Mar 7, 2014

Lost Childhood

by Marsha Ward

Last night I went to Wal*Mart with two items on my to-buy list: Play Doh® and marbles. Since I went in hungry, I bought a whole boatload of unnecessary items, but that's a topic for another day. I wanted to expound on how hard it was to actually buy both items.

I found the tubs of goop without too much problem. I think they were on the fourth or fifth aisle I checked (How many aisles are in a Wal*Mart toy department, anyway?!?! Twelve, fourteen? And our store is a smaller one.)

Argh! The tangents!

Back to the second item: marbles.
Children, these are marbles. They are used in a game called "marbles" that can be played at recess. It's tons of fun!
I went down every single aisle twice. I checked the end-caps thoroughly. I checked the mid-aisle displays. Did I find marbles?

No.

I wondered if I would, but no, I didn't find jacks, either.
Children, here you see ten jacks and two rubber balls. One or two friends sit on the sidewalk, tucking their skirts beneath their legs so as not to show too much flesh. One player tosses a ball up into the air and grabs first one jack off the sidewalk before the ball bounces, and on the next throw, grabs two jacks. Play continues until the first player misses getting the correct number of jacks. Then the next player takes a turn. It's wonderfully entertaining, and much more fun than texting friends! You can actually talk to them while you play.
People, jacks and marbles were the staple recess toys of my generation. They are gone. GONE.
G O N E!

I told myself, "Don't panic. You've seen marbles in the craft aisle. They are used to put into flower vases and such." So I went there.

This is what I found:
Forty ounces of clear marbles, priced at nearly five bucks. Oy! I only need about twenty marbles. I wandered around the craft aisle, considering my options.

I could purchase hollow plastic grapes and rip them off the vines for my purpose.
They were a bit pricey for that destruction. Besides, the texture would be wrong.

At length, I settled on buying "green gems." What the heck are "green gems," anyway? What are they used for? Filling flower vases?

The photo doesn't do the objects justice. They are flattened disks of various colors and textures. They are not marbles, but the packaged amount is right and the price is certainly right. I don't need forty ounces of plain jane clear marbles nohow.

Real marbles are gone, folks. You can't get them at your local five-and-dime.

Oops, the five-and-dime stores are gone, too.

But good news!!! You can purchase jacks and marbles at such online wonderlands as Old Time Candy. Just click on the "Retro Toys" tab. I think I never paid more than 49¢ for a set of jacks, though.

You're probably wondering why I want Play Doh® and marbles. I'm going to make myself a rehab kit to see if I can improve my grip. Not only is my childhood lost, but I'm losing my grip, too! Along with my marbles.

All puns intended.

21 comments:

  1. Oh, Marsha, you truly are a gem! (green?) I haven't tried to find marbles at Walmart, but I'm very experience with those glass gems. Used them in vases. Love them! I'm sure you could've used them for your purposes of rehab, and then used them in flower arrangements later on. Funny post. *losing your marbles* *shakes head*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget. I'm losing my grip, too! LOL! Thanks for your comment, Deb.

      Delete
  2. This post has opened up all kinds of mixed emotions for me! Nostalgia, frustration, concern for you, and it made me laugh. I am in serious need of a Marsha fix. Next time you come to the valley, I want to take you to lunch, or dinner, or at least get a hug. Maybe a temple session! I am totally serious. Thanks for the smiles. hugs~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kari, you are so sweet! I would love any or all of the above. LOL! Here's a thought (which will probably escape my brain now that I've expressed it). I need to set up some kind of regular meet and greet with my friends in the Valley.

      Delete
    2. Oh...and I do have a spare bedroom and bath...and I am just 2 miles from the Gilbert temple. You have an open invitation. And how fun to get together once/month or even quarterly for a group hug!

      Delete
  3. I saw jacks at Wal-Mart recently, but they were in a tin so that they could be stacked on the game shelves. Pick-up sticks were in a tin right next to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living in a small hick town, I'm guessing our Wal*Mart is not as large as yours, but I will look for retro toys in tins, as you suggest. I'm also going to check the dollar store, as my son suggested. Maybe my Christmas present dilemma is over for this year!

      Delete
  4. I had the same problem when I looked for marbles at WalMart! I finally found them at my friendly local neighborhood grocery store in their toy aisle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good thought, Shirley! I'll have to look there, too.

      Delete
  5. How about Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs? Try Amazon. They must have taken over the company my husband ordered the baseball game our grandchildren love. Expect to pay $$$$, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. Everything seems to be pricier if it's branded as retro. LOL!

      Delete
  6. Ah, now I'm remembering... eggs in the basket, crack the egg, around the world, and all sorts of games were played with our Jacks. But they wouldn't ever be that popular here... too wet and cold to sit on the ground. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if jacks was a regional game or if it was played everywhere back in the day?

      Delete
  7. Anyone tried looking for hoppy taws lately? They too have gone the way of jacks and marbles. I've been told schools get them through an online supply store, but I don't need a grundle, just one or two. I'm a little past my prime for jumping around, but I figure someday the grandkids will ask what that funny thing painted on the driveway is for

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fun, it more ways than one!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Marsha,
    Marbles and jacks disappeared from many stores quite a while ago. They're 'dangerous', don't you know. Especially those jacks with their pointy tips. (I'm being sarcastic.) I've found that smaller store chains will sometimes carry them. I use the marbles in a slingshot to shoot the deer that regard the garden as their personal buffet.The jacks are cool for practicing coordination. My sister did them all the time when we were little, and I'd join in. Now and then I use them still. Be it noted that when my sons saw me doing them, they were incredulous. To quote one: "Thank God we have video games." Sigh. Out of curiosity I asked if anyone in their class had played marbles or jacks when they were in grade school and they said no. The teachers wouldn't allow 'something like that' on the playground, and they knew of no one who used them anywhere else.It was my turn to be incredulous. Proof, yet again, that if you live long enough, those younger than you regard you as if you're from another dimension. (Cue TWILIGHT ZONE theme.) :) David

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hilarious! What a great post. :) All puns, etc., aside, if you're going to the Storymakers conference in April, I can bring you some real marbles. I still have some from when my children were young. :) Let me know if you do.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fun to walk with you as you looked for those items. I still have my original bag of marbles and another bag full of jacks that I played with my own children with. I will pass them on to my grand children some day.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.