Sunday, November 13, 2011

Losing My Marbles

My family moved to Illinois for the second and final time, during my third grade year. It was very difficult for this little country girl, who spent her summers barefoot, to move away from her best friend Janet, her extended family and the pull of nature. Oh, and let’s not forget her boyfriend Jimmy. But, I’m always up for an adventure and I was excited to see what new experiences living in a city would provide. But, that’s another Ruralhood post.
During the time I lived in Washington, I was introduced to the  world of marble game playing. Kids at school and on my block owned and played marble games. Marbles had always fascinated me, but now as a child I could play a game with these smooth round wonders of rock and glass.
I don’t know if the game I played had a name, but this is what we did. We each put an equal share of marbles on the ground depending on how many players. You could include larger marbles that we called boulders, but after losing my favorite marble, I never again played my boulders. And we all had a favorite boulder or shooter. 

We used terms like aggie, cat eyes, keepsies and biggies.
After we put our portion of marbles down, we would kneel on the ground, rest our shooter on our crooked forefinger and flip the boulder with our thumb toward a marble that we wanted. If we knocked it out of the imaginary circle (often drawn in chalk on the sidewalk or sketched out in the grass) the marble became ours.  But, we all had to decide beforehand if we were playing for keepsies.
And we could trade marbles. That was fun, too.
My mother sewed my brother and I a marble drawstring pouch with our initials embroidered on each. I wish I still had my pouch. Last year, I made my grandkids a pouch and gave them marbles.
I also gave my GKids more marbles this year in their Halloween treat bags.
I loved marbles. I still do.

Did you play marble games as a child?


Jeannelle said...

Nice post! Yes, I remember drawing a circle in the dirt and playing a marble game.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. lovely story - I'll use it in the conversations I'm having with the residents up at the Nursing Home - something I've started doing recently - every Tuesday.

I remember marbles and loved their colour and feel .. we used marbles for noughts and crosses and/or solitaire .. a round board with a cross of holes in it - each 'column' 3 holes across .. and 3 deep I guess .. to the centre square .. actually can't quite remember - maybe someone will put me out of my misery!

Marbles - interesting history though .. and childhood memories ..

Thanks - loved the story - Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I remember having a marble collection, for sure. I think I may have played once or twice. My sister and I played Tiddlediwinks (sp?) more often, though. Fun games!

Jules said...

I sure did and I still have my marbles! Besides everyone needs back-up marbles. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Hart Johnson said...

I love marbles, too, though never lived anywhere that people formally played. I had a bunch as a kid--the favorites were those I got from my grandma's house. I think they'd belonged to one of my uncles, but the old ones were far more unique and pretty than the more standard fare you could just buy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't really play any games, but I did have marbles as a kid.
I think I've lost them since then...

Nezzy said...

Sure shootin' I still adore the uniqueness of each and every marble.

I had more fun as a young chicklett swappin' marbles than actually playin' marbles.

God bless and have yourself a fantabulous week sweetie!!!

Carol Kilgore said...

I didn't play marbles, but I liked to look at them. My dad had a jar with old marbles he had when he was a boy.

Maryann Miller said...

I played marbles a lot as a kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think the name of the game was simply Marbles. My husband says that sometimes he called it Agates.

Anonymous said...

I used to collect and play marbles. I sometimes lose them too. Usually I find them under the sofa when I vacuum..

Julie Dao said...

I didn't play with marbles, but reading your description of the game you played reminds me of how I used to play with Pogs. We had "slammers," not shooters, and traded our Pogs for others. So much fun!

Arlee Bird said...

I used to have marbles but never actually played with them. I did like to look at them though.
My parents would both talk about how they played marbles when they were kids and according to them they were both quite good and won a lot of marbles off the other kids. My father was like a marble champion in his neighborhood--at least to hear him tell it.
Growing up during depression times their games were pretty simple. Not a bad thing really.

Ann Carbine Best visits Wrote By Rote on Saturday 11/12/11

CM said...

No, I never played marbles but I always have wanted to. I never knew how to play. Thanks for explaining it. What a great gift for your grandkids!

Elizabeth said...

Oh my goodness...I love your blog.

Awesome header....and the paneling background is terrific.

NEW FOLLOWER...going to subscribe as well.


Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

We played it a little, I think. My dad said that he liked to play marbles. I love looking at them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. just to add about marbles .. I came across a note about a garden and house in Sussex, Nymans, willed to the National Trust in 1953 - see Wiki for more info.

The NT magazine has a note saying that some regular visitors describe their favourite object as "The 18th C Chinese frog in the Garden Hall, which is actually an earthquake detector - delicately balanced marbles fall into its feet at the first sign of a tremor!! Rare here fortunately ...

Loved the idea of this and the story ... I did read your post out to the residents and we talked about their memories of marble games - much the same as yours ..

Cheers Hilary

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

yep! i did! that's for sure.

wonderful post! thanks for posting this.


Konstanz Silverbow said...

I love playing marbles! I still play with my younger siblings whenever I get the chance.

Thanks for the post, you have inspired me to go play marbles when I get home. :D

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I'm visiting this blog for first time, and I find it so delightful. I love the stories, well, I may be a bit biased considering that I work with elderly population, and reminiscing is a very important part in their lives.

I did play marbles, I loved it, but especially, I loved the beautiful colors. I remember the cat eyes... :-))



Nicole said...

I kept my marbles in a coffee can. I still have it and them, which is VERY UNUSUAL for me. I throw pretty much everything away and I don't think I have anything else from my childhood. I'd play with my dad mostly. I learned a new marble game when I lived in Ecuador. I currently use marbles in two mason jars to represent the pounds I need to lose and the pounds I have lost. I love marbles!