classes and eventually earn their college degrees. They had a monopoly set and they made their own rules, and she said one game could last for days. That always sounded like fun. I never really had anyone to play with. Two games stand out – the one where my dad was losing and he got angry. That was no fun. And the other was when I was older and playing one of the neighbors when he was babysitting me. I won that game with a hotel on Marvin Gardens. That, of course, was fun.
Now, the only game I play with others, so to speak, is Words with Friends, and I have a similar-to-Scrabble game on my Kindle that I can play against the computer. It seems like there’s no time to sit down and play a game, but I wonder – if I made time, would the joy of my youth come as easily now?