Wednesday, April 29, 2009

42 Game

Ladies Gathered in the Afternoon
home of Mrs. A.L. Keeling
family photo
42 Game
A.L. Keeling Home
China Marker & Watercolors

Living Room
A.L. Keeling Home
family photo
The pungent smell of fresh perked coffee, tuna fish sandwiches, chow chow, and newly baked yeast rolls, cake and pie greeted visitors as they stepped on the porch of the Keeling home.
Entering the wide front door into the entry hall, the smells grew stronger and the sounds of final touches on refreshments being readied in the kitchen drew visitors to that room in the back.
"Anything I can do to help?" They each asked the hostess.
"No, not a thing. Just go put your coats on the bed and find a table."
And they wandered off to chat with other guests and decide who would sit at which table. Who would be the head table. And what was the news and gossip of the day to be shared over a hot game with dominoes.
Almost every afternoon, there was a gathering of ladies, somewhere, in Calvert. Except Wednesday, which was reserved for church gatherings.
Some days, they met for a sewing club, when all the ladies sewed something, from darning socks to making elaborate smocked pillows, dresses, lap quilts, etc. Anything that they could work on while they sat in their chairs and visited.
On Wednesdays, it was Bible Study or church ladies in their groups.
There was a time, during the War, when ladies gathered to roll bandages for the Red Cross. They met at someone's home, or they might have even gathered on the sidewalk by the bank and in front of Mack Rembardt's Furniture Store. The bandages had to be rolled and they had to knit and do what they could for the War Effort.
Some days, they might meet for a tea party, formal if there was an occasion like a bridal shower, or less formal to just get together for afternoon tea.
Some of the ladies of German descent would gather for afternoon lunch at 4 o'clock. And their friends and neighbors were invited, too.
But the most lively gatherings were the 42 parties. These preceeded the afternoon Canasta parties, when that game became popular. But a lot still preferred the 42 gatherings.
At the Keeling home, card tables were set up in the den, the hall, and the good living room, depending on how big a party it was to be. They just needed the card tables, pretty table cloths, dominoes, a score pad and pencil, and, of course, the little bell that was rung when it was time to change tables.
The biggest parties were at night, with the men also invited. Lots of noise and laughter as they shuffled the dominoes around.
After the games were going, there were refreshments served on special party dishes. Coffee, of course, with all kinds of sandwiches-tuna fish, boiled ham, pressed ham, pimento cheese, were popular-chips, dip, various kinds of things like chow chow, mints, and chocolate covered nuts, assorted nuts, yeast rolls, Jello salad, and pies and cakes.
I was bored. As a child, I wandered around, bothering people or getting under the tables and drawing on the underside of the table, or writing my name, or wiggling enough to disrupt the game. Later, they tried to have me join in. I hated all that counting and games in general. I would always rather use the dominoes to build a domino house. Sometimes an old set of dominoes, with one or two missing, would occupy my time, building a house, or I might color in a coloring book. I would usually wander into the kitchen and wait, sitting on the kitchen stool, for time to eat and go home.
But, everyone else loved those 42 parties.
I got in on the Canasta parties, but I just never did care for games. I would rather just sit and talk, nibble on something, and listen to music or watch tv or listen to the radio, before we had tv.
At my grandmother's house, the games were lively, too, when they had tables set up in the good living room, the den and the hall. With the men included in the night 42 parties, there was a lot of fun going on. When my grandmother lost her hearing and grew older, they stopped going to the parties. Poor Grandma would just sit there, or she would constantly say, "Eh?" because she couldn't hear. They got her a hearing aid but it didn't work. She would turn it all the way up and it would squeal loudly, hurting everyone's ears, but she didn't hear it. That ended a lot of her partying.
Our house was small, so we didn't have a lot of parties. We had some, but the ones I remember most are the Canasta parties and some birthday parties.
I don't recall Mrs. Smith doing a lot of entertaining, except for family. She went to parties at other people's houses, but didn't have the 42 parties and other things like Mrs. Keeling.
The top photo shows a group of ladies during a gathering at Mrs. Keeling's house. I recognize me, when I was about 4 years old. I recognize Mrs. Smith, Ossee Rushing, Hermena Conitz, and I think that is my mother. I'm not sure about the others.
The middle picture is my mixed media painting about a 42 party. I was just trying out drawing with china markers on watercolor paper, and added a bit more watercolor to finish it. It is not easy to draw with china markers on rough watercolor paper! I like the way that parts of it came out-especially the lady on the right. I wasn't trying to make it look like anyone, but it looks a lot like our next door neighbor, Mrs. Porter. I thought that the one with the back showing would be Mrs. Keeling, the lady on her left reminds me of my grandmother, with my mother beside her. The lady facing us reminds me a bit of Mrs. Wyser. But just a bit. I didn't really have anyone in mind. They just happened.
I like the way the lighting turned out and the effect of the limited colors.
The bottom photo is of Mrs. Keeling, in her good living room. This is where a couple of card tables were set up for the big 42 parties. It is also the room where I got married.
I never did master playing games. As soon as I would learn something, I would just wipe it from my mind, hoping I would never have to do it again!
Kevin talked about 42 being the national game of Texas on FaceBook. And it was a rainy afternoon. All this made me think of the afternoon 42 parties and gatherings in Calvert.
If you missed the PBS series "We Shall Remain", the episode about the Cherokee, you can see some of it online. I was thinking that it was to be shown Tuesday night, for some reason, but it was actually on Monday night. I looked it up and found that it was going to be on Wednesday at 2 a.m.-but there was quite a bit on the PBS website. I tried to wake up and watch it, but kept falling asleep. Thank goodness I thought to record it so I can watch it later.
I was surprised to see what looks like the Vann House in Georgia on the program. Look for the pretty brick plantation house with the white trim. They didn't say that was it, but I've looked at it so much, this looks a lot like that place. My great-grandmother's mother was a Vann, so that was of particular interest to me.
KAMU tv repeated the program. Houston PBS did not. However, they are going to have the episode on the Apache several times.
If you went to Calvert High School in Calvert, Texas, I started a Yahoo group for you! Join Calvert High School_Trojans at Yahoo. You can add photos, links, etc.
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Thanks for reading and sharing!

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