Now the election is over it’s time to move on to other things, like Professional Bocce. Oh, there is no professional Bocce. How about some reminiscences of our childhood? It’s free, monetary wise, and supposedly peaceful. So here we go.
My two brothers, our three boy cousins and I wandered about nature, jumped rope, made chopstick rubber band guns and slingshots, and played some universal games such as tag games and hopscotch in the center court of Grandpa’s traditional Chinese farm house. We helped each other learn how to ride a bike. We were awesome simply because we were.
I’ll write about two special pastimes and, indirectly, about how a little sister adored her older brother.Turtle Go game
Each player has an army of 6, and each soldier (or candy) can move to an adjacent node, one step at a time. A soldier is captured when it’s surrounded by the opponents’ soldiers and thus loses mobility. The game is over when there is no way to capture anymore, e.g., you have one soldier left and your opponent has two. The one who arrests more opponents’ soldiers wins. This game is free, and no-props are required but the players.
My older brother who taught me this game often won at the beginning. Growing up, I always thought he was so much smarter than me, because, unbeknownst to me then, he is three years older. He never refused my request to play, at least not that I can remember, knowing that I wanted to beat him. I was a competitive sister, and he enjoyed winning. When it was apparent to him that I could win half of the time, he decided to teach me the next game and drop this game without ceremony.
Almost every elementary school kid was exposed to this game then. How the pieces move about the game board differently fascinated me. Victory laughter ensued when the sneaky elephant seized a piece from two points diagonally. Being able to ambush my older brother was something that I bragged about. My favorite piece was the cannon. Whenever I nabbed an opponent’s piece with a leap above another piece, it pleased me tremendously. I can’t tell you why. Youngsters are funny this way, and I was no different.
My older brother preferred to play with his friends once he went to 5th grade when boys and girls were separated. In the meantime, my school friends loved the paper doll dress up game. It dawned on then that I was a girl, and that, strangely, fun seemed to have gender too. We were free, I mean, carefree, before we started junior high. When he stared 7th grade, my childhood seemed to have stopped. No more pastimes as there was no free time to pass. Besides doing homework, we had to study to earn good standing at school, which seems to be a foreign concept to many high school students nowadays.
Oh, my younger brother was a brat and hasn’t changed a bit. I am still his favorite sister though.
Things have changed, though classic games such as Chess still survive today.
Raising my two daughters has given me a second childhood, the American way. Old Maid gave me a first glance on how my children would handle an undesirable situation, which interestingly reflected their personalities. Priceless. I can go on and on…as many parents can about their children.
My farmer parents were too busy. Unlike my children, my brothers and I were left to entertain ourselves, and were only asked to finish homework and be home for dinner. No, we didn’t live in Chewandswallow where weather comes in the form of food, beverage and deserts.
We were trouble-free. Grandma’s threat of “you’d-be-a-pig-in-next-life-if-naughty,” which seems much less harsh than “you’d-go-to-hell-if-you-do-not-listen,” worked. We couldn’t make mischief because we believed there was no Get-Out-of-Being-A-Pig-Free card.
My brothers and I grew up in the pre-digital, pre-internet, pre-telephone, pre-color TV, pre-flush or early-flush toilet era. No internet, no Facebook, no Game Boy, no Pac-man, no Six Flags, no shopping mall,
We had fun!
Now it’s your turn to tell us your fond childhood memories. Your favorite TV shows? Speed Racers? What are your children’s favorite pastimes?
Update Picture fixed. Libreoffice often can’t reproduce well graphics produced in Word and Powerpoint. PDF can.