Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
Marbles are fun to hold in your hand. When I was a little girl, I had favorite marbles, like cat's eye marbles (clear with a single colored streak through them) or clear marbles. The solid-color marbles used for Chinese Checkers were not considered attractive for playing the marble game or for collecting. They were not very interesting. I kept my collection of marbles in a coffee can, and Elaine kept hers in a bag.
A few times I played the game of marbles at the end of our driveway with some neighborhood kids from across the street. A shallow layer of small gravel was on top of very hard-packed dirt, so we could push the gravel away and draw a big circle in the dirt. The game involved putting down some marbles, and then flicking one marble across the circle to try to hit another player's marbles. If you hit them you got to keep them.
Our parents were not happy about games that involved keeping something I won from another kid -- or about other kids keeping something they won from me. Elaine says she didn't know how to play the marble game. We probably weren't allowed to play it any more by the time she was old enough.
My Aunt Bernadine had a glass bowl full of cat's eye marbles as a decoration. Her living room was full of decorations, like porcelain birds and Chinese ladies in long robes. When we visited her, we were only allowed to play with these marbles a little bit. Several years ago, while she was still living in her apartment, she gave me these marbles. Three of them are in the photo above.
At the Dawn Treader book store in Ann Arbor recently, there has been a tumbler full of marbles with a sign:
"TAKE A MARBLE, LEAVE A MARBLE." These marbles are near the cash register. When I was there, they didn't have any cat's eye marbles, but they had a few clear colorless marbles.
Most stores have a bowl of pennies instead of a bowl of marbles.