When I was a girl, we played jacks all the time.  It was great because you could play it alone or with friends and we were all good at it and we must have played for hours at a time.  If you have forgotten or don’t know what the game of jacks is, here’s a picture…a999c612de30bea465280ea595439046I hadn’t thought about jacks in years and, when I did, I texted my daughters to make sure I had taught them how to play.  One responded that she remembered it, but didn’t play much.  I was feeling like a failure as a mother at that point, but vowed to teach my granddaughters, even though one is probably too old to get into it at this point.

Finding a set took a little while since we don’t have dime stores around any more.  The sets I remembered as a child had the red rubber ball seen in the photo, but we preferred a golf ball, which we always had around the house.  I finally found a set in town, but it only had eight jacks and I remembered more and had a tiny, hard rubber ball.  We tended to play with double sets as we got better and were looking for more challenges.  The set had good sturdy jacks, not the light ones they started making way back.  You have to start with good jacks – I remember that.  And, I had a golf ball I could use.

We played several games…regular jacks, pigs in the pen (which I loved), cherries in the basket, round the world, and whatever game kids could invent.

Last night, I took my eight jacks and a golf ball and sat down on my sidewalk to see if I could still play.  It took a few times for my memory to kick in, but it was all coming back.  I had to adjust for the fact my fingernails are longer and were scratching the pavement, but somehow I figured out how to stop that.  Actually, the hardest thing…don’t laugh…was that the ball tended to bounce away and this old lady doesn’t get up as fast as she used to.  I don’t remember that being part of the game.  When you’re little, your back doesn’t hurt and you bounce up and down with ease.  Sigh.

Anyway, it was coming back to me more quickly than I thought.  I need to practice, but I can still do it.

When I was trying to find jacks, which you can get online, I saw an article on how good the game is, how it teaches children dexterity.  I am sure that my parents never read an article on the benefits of the game and that we wouldn’t have thought much about it.  For gosh sakes, of course it was good for us.  It’s fun!  photo