It's The Game - NOT How You Play It!

Recently it was my good fortune to have all seven grandchildren come for a visit at the same time. Prior to their visit, I worried about what to feed them, where they would sleep and, most important, how to keep them entertained. I needn’t have worried! One of my little geniuses brought along his Super Nintendo complete with a portable tv/vcr and fifty or so games. Another came with several videos and one brought her electric hair curlers which she used to experiment on both boy and girl cousins. Not a single book or board game ever came out of a suitcase.

The end result of my worrying was that they ate sugared cereal all day which one of them carried in knowing that I’d have only Rice Krispies. They didn’t mind sleeping on the floor, because that’s what they do at home when there are too many things piled on their beds, and much of the time, they sat transfixed like zombies in front of one of the tv/vcr sets.

Their visit made me think about what we did to amuse ourselves when we were kids. (You can be sure that my parents and Bubbie never worried about keeping us happy!) There was no such thing as TV thus no video or electronic games. We had to find other ways to pass the time, and what we found had to cost little or no money. So we settled for playing cards or a game of hide and go seek or my favorite, jacks. Many of us even read books. The one expenditure was our weekly visit to the neighborhood movie theatre (20¢ for a ticket AND candy.) Of course, kids today go to the movies, too, often seeing the same one several times. Nowadays though, the total cost for a youngster, including popcorn and a drink, can run as much as $10.

Thinking about all this made me feel sorry for my own children even though they and their peers are responsible for creating this ‘gimme’ generation of young people. The thing I wonder is what’s left to buy those kids when they tire of what they already have. I think someone should invent a time machine that would carry them back to the 1940’s. Maybe, if that happens, they’ll be happy to let me teach them how to play Gin Rummy, if I can just remember where I put that deck of cards.

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