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Show & Tell 01: Board Games At Granny's

In case you didn't see the image and link on the right side of my home page, I've signed up for my pal Mickey's "Show & Tell" for retro bloggers.  Mick has created a fun contest to create traffic on every participant's website and get a taste of those retro blogging glory days before people just slapped a quick photo on Instagram.  

It's not really a competition but more of a community effort.  Each week has a new theme, which keeps the writing fun.  

Come back and check, and I'll post links to other participants' blog posts right here:

In any event, I thought this week I'd write a little post about how I often think of my Grandparent's house when I think of board games.  I grew up next door to my Grandparents, and their house was where I spent most of my board game playing time.

Most often, my board game play was during the summer, as I'm sure most other children.  During the summer, I love a good rainy day.  Back then, when it would rain most days, my brother and I wandered next door to kill time.  

Granny often had the air conditioner running when we got there, which was always a pleasant change from my house.  My parents didn't really use the AC very often when I was young, so access to cold air was a luxury.  The chilly air, a nice and soft carpeted living room during playtime, and a big screen TV parked right by the front door made for a great place for us kids to hang out on a hot summer day... rain or shine.

To be honest, most of the time, my board games were played alone.  Occasionally, Mom or Dad would play along on a weekend or evening, but I honestly don't remember playing a board game with my brother.  Maybe when we were very little, but nothing sticks out in my head.  I usually just took an extra turn to keep the game going, but I often made up new rules to entertain a single player.  

At my Grandparents, though, they had this closed-in back porch that I believe people call a three-season room.  The large windows would get swapped for screens in the summertime, and I was always happy to help Gramps roll out the bright blue carpet in the springtime.  Boy, did I love that room.  I'd "help" set up the furniture, which looking back, was likely just fancy-looking lawn furniture.  A wood-framed love seat with red-striped outdoor seat cushions sat along one wall under the pass-through window.

When I think about that sofa or the metal gliding rocking chair and its canary-yellow cushions with the blue and white pinstripes, I can still feel the small plastic waffle pattern that would imprint on the back of your thighs.  A big round white table and matching chairs sat on the other side of the room.  We'd eventually move their washing machine to that spot from the basement, and I don't remember what happened to the table after that.

Many days during the summer, or when it was just Gramps and me after I'd been furloughed from my first airline, we'd all eat lunch together at that table.  Gramps would wheel in the television so we could watch The Price is Right and their mid-day news on Grandma's beloved NBC.  If for whatever reason, we were still at the table, Grandma and I would watch Days of Our Lives until the next commercial break before moving out to the living room.  

When we weren't eating lunch at that table, I was there playing LIFE.  I loved moving around my little orange car, getting a good job, growing my family, and buying that big house before "retiring" to win the game.  During the summer, I'd watch New York Mets games on WPIX-11 as I played.  On school days, before Mom and Dad came home from work, I'd watch Disney Afternoons while I played as I sang along to Duck Tales at the top of my lungs.  

It was also at that table, usually in front of some board game or other, that I'd watch WCW Saturday Night because Mom and Dad didn't let me watch it at home.  

The other day, in The Retro Network VIP Lounge, we decided to pick a topic to switch our user avatars to.  It's a little game we play, choosing a topic like our favorite cartoon, or favorite 1980s sitcom, or what have you.  It creates a conversation, and its fun to see what everyone else was in to back then.  This week's topic, funny enough, was also board games.  One of our members selected PAY DAY.  

PAY DAY?!  Why, I hadn't thought of Pay Day in likely 30 years.  Where did I last see the game, Pay Day, you ask?

Why, in Granny's basement, of course!  There was a stack of board games from when my Dad and his siblings were young that my Grandparents kept on a shelf in the basement that we'd take down and try to play.  A lot of them were for older kids, like Trivial Pursuit or Backgammon, but they had some fun games I'd always try to play with the neighbor kid who was always around.  Or mostly by myself.  They did have games for younger kids like Sorry, Life, and Pay Day. 

It's not often I think about that back room of my Grandparents' house, especially given that the house has been lived in by someone else for what's probably more than 5 years already.  But, when I do take the time to pause and reflect on certain things, playing board games at Granny's back table while the rain fell on a summer day is certainly one memory I'm quite fond of.