Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lost Marbles

Did people used to play marbles?  Really?  I don't want to doubt a whole generation, or generations for that matter, but did they actually do that?  I tried it as a kid (I think I still have the marble someplace) but wouldn't have really called it a success.
A quick search on the internet does indeed show lots of beautiful marbles.  I could see how the different patterns would appeal to someone.  They would have appealed to me, but my cheap bag of marbles came from some discount store and they all looked the same.  The pictures make them seem marvellous, but that wasn't really my experience.
Another quick search of the internet brings up incredible pictures of kids playing marbles, diagrams of kids playing marbles and more than one oil on canvass painting of kids playing marbles.  Granted most of the clothes look like something out of Gangs of New York, or Once Upon a Time in America--but that is probably because nostalgia for those eras is stronger than nostalgia for the 1970's--and we should all take comfort in that.
I also came across a whole pile of websites devoted to the rules of marbles.  So, I must conclude, albeit with a touch of incredulousness, that people did in fact play marbles.  I will even go so far as to say that a small number of people probably still play marbles today (It wouldn't surprise me if there isn't a Japanese association for this, but I am not going to search for it.)
So what happened?  Did it just die away?  Did it put up a fight?
I guess things change.  That means that someday kids won't play with hockey cards.  Who's kidding who, kids don't play with hockey cards anymore.  They put them in perfect acid free binders, organized and stacked neatly on shelves in hermetically sealed rooms.  Though I never did put them against my spokes I did bash the heck out of them on walls, floors, and any other hard surface.  Since I never had Gretzky's rookie card, I am not losing any sleep over it.
What other things are destined to die?  The 8-track and the cassette are dead.  The Drive-In is almost gone.  DVD rental is almost gone.  CD's are clinging by a last thread.  I suppose one day, even the iPod will disappear.  I hope we will always have plastic model car kits--though maybe the material will change.  I hope we will always have model trains.  I hope we always have RC cars.
As for now, I just lament what is gone.


  1. "Granted most of the clothes look like something out of Gangs of New York"
    haha, I watched again this movie two weeks ago, and what I only remember it's a lot of blood on the snow (on the beginning of the movie)

    I used to play marbles with my schoolmates when I was eight and sometimes, we used to bet our marbles. I still have a pot of margarine full of marbles somewhere in my room.

  2. So, you actually played Marbles.... After I wrote this I spent a few minutes on the bus wondering if this would be funl. I think it would be. I doubt I could ever get the much skill, but I may have to search for my marbles.

    A funny note for some of my English Students..... you should go to your idiom dictionary and look up the phrase

    He is losing his marbles. Let me know what you find.

    1. Sorry, but I didn't understand this: "you should go to your idiom dictionary and look up the phrase"

      now talking about the marble game, we used to play it like the game called 'bocce' which in Portuguese the name is Bocha, pronounced 'Botcha', like the expression 'Gotcha' hehe
      it was fun!

  3. I meant that the phrase "I am losing my marbles" is an idiom meaning going crazy.

    Bocce is popular here, but mostly for old men

  4. Understood! hehe

    I think bocce in all countries it's a game for old men, because here is the same.

  5. this next subject it's not about the marbles, but I remembered that you asked me what I thought about the new Rush's album, and right now I'm listen to Neil Young, the Zuma album. But I got his new album called Americana. I'm not a Neil's fan, so, I liked two or threee songs of this album. Maybe I will talk bulshit now, but I think that his songs are almost all the same think, since the start of his career. But some songs you can call 'hits'.


  6. Maybe I shouldn't have said it was a game for old men. I am not that young anymore and I should be more sensitive. It is a game for distinguished gentlemen.

    I am a fan of Neil Young, but I really can't defend his singing. He sings off key--sometimes it works, but ......

    I think there is an album of people doing his songs (Crash Vegas doing Pocohantas is very nice--of course, I love Crash Vegas, too bad they broke up)

    The great thing about music is that you can find something you love, and sometimes you can find something that only you love.