THE GAME OF CARDS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’m not a big game person. I don’t play video games. I don’t play a lot of games on my computer or phone. I like a few word puzzles and Shanghai (a form of Mahjong). But my all time favorite is the card game, Solitaire.

I play Solitaire on my phone for long periods of time, despite my ADD. I find it very soothing and absorbing. I think that’s because card games are a cherished memory from my past.

I used to play Gin Rummy all the time with my grandparents, starting when I was six or seven. Often we had a foursome with my Mom or with Grandma’s best friend and cousin, ‘Aunt’ Esther. With four of us playing, we teamed up and each team would pool their points. My grandparents scored in some odd way involving XX’s in boxes, which I never figured out. So I was never allowed to keep score.

Grandma, me and Esther when I was four

Grandma regularly accused Grandpa of cheating. I think she was right, but he was also a very good player. He could remember every card every opponent took and threw out. He turned that skill into a major strategy, playing defense as well as offense. I never played on that level. To me it was just a fun game of chance. I just picked cards and figured out how best I could fit them into my hand.

My grandparents playing cards

I remember all those hours playing cards at the kitchen table. Grandma would bring me something wonderful to eat when we stopped for a break. This is one of those memories that deserve a Hallmark card to commemorate it.

At home, my mom and I played Solitaire and Double Solitaire, which is a competitive game of Solitaire. In Double Solitaire, each person plays their own hand but all the players pool the cards they put up and build on, numerically, by suit. It’s a very fast paced game. You’re competing for who will get their cards into the suit piles first. The person with the most cards in the suit piles, wins. Sometimes everyone wins and you end up with all the players’ decks mixed together in suit piles in the center of the table. That was always a thrill!

Me and Mom when I was about fifteen

My mom and I had very spirited games. But the most fun was when we got the housekeeper and the cook (it was a different time) to play with us. Four people playing the game is only slightly organized chaos. We would yell and scream and throw cards around in a frenzy! We all had such fun!

I’ve carried my card traditions over into the next generation through my daughter, Sarah. Sarah loved to play gin with me and my mom. We also inducted her, at an early age, into our wild world of Double Solitaire. She’s 33 now and still plays. She recently found two decks of cards we used to use when we played with my mom in Sarah’s youth. We loved those cards, which is why I kept them all these years. Seeing them brought back such wonderful memories!

Sarah, Mom and me when Sarah was thirteen

So I think my love of online card games is due to my fond memories of card games past. I played different games with different family members. But the warm glow of love and good times pervades all these card related vignettes from my childhood, my adult life and my daughter’s life.

Sarah and me a few years ago

 

11 thoughts on “THE GAME OF CARDS – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. I was an insane Canasta player, which is really gin rummy on steroids. I had a friend who I played with and she ALWAYS beat me. I don’t think I ever won a game with her. BUT after playing with Helen, I never lost to anyone else. I miss card games with live people — and scrabble with live people, too. And bridge. I was a serious bridge addict, so naturally, I married a man who can’t tell a heart from a club.

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    1. Glad to hear someone else was as combative a double solitaire player as my family was! Computer solitaire is relaxing, but there’s nothing like the adrenalin rush of double solitaire with real people!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Leslie! I love that photo too, which was taken by a professional photographer at Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah in 1998. Sometimes I think the best thing about formal events is the photos that you cherish comemmorating the event. The event itself fades from memory, but the images of the photos stay with you forever. Especially if you put them in albums.

      Liked by 1 person

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