I try to remember what life was like before TV. What did we do when we couldn’t get the news every single minute of every single day, when we couldn’t sprawl on the couch, flipping back and fourth among baseball, football and basketball games, when we couldn’t watch near-naked, spike-heeled ladies dance their brains out.
I have several friends who ban the infernal contraption from their homes in an effort to live the way we did before gluing ourselves to the infernal screen. Of course we all read more. And those of us who are news junkies today probably did a lot of radio time back then. My mother listened to soap operas while doing the laundry. They were 15 minutes long with time taken for a rehash of yesterday’s program in case you missed it. I recently heard that “The Guiding Light” is going off the air after 72 years of radio and then television. Was that Dr. Jim Brent or was he on “Road of Life?” Remember “One Man’s Family” with Father Barber?
Back in those days we played games. There were board games like checkers, Chinese Checkers and Parcheesi. There was dear old Monopoly that offered hours of fun and helped us learn about real estate..
I love card games, everything but Bridge; I never got the hang of it although many of my friends played it every chance they got. My parents taught it to us with the hope that they would have wonderful bridge games right in their homes but my older brother and I just considered it something new to fight about so that fizzled.
I think the first games I learned were when I was a toddler and they were Old Maid and Slap Jack, which could get boisterous among the young ones. And 52 Pick-up was another with few rules and a lot of noise. When we lived in Germany and entertainment was not part of our meager budget, we drank nickel-a-gallon Kool-Aid and played Canasta night after night with GI neighbors..
At my first real job, I played Hearts ever single lunch hour, and that remained a favorite for years.
When Trivial Pursuit first showed up, it got a lot of people away from the tube. But unfortunately its popularity was limited and relatively short lived.
The game I have remained most faithful to is Scrabble and I’ve carefully nurtured a passion for it with my children and grandchildren. If two or more family members gather during a visit or reunion, you can bet there’s going to be a Scrabble game. One of the things I like about Scrabble is that you can chat, eat, and argue during the same time you are playing. And we tend to do a lot of all of the above.
We learned a new game this past Christmas: Rummicub. It has some of the same principles as Rummy and Gin Rummy but you play with numbered tiles instead of cards. I’m new at it and plan to develop some strategies eventually. Right now I’m hanging on; my husband has taken to it like a shark.
Let the games begin.