#52snapshots 2022 | Week 48–Mystery Date

Maybe you remember the television commercials: “Mystery date, are you ready for a mystery date?” It was a board game in which you opened the door to your mystery date in hopes of it not revealing, “The Dud,” a slovenly guy your parents would never approve of.

This week’s prompt is about games we played as kids. thing, I could have written about indoor games, including Monopoly, Clue, Trouble, Life, Twister, Stratego, jacks, and checkers. I could have written about outdoor games we played in the street until a car rumbled through. These included kickball, badminton, dodge ball, relay races, hopscotch, and jumping rope.

But I chose instead to write about the games my twin and I played in the “back-back” of the family station wagon on long road trips, whether vacations or visits to my mother’s siblings in Queens and Long Island.

One game we played was waving to people in the cars around us to see who would wave back. We squealed with delight when they did. Another was spotting out-of-state license plates. We made up songs to deal with all the billboard signs we saw for Stuckey’s in the south. We probably played Miss Mary Mack and other hand clapping games we learned at summer camp like “here we sit like birds in the wilderness waiting for our food” and “John Jacob Gingleheimerschmidt, his name is my name too.” Then there was the camp version of “David Melech,” that changed Yisroel to ginger ale and hi vikayom to hi pizza pie. At camp we learned to use our elbows and fingers for this melody, so not like the version we learned in Hebrew School.

It probably gave our parents much relief to have us so far away in the car. Our older sisters were quiet. We were not.

What games did you play?

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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