Wednesday, June 3, 2009


An old people's game?

I think not, although apparently that's the word on the street.

However, I actually did learn to play Pinochle from my two grandmothers. They taught me the game when I was about nine or ten years old so I could be their fourth and we could play partners. I loved it. I can vividly picture one hand in particular. I remember us all sitting around the table in the back yard of their neighbors in Narberth Park. We were drinking lemonade and my Nana and I were partners. We each had a run in the same suit. It was a beautiful thing. I swear I can almost feel that adrenalin rush that surged through me when we both laid them down to show our meld. It was possibly the most graceful hand of cards ever played by a nine year old all hopped on the sugar from the peanut M&M's my Dotsie let me eat at breakfast and the natural high that comes from something that only really the stars can align.

Someone asked me today what one of my favorite childhood memories was. It took me about ten seconds as vacations and holidays and trips to French Creek flew through my mind to pick an answer. Each one memorable but when I started to write my answer it was sitting around the table playing cards that came out of my finger tips.

I played Pinochle with my grandmothers and Hearts with my family. There was a stint there that my parents taught us Bridge but Pinochle was always my favorite. My dad taught me card tricks and I spent hours and hours playing solitare by myself and war with my brothers and crazy eights with my friends. I know that learning cards at such a young age and having to work in my mind how those tricks were going to be played helped me later in life to figure numbers very quickly. I have an almost rain man (slight exaggeration) qualitie to figuring out equations in my head. I know it was those cards. Or maybe my third grade teacher, Mr. Reagan, he pounded those multiplication table in our heads. Either or.

It was not only a educational game but such a social one too. In college I skipped a couple classes here and there to stay in the Union of snowy days and play Pinochle with the Beta brothers. They were stoners but they could play some serious cards.

Right now as I finally sit down after a long day and take time to think about how important the little things are it makes realize so many things. When asked that question today, I didn't say my happiest memory was when I got a new tv for Christmas or when my I got my hot pink Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in sixth grade that I loved like I gave birth to them myself or even when I spent an entire summer on vacation with friends. Those things were the shizzle but it was the time spent and the cards played that stick out in my mind most vividly.

Summer's almost here. My kids are 10 and 11, there's going to be some Pinochle going on. Come play with us if you want, but be warned, I don't take any prisoners. I like to win. Right Jen?


Kathy said...

Canasta. Playing for hours on end with my best friend Susan. Sipping iced tea in the cool basement away from the intense summer heat. The games could go on for days. Thanks for sparking the memory.

Mark said...

Amy, this one took me back, not so much to card playing memories, but just to memories of family time together when we were growing up. We had some special times, didn't we? I miss those times. I miss you guys and spending time together as a family. Last weekend, spending time with you, D&M, Chase and your wonderful canines (don't get all excited now, Ashley) made me realize how much I want to be back in PA, and that the longer I wait, the more time keeps slipping away. So, help me to this, help me find a way to get back there. Ok?

Wow, that was awkward said...

If you play your cards right (pun totally intended), I can get you in on a sweet bingo game down at the old folks home. It starts right after dinner, at 4:15p.

You are a sweetheart, half moon loon.

Meredith said...

It still breaks my heart that you kids would never learn Bridge. You have no idea how THAT would improve your brain. I remember the boys playing endless games of chess, especially on the porches of summer shore houses. And all the board games piled in closets.
Love, Mom
P.S. Help Mark. Rent him a room.

Amy said...

Kathy, maybe one of these summer afternoons you could teach me. A mojito, a little sun and some games.
Mark- I would do anything for you. Just do it. LYTB
Wow-You are a laugh riot. I don't remember mentioning Bingo. Although I have an old people's place right near here, I might just go find myself a Pinochle game.
Mom-I'm sorry about the Bridge. Let's teach S & C.
And Mark is welcome anytime.

Sue Jacquette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue Jacquette said...

It was cribbage for Jason's family and chess in mine. We played chess and backgammon in mine. All I ever wanted to do was beat my father at chess and my mother at backgammon!

Brother Chris said...

Let's play The Knuckle!

Given my "world domination" I'd think all the games we played as children would be anything but fond memories for Amy and Mark.

They, of course, realize how I jest. What fun, and one more "game" that brought me great joy was sneaking thru BA's backyard with Mark to get to the "Y" to play tennis for hours on end - it was like Borg and McEnroe at Wimbledon (well, maybe not exactly like that, but it was great, good fun!)

Anonymous said...

canasta with mimi for me. now we play pishti(turkish) with everyone. just spent 10 days with cashie and don playing teams pishti.
i think cards are the best thing ever. they make any day fun.

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