Calling All Board Gamers!

Games!  Glorious Games!  Is this the sentiment of an earnest nine-year-old or a precocious four-year-old?  Probably, but many adults also fondly recall those days gone by when the family eagerly gathered around the dining room table on a stormy summer night or a blustery winter one and enjoyed a riveting game of Monopoly, Parcheesi or, in a nod to the younger set, Chutes and Ladders or Candyland.

No doubt, many of you have amusing stories associated with these times.    Here’s one of mine.

I come from a rather large family of five children.  And we held many, often heated, discussions about what constituted a good conscience and the meaning of good and bad thoughts.  One snowy Saturday afternoon, shortly after Christmas, my Dad gathered us in a circle surrounding a Chutes and Ladders board.  We couldn’t wait to play; it was one of our favorite gifts left under the tree by Santa Claus.

About half way into the game, my younger brother, Michael–just four years old at the time–rolled the dice and got the dreaded chute that went all the way from the top of the board down to the first row.  His face turned scarlet; angry tears streamed down his cheeks.  We all tried to reassure him with soothing words like “It doesn’t matter who wins or loses” and “It’s just a game of luck!” “No, no!” he screamed, “It’s not!  You’re all thinking impure thoughts about me”!

The memory remains embedded in my brain, over 50 years later!

I don’t remember how we managed it, but we all stifled our laughter, knowing that this felt like a death blow to my baby brother.

The game quickly ended, and we made a bee line to the dining table where my mother scooped mounds of ice cream into six large bowls (my father wasn’t going to be left out).  Fortunately, it was Michael’s favorite, Neapolitan, and he began to down mouthfuls of the frozen delight.  Blessedly, for all of us, he quickly forgot about his resounding defeat!

Do you have memories like these?  If so, don’t let them stagnate.  Silence your cell phones, unplug your laptops, and forget about the stock market.  Look through those closets, tell your friends to do the same, and then settle in for a few hours of fun. Play a board or card game!

You can be part of the now-forming group of like-minded seniors.  Join the Olli Board/Card Game Shared Interest Group (SIG).  The first gathering and “game event” will be Thursday, January 24, 10 a.m. until noon at the Jimmie B. Keel Library, Community Room A,  2902 W Bearss Avenue in Tampa.

For further information or to join the group, contact  Phyllis Alpert at 813-242-8633 or

Ann Murphy joined OLLI in early 2018. She regularly attends the Friday lectures, and has taken courses in literature, writing, laughter yoga, film and Spanish.



2 Replies to “Calling All Board Gamers!”

  1. Thank you so much for the story! I can remember playing “Life” with the neighborhood kids outside on the porch; it was our favorite game. Maybe board games help prepare for the ups and downs of Life, but if not they sure bring back memories. Best of luck with the new Shared Interest Group. Will there be ice cream?

  2. Very interesting. I have fond memories of playing board games with my brother and our childhood friends from across the street in suburbia Long Island, NY. This, of course, was pre-MTV era; as soon as the first video aired in 1981 ‘video killed the way we entertained ourselves’ forever.
    Would you consider chess or backgammon a board game?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights