Playing the game… Monopoly!
While reading a recent story in Reminisce magazine, I asked hubby… “so what are your Monopoly stories?” Me… I never even remember playing the game as a child!
Steve: “I spent two weeks at my grandmother’s (Nonni) house in Shelton during the summer when they lived at 107 Kneen St. My aunts still lived at home, so there was always someone to spend time with and always… game partners. I’ve never forgotten the old Monopoly game board at their house… complete with wooden hotels and even wooden playing pieces, no metal car, shoe or thimble; the year 1936 was written on the box. From the first time I was allowed to play with it, I knew I wanted that game, and often asked to take it home; even being an older game, the board and all the pieces were still like new… they kept everything in great condition.
One summer, they finally relented in letting me have the Monopoly game and I brought it home. While I always kept my things in good condition… my brother never took care of anything. I was completely the opposite, and am still the same way today. In as we shared a room in growing up until I was fourteen, it was hard to keep my things away from prying eyes… and hands. Even later after having my own room never stopped him from destroying things, especially after I left for the Air Force; he took possession of most everything while I was gone.
The record jackets with the artist’s pictures on them were the best!
I returned home from the Air Force to find most of my favorite 45 record jackets with the pictures of the artist on them… now with holes cut in the center so he could see the record name… those jackets were works of art… but now no more! My brother never cared about putting the records back in the correct jacket! Most of those 45’s had once belonged to Dolly… somehow I had talked her out of her entire collection! While I still have most of those records today… the holes cut out of them still tick me off!
A game board with all wooden pieces… just like the one they gave me!
We never played games when my grandparents lived on the farm, but after moving to First Avenue, my uncles went through a phase of board games… Monopoly mostly, and always for money. Sometimes they played the game of Life, but Monopoly was more of a challenge… often playing back to back games on the weekends.
After my grandparents moved to First Avenue, to a house alongside Long Island Sound… Monopoly became “the” game. My uncles, Freddie, Johnny, and Frankie always enjoyed playing games… but never without money on the table… never playing games for fun. They usually played with my mother Celia, while the other sisters, Nancy and Catherine, were busy with housework; their youngest sister, Dolly… closest to my age… played games with me. Dolly and I knew, if we played our cards right (pun), we could serve them coffee and they’d throw us some change! Dolly and I were always ingenious at making money… off of them! Serving them coffee when they played games, and later, after they left the living room… scouring the sofa and chairs which often yielded our pocket change, fallen out of their pockets. I only had an allowance of $2.00 weekly, so I had to work at other jobs for money… returning bottles to the corner store was also a favorite of mine.
Often in the summer, they played games outside on the table under grandpa’s grape arbor, but after Freddie brought home a “real” card table one day, they began playing in the cellar. They put a pull-down light over the center making it resemble a real gambling table… which it soon turned out to be! Every Saturday, you’d find my uncles, and my mother, downstairs… with dollars on the table… and Dolly and I serving coffee… hoping for money from the “kitty.”
One game I specifically remember about Monopoly was the afternoon Johnny lost… he jumped up and grabbed the board off the table… hotel pieces went flying… and before you knew it… he’d ripped off a corner of the board game and tossed it and the board on the floor! Johnny never liked losing! That was the first and last Monopoly game ever played on the card table… it was all cards after that!
I quickly retrieved that game… even with its missing corner… as the board was almost brand new… only seeing a few games. My uncles were older, with jobs, and able to buy a new game… while my access to having money was limited. I”m sure they went through several Monopoly games during their phase of playing board games.
Dolly and I soon came up with a plan for that game board after I found a piece of cardboard, almost matching the board thickness… Dolly spent the afternoon drawing on it to match the board. We were excited… now having an “almost” new game… at least to us! I’m sure we began playing a game right away when finished… to us it was just like we’d opened up a new game, as we’d also salvaged all the pieces that went flying. My favorite playing piece was always the metal car… zooming around the board!”
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