Do you remember that old (1968) song Games People Play? It’s perhaps an appropriate one to have running around in my head (as can you, if you click here) as I start this latest instalment in my series of posts about interesting and delightful vintage things that kind folks who read this blog have given Raymond and me recently. (Instalment 1, about a midcentury jewelry holder for a dressing-table, is here; Instalment 2, about a collection of drawings of local churches by local artists, here; and you can read last night’s post, about a set of TV trays that made its way into the Manse at last, here.)
Now, I should clarify that while Joe South‘s song Games People Play is (according to the Wikipedia entry) “a protest song whose lyrics speak against various forms of hate, hypocrisy, inhumanity, and intolerance, both interpersonal and social,” what I’m talking about tonight are actual games. You know, board games. The kind people used to sit around card tables and play of a Saturday afternoon or long winter evening. I expect that in some homes people still do enjoy the fun and camaraderie of playing board games, and that’s actually quite brilliant.
While I am totally in favour of the theory of board games, however – the aforementioned fun and camaraderie and all that – I’m afraid that Raymond and I lead busy enough lives that there is very rarely time in practice for a rousing game of Monopoly, or Sorry!, or Masterpiece, or Yahtzee. But that sure doesn’t stop me from being happy every time I spot a vintage edition of one of these games that I so much enjoyed playing in my childhood here at the Manse in Queensborough. And as I’ve written in some earlier posts (like here and here and here), I seem to have the start of a fairly decent collection of those vintage games.
A collection that has been significantly enhanced in recent times, thanks to gifts from readers!
So let’s start at the top of this post, with the three games that we chose when Jan of Madoc called us up and invited us to come poke through a boxful of vintage games stored in her garage, and take whatever we liked. My heart leapt when I spotted Probe, which was a particular favourite of my paternal grandmother and, since it’s a word game, one that I always liked too. Get a load of the players wearing ties on the cover!
Then there was a 1970s (at least, so I’m guessing judging by the garish orange, brown and gold colour scheme) variant on the more traditional Hi-Q game, called Hi-Q Euclid. I’d never seen that one before, but really, how could I pass up that evocative colour scheme?
And finally there was a game I was not at all familiar with; it is English, I believe (the games came from Jan’s British father), and it is about Shakespeare, and since I’m a Shakespeare aficionado I could not possibly say no. Thanks so much, Jan!
Meanwhile our friend John passed on to us Billionaire, another in the very long line of board games made by good old Parker Brothers. The Parker Brothers collection here at the Manse is getting fairly substantial, but Billionaire had been a notable omission. The gift was especially appreciated since John himself is something of a collector (or at least keeper) of vintage toys and games. It was nice of him to part with this one to allow us to build our collection. Thank you, John!
And finally, the most recent addition, also from Parker Brothers: Booby-Trap, from 1965. (Which means it fits perfectly into the era when I was a kid at the Manse, from 1964 to 1975.) Hey, it’s tantalizing! It’s terrific! It’s vintage, and in great shape! And it came from Nicole, who is Raymond’s second cousin once removed (are you following?), who’s a reader of Meanwhile, at the Manse (and so knew I liked vintage games) and lives with her husband, Tim, way off in east-central Massachusetts. How did Nicole and Tim happen to be here at the Manse, delivering this lovely gift? Well, get this: because Tim’s parents live in nearby Campbellford, Ont., where he went to high school a few years ago (as did I, after my family moved there from Queensborough), and was pals with my youngest brother Ken. Is it a small world or what?
Having Nicole and Tim come visit us was gift enough – Booby-Trap was just a bonus. As I think I said already in Instalment 2, the real gift is the friendship and kind gestures of readers who share things from our collective past. Things that now have a very happy new home at the Manse.