WHO NEEDS AN
IPOD? These youngsters didn’t have to worry
about traffic while they played marbles on
Main Street in 1901
Ask a kid today
about his favorite game and he’ll likely give
you the name of a video game. Hide and seek, hop
scotch, jacks, jump rope, baseball, marbles and
kick the can are no longer in vogue.
Years back, jump
ropes, jacks and marbles appeared with spring’s
sunny days. After having abandoned them during
the cold, wet months, we’d untangle grubby jump
ropes, count marbles and jacks and replace the
cords on their drawstring bags.
equipment to school was as important as
remembering our lunches and homework. Teachers
insisted that we stash jump ropes in the cloak
room and bury marbles and jacks in our desks
until recess, but we couldn’t resist cautiously
lifting the lids of our desks to sneak a peek
Sheltered by the
child sitting ahead of us on the pull down seat
attached to the front of our desk, we were
rarely caught if we pulled out a couple of
marbles or jacks. But if the teacher spied them,
the penalty was to put the entire bag on her
desk for the rest of the day.
marbles on the playground during recess or on
any smooth patch of dirt after school. They’d
prepare for the game by drawing a rough circle
with stick. After deciding how many marbles each
player would ante, they’d toss them into the
ring and take turns shooting from outside the
shooter marble from between thumb and
forefinger, they’d aim to knock a marble out of
the ring. If they did so, they’d shoot again
from where their shooter stopped. When they
failed to knock a marble outside the ring, the
next player was up. In some games the shooter
claimed each marble he knocked out.
While the boys
played marbles, the girls crowded onto any
available concrete surface to play jacks. The
basic game started by tossing out ten jacks. The
first player would bounce the small ball and use
the same hand to pick up a jack or jacks, catch
the ball and put the jack or jacks in the other
hand or in a pile . Starting with “onesies,“ the
game advanced to “tensies,” picking up all ten
jacks in a grand sweep, then reversed its way
back to “onesies.” Your turn lasted until you
missed the ball, moved or dropped a jack . Then
the next girl took over.
Jumping rope was
a group sport with a long rope and a turner on
each end. Jumpers would line up to run in as
soon as the person jumping faltered.
Those waiting as
well as the jumper chanted a verse to set the
pace and action. When it was your turn to jump,
you would shout out the name of your favorite
verse, such as Red Hot Peppers or Teddy Bear, as
you ran into the rope.
don’t know what they’re missing.