Saturday, November 29, 2008

Games we played when I was a boy

As my daughter sat down to show me how to make my first posting on my blog this afternoon through my email program, I suddenly remembered to make a note of some of the games we played when I was a boy. Since I was born in 1921, we're talking many years ago. And while this is on my mind this Saturday afternoon, I'll post this short story first.

One game we played a lot was called "Mumble Peg". We would take our pocket knife, open two blades, one being straight and the other at a right angle to it, and flip the knife into the air, hoping that when it landed, one blade would stick in the dirt. I don't remember how we kept score, but this game was only played with two boys at a time.

Another game we played often was played with marbles. We'd dig 5 holes in the ground, each about 3 inches across by two inches deep. Each hole was about 2 feet apart. The second hole was placed about 2 ft. north from the original hole, then the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes were each dug straight east of the second hole. Directions are irrelevant, but used for example in the configuration of the holes. The game was open to several kids at once, each taking a turn to put a marble in the hole. I just don't remember other details, but it's interesting that the only things that were bought at the store were the marbles, and in that first game above, the pocket knife. It was entirely up to us to create a game to play. Every boy carried a pocket knife, so we were always prepared to play if the opportunity arose. We played this during recess at school and after our chores were done. In fact, we played so much, that we'd develop holes in our thumbnail from shooting the "shooter" marble, which was the largest marble in the bunch.

Another marble game we played a lot was "Keeps". Each boy contributed about 5 marbles to a pile in the middle of a 5 ft. circle, on the ground. Taking turns, each boy would shoot his shooter into the circle, hitting marbles. Those that he could shoot out of the circle became his. And the boy holding the most marbles at the end of the game won. My family was poor so I had glass or clay marbles, which we could buy for about a penny each, but some of my friends had Agates that cost about 15 cents each! They were an actual stone, so were much harder. If my glass marbles were hit with much force, they'd "explode". And were gone for good! Obviously the "rich" kids who had agates usually won that game!

If any readers were born in the 1920s or 30s, you may remember playing these same games. Or maybe you've heard others tell about them.


Apple said...

My mother played some marble games but she never mentioned digging holes. She's also talked about mumble peg but her brother and his friends never let her play. You don't mention jax or tidily winks which were two of her favorites.

Randy Seaver said...


Good to see you blogging about your memories. I sure wish my mom and dad had done something like this!

My wife cut her finger the only time she tried playing mumbledy peg. I never had a pocket knife, being a bit younger than you.

We played marbles in the 12950's too, but all of the marbles were well formed and hard like agates, we caleld them catseyes here in San Diego.

Enjoy blogging - and keep Becky on her toes, too, will you? You're al ucky guy, and she's a lucky girl to have you around.

Cheers -- Randy