Saturday, January 30, 2010


My mother taught me to play...

Mom taught me to jump rope (complete with numerous chants I can recite today), draw a hopscotch board (and how to use it), tricks to tossing a mean game of jacks, strategies for pick-up sticks, as well as, the aesthetic of floating and executing a beautiful breast stroke. From her I learned how to shuffle cards like a shark and wind string around my fingers, forming a duet of geometric shape with the ultimate goal to reach the "cat's cradle." We spent hours playing board games and card games. Under her tutelage, I learned to roller skate, ice skate, and water ski. I rode bikes with her, played tennis with her, attempted the jitterbug, and reveled in the fact that my "mom" was the only neighborhood parent in the staid '50's who played "kick the can" well into the dusk of the day.

A physical education major (and graduate of Bethany College) who never formally taught, my mother's exercise regime often entailed a five mile walk from our house on South Pugh Street all the way to Penn State's Beaver Stadium and back. I am absolutely certain that if I feel grumpy and frumpy from a day without dedicated movement, it is because of the ethos of exercise she firmly implanted in me.

So I thought of her, a circle traced in the dust of the summer ground, and games of marbles, when I happened upon two boxes of marbles displayed in a Bellefonte antique market. That same evening on the telephone, my grandson and I chatted about marbles when I described to him the big "shooter" marbles I had seen that day. "Can you get me one?" he queried.

This week, Jim and I returned to Bellefonte, and I bought a handful of probably 60 year old marbles--4 shooters and 6 normal sized marbles. They really are quite lovely. It became clear to me that Alex needs a marble bag. Doesn't every little boy and girl (I loved my jacks' bag!) need one? I designed and made him one. I know his great grandmother would have been delighted, but not nearly as delighted as she would have been in him.


  1. A lovely tribute to your wonderful mother.

  2. What a nice post - I enjoyed reading it and remembering your Mother.