What’s in Your Closet?

At Christmastime and birthdays, Gilda had a knack for picking the best games for her presents. If someone else had, by sheer luck, asked for a game that turned out to be amazing, she found a way to acquire it. Accordingly, she wound up as the proprietor of Monopoly, Masterpiece, The Thing Machine, Freight Factory, and several other popular children’s distractions of the era – the era being the early-to-mid 1970s.

As if instinctively, Gilda’s games were the most fun, the most cleverly conceived by Monsieurs Milton and Bradley, Madame Mattel, and Herr Hasbro and, therefore, the most desired by my other siblings and me. All the other games we had acquired between us were second class: we had The Game of Life (boring!), Voice of the Mummy (lame!), Hi-Ho Cherrio (baby game!), Battleship (too butch – even for the twins), Which Witch? (my personal favorite because it involved actually building a witch’s house, and I was an aspiring architect – so don’t go hatin’ on it), and some of the other machine-based devices that cooked “goop” into “Incredible Edibles,” “Creepy Crawlers,” or random dinosaurs. (None of those machine-based games would be allowed on the market today, since I’m sure more than a few hapless American kids got scalded or maimed using them – the Good Old Days!).

Upstairs, Gilda also had the best closet. Glenda, her identical twin, had a similar closet (both were walk-ins) but Gilda’s had a panel cut into a wall that gained her access to a piece of the attic. This was primo real estate. Each of the twins vied for “members” (read: Dickie and me) into their exclusive “clubs,” which met in their respective closets. If she was feeling uncharacteristically charitable, Gilda would invite Glenda, Dickie, and me into the expansive attic portion of her closet – for our ‘meetings,’ which entailed consuming toast, coffee-milk, reading, drawing, and sometimes, guitar-playing and singing. The only real drawback to being invited into Gilda’s special atelier, was the damned ANGEL HAIR! UGGGGGGH! If you’ve never experienced the sensation of thousands of minuscule bits of what is essentially glass cutting into your delicate skin, you’ve not lived.

ALL of that gamesmanship aside, it was Canasta – an “old ladies” card game – that reigned supreme as the distraction of choice for my siblings and me in between our chores at our family’s little motel in Eunice, Louisiana. Canasta kept us in its thrall for hours, and sometimes, days. It was played around Momma’s dining room table (didn’t your mom say stuff like, “Don’t go messing up my dining room table, or “…my clean kitchen, etc.? – Ours surely did.) There’s a lot more on what happened during those long hours playing cards in my upcoming book Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy (scheduled for publication by the University Press of Mississippi in 2020 – you may now genuflect accordingly to the awesomeness of this).  

I suspect every one of you reading this now has a story or two to tell about how you amused yourself as a kid. Lemme know in the comments section.

M

PS: For those of you lured in by the title of this post on this World Pride Day, expecting something about the gay thing – Have a deservedly PROUD Pride, Y’all! Please FOLLOW me by filling in the form below.

© All Rights Reserved

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie says:

    When I was little, we knew my great-aunt Fanny and her cronies played Canasta every Saturday night on the side porch off the kitchen at the “old house,” my great-grandparents’ home. It was actually Fanny’s house; she’d been the spinster sister of the five who’d inherited it. But my grandmother, widowed and an empty-nester by that time, really ruled the roost. Josephine, however, did play Canasta with Fanny’s friends. Young me thought playing Canasta was akin to some secret ritual; we were never allowed on the porch on Canasta nights. As an adult, I learned to play Canasta and finally understood why Fanny and Friends didn’t want us there while they were playing. Once you get the game going, you don’t want anything to distract you from the play. I’ve been known to play a single game for days at a stretch, putting something over the cards if we had to step away for class, work or actual sleep. Of all the card games I’ve played, Canasta remains my favorite.

    As for board games, we were game FREAKS! We had all the games, but Trivial Pursuit quickly became our favorite after it debuted in 1981. However, Scrabble remains high on the list for all of us. As avid readers and professional word herders (what photographers call writers) who value vocabulary and language, we love the challenge of a cutthroat Scrabble game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish we had decided it was a secret ritual! That would have added more intrigue to the game. In our house, it was only the four of us who played. The others couldn’t be bothered with cards. Too bad for them!

      Like

  2. Valerie says:

    Well, that went wrong quickly! I was supposed to say, “Josephine, however, did NOT play Canasta with Fanny’s friends.” I should never be allowed to use any medium without an edit button!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Morris,
    Two short stories. First, and please don’t judge my child by game. She adored Life as a child. Every time that child asked my husband or I to play Life with her, we would make up anything to get out of it. We could never understand why she liked this game so much. We all loved Monopoly. Now as a family, if you can believe it, we play the obscene game of Cards of Humanity. Sometimes the kids go under the table with embarrassment, then it’s us. They’re adults but still we’re their parents!
    Other story, one June, my best friend Kathleen got married in Key West during Gay Pride Week. Morris, if you’ve never been down there for Gay Pride Week please go. It’s fabulous, but go naked. It’s hot, everyone is hot, more ways than one. I couldn’t stay cool. I bought clothes down there skimpy too. We went to drag shows, all the bars, met great people, and it was H-O-T!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to Morris Ardoin Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s