Thursday, August 21, 2008

The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces (LONG post alert)

My cousin was up visiting her mom, my aunt (my dad's younger sister), from California this past week. She brought with her a game. She brought the game so that I could have a chance to play it again.

It's a game that was played almost weekly during the colder moths on the floor of my grandmother's living room. Most every Sunday the families of my grandparents would gather at their home for homemade ice cream and cake. In the Summer we were outside. All the younger cousins running around playing "No Bears are Out Tonight", Hide and Seek, climbing the many trees in the yard or playing in the barn. The adults sitting in lawn chairs or on the back porch just visiting until it was dark. When it was too cold to be outside we went indoors and the board and card games were brought out. Husker Du, Pit, Chinese Checkers, Rummikub, Uno.

But for a long time there was one main game that kept our attention. Match II. A memory game with pictures of the flags of different countries around the world. They were on little tiles that you put into a blue board and you could flip them over but you didn't keep the tiles when you got a match you moved a little marker on the side of the board that kept track of how many matches you had. When all the tiles were flipped over you could take them out and set them back in the board and it was a whole new memory game.

We played this game over and over and over. We had fights over who would get to play because only four people could play at a time. We all vied to get the American Flag. We would sit on Grandma's green carpet in her front room or sometimes at the kitchen table while the adults were all around talking or watching television. We called the Puerto Rico flag the Pure-Toe Rico Flag and rolled the R in Rico. When the French flag was flipped we would try to use a French accent to say Fran-say.

This gathering happened pretty much every Sunday evening. Some of my happiest memories of childhood are from these times. My grandmother was an amazing cook. Her cakes and brownies and home made ice cream are legendary. She had three children. My dad, his brother and his sister. His sister and her family and my dad and his family stayed in the same town as their parents. I grew up around the corner from my grandma and grandpa. My uncle and his family moved to Arizona but every Summer the would come up for a visit.

When my grandpa died and my grandma got too old to stay by herself any longer she let the family go through her house before she died and take things that they wanted. My cousin in California wanted the Match II game. Which had become known as "The Flag Game". There wasn't arguing about it. That was fine.

A few years later as I was looking on ebay, after I had found an old Husker Du game like the one that was at grandma's house, I tried looking for "The Flag Game". At the time the box to the game was long gone and the name of the game was not printed on the board or the tiles. Just the brand "Ideal". I searched and searched the internet to no avail. Because I couldn't remember the actual name I came up against a brick wall.

Fast forward to this past week when my cousin brought the game for me to play. I was only able to find time to play it once, with j. But that once was enough. Enough to bring the memories of those good times flooding in so that, like the movie quote in the title says "The memories were so thick I had to brush them away from my face". (Bonus to who knows what movie line the title of this post came from.) To be able to remember the feel of that green carpet beneath me. To remember the smell of her homemade cake and the taste of her ice cream. To remember the laughter and love and the warmth that filled my grandparents home.

I want to thank my cousin for bringing that game with her all the way from California. She didn't have to do that. I didn't ask her to. She was thoughtful and kind enough to think of that all on her own. Because she did that though I was able to find a date on the back of the game board. 1978. Typing that into Google with the name brand Ideal I was able to find out what the name of the game was. Match II.

Of course I then searched to see if there were any out there for sale. Nothing on ebay. I did find one store, Don's Game Closet, in Missouri that has a listing for them but they were sold out. The game was listed as rare. I sent an email to the owner of this store, it specializes in out of print board games. I'm hoping to find out how often he sees those games and asked if I could get my name on a list to buy one if/when one does come through there. I there was a phone number on his site I would call him but there is only an email address.

And if you've made it through that long post above, thank you for walking down memory lane with me. If any of you out there have this game and would like to sell it, or if you know where I might be able to buy one PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know. And yes I took pictures of this game.


Tyran, the Yeti Yogi said...

Terence 'Terry' Mann (James Earl Jones) from...well, we'll see if anyone else knows it.

Anonymous said...

Aw, what a neat post. :) My grandparents had a huge, long window box full of games. When my grandmother sold that house I lay claim to several of the games for the very reasons you mentioned. Memories, memories, memories. Funny how an old board game seems just like a game to others, but for some it holds so much more inside it. I hope you can find one for your family to have.

Mark Lee said...

Board games are almost always at least as much about the company as the game itself. Thus, the memories.

TJ said...

I love experiences like that, memory majic. Poof and you're there.

Anonymous said...

nice walk with you there :)

I have seen that before, but will keep my eyes open if I see it again