Sheila Stewart sent me an article with 65 things that kids used to do in recess. Doing the mathematics, that could be one per week for a year so I’ll just tuck this away. There are some great things there. I had an awesome youth! So many things in there that aren’t done today.
So, I picked one to start with.
Playing marbles was a hit activity in the middle elementary school years for us. The cool kids had fancy purchased marble bags to carry their collection with. I had a custom one that my Mom made for me. A new bag of marbles from Stedman’s downtown was always a real treat.
You’d play various permutations of games with the marbles with the winner getting the spoils. I recall that one of the games required “borrowing” a piece of chalk from the chalkboard ledge as we left the room for recess and then using it to draw a circle, the play space, on the asphalt outside. Playing the game required that you stick your tongue out and clamp it with your teeth as you get the right line and then flick your marble with the thumb to drive an opponent’s marble out of the circle.
Enhancements to the game involved making combo shots and also flicking with the thumb on your non-dominant hand. In most of our cases, that would have been our left hand. We had a name for that which isn’t printable by me in this day and age!
LIttle did I realize at the time that there was a great deal of learning that was going on. Force – you had to stay in the circle after knocking your opponent out. Angles – all kinds of them for the perfect shot or combo shot. Little did I know that it would lead to an understanding in Physics or a career at the pool hall during high school years.
There were unfortunate issues for teachers! You should shake your bag of marbles to distract the class; if you swung the bag by the string, it became a weapon; and heaven help you if your bag fell open and your marbles rolled out all over the classroom floor. Mandatory comment here about Doug losing his marbles.
Marbles were wonderful things to collect. There were different colours, sizes, designs, and some were just mystical when you held them up to the light. These days, I don’t think we have any in the house except for those used as play pieces for board games.
Do kids today know the wonder of marbles or do they just play them online?
For a Sunday, it’s time to share some childhood memories…
- did you play marbles as a child?
- are they played at your school? are they even allowed?
- what’s a Cat’s Eye? Did you know that some are very valuable?
- what’s the difference between a marble and an alley?
- can you describe a game that you used to play now or then using marbles?
- in your youth, were marbles ever a form of currency?
- can you name a board game that relies on marbles for play pieces?
- if you had a desire to get back in the game, where would you go to buy brand new marbles?
As always on a Sunday, please extend the conversation with your own marble stories in the comments below. Thanks, Sheila Stewart, for the idea.
For anyone, there is always a standing offer to write a guest blog post for this blog. If you have a memory and would like to write about it, I’d be more than happy to share it here and/or cross-blog it with your blog. That might also give Stephen Hurley and me something to chat about on a Wednesday morning.
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