We are experiencing an unusual weather system in Southern California. A week of steady, albeit light, rain. For a variety of reasons I find myself reflecting on an earlier time when, if the weather was inclement, we would pull out the chest of games and play, hour after hour.
One of the reasons for my memory is that I yesterday finished reading a remarkable book called “City of Thieves” by David Beniof. The story tells the brutally vivid story of the siege of Leningrad by the Germans in 1943. A pivotal scene in the story depicts a chess match between a seventeen year-old Jewish boy and a high ranking SS officer. I am hard-pressed to remember my last chess match, and my 12 year-old grandson, I’m told plays a respectable game. But he too would probably not find it easy to remember when last he played something that wasn’t computerized. We seem to have lost the knack.
Interestingly also was a note this week that the toy collection of Malcolm Forbes, the late financier will be auctioned off. Included in that collection are several early versions of the game Monopoly, which was a household favorite. A 1933 board, hand-painted and circular in shape to match the table it was played on is expected to fetch as much as $80,000 at the Sotheby auction. I have fond memories of playing Monopoly, cribbage, Scrabble and some puzzle games when we were forced inside of the Clear Lake, Iowa summer cottage of my youth. In addition to sharpening one’s wits, these games served as socialization tools, teaching us to give and take, choose up sides, accept defeat and other valuable life lessons.
I think if the rain continues I may challenge Ryan to a game. I get white.