Thursday, December 10, 2009

Losing Marbles?

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I was watching an episode of "Dirty Jobs" the other night on the Discovery Channel network. Those who view the program regularly are familiar with the format. Mike Rowe takes on "dirty jobs" and they range in content to fairly straightforward to downright disgusting.

The recent episode I watched had a segment about the creation of marbles. It was the second time in the past year that the thought of "marbles" had rolled around in my head (sorry, couldn't resist the set-up!)

While watching the segment, I realized something that was mentioned. Does anyone play a game of marbles any more? Was my generation (the first post-World War II generation) the last to really play a game of marbles, or are they still played in some really rural areas, not distracted by cable television and the internet?

My older sibling and I played marbles when I was a child, and I confess that I was actually one who preferred just collecting them than actually playing a game with them. The latter hazard would occur if you played a game of "for keeps" with your agates or "aggies" "cat's eyes", etc. You also could lose those big shooters that looked like huge gumballs, sometimes referred to as "jaw breakers." (like the huge round candy of that era.)

One thing that was mentioned by the person who owned the marble making factory visited by Mike Rowe was that while marbles are still made, primarily for floral or aquarium art, the older marbles are collected. Some can cost up to several hundred dollars, depending on the material used (gold has been used) to create them.

I scanned a few Internet sites that discussed the game of Marbles, and discovered that the game originally started in the American colonies with boys using musket balls (hopefully, there were no fatalities from hard strikes!) Also, several people left messages bemoaning the fact of trying to teach their children and/or grandchildren how to play a game of Marbles, and those younger people found it reported more than once, "boring."

I'm going to have to look up information on the game of "jacks"--because I don't see that played too often these days, either.

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