Decided to put my left hand into the old draw-string marble bag, swirl the contents around a tad, and see what column idea comes out this week. I know what you are thinkin’ … she’s definitely lost all her marbles. Nope … that was last week. Oh look, it’s a clear bolder. I haven’t seen one of those in years. It feels kinda nice, all smooth and heavy, rolling around in the palm of my hand. Don’t expect kids play with marbles much these days. Guess they are mostly used in the bottom of aquariums. Oh, but there are a couple of games that certainly require them, or you just can’t play, like for instance, Chinese Checkers and Ker-Plunk. Played lots of Chinese Checkers back in the day … fun game … not so much Ker-Plunk. Didn’t care for all the noise when the marbles finally ker-plunked. And then there was Hungry Hungry Hippo. Betcha nine dollars we still have the hippo game under someone’s bed at the Frantz house. Never quite got the gist of that game. I mean everybody knows that hippos do not eat marbles. Too hard to digest. My husband was a big marble player back in the third grade. He smiled showing all this pearly whites when I asked him about it. “I’d tie my marble bag to my belt loop. Inside my bag there would be my ‘game set’ and my ‘show set’ of marbles. I never played with my ‘show set.’ They were just for showing off,” Rick said, wondering out loud what ever happened to his marbles. Now I remember at the beginning of recess way back in elementary school the boys would draw a large circle in the dirt with a stick. Then each kid that was playing would flex his muscles and take a marble bag outta his pocket staking out a spot just outside the circle. There would always be a few standing behind to watch all the action. Being a girl, my spot was a little further back. I remember standing there thinking there had to be a way to get a bag of marbles of my very own. My two little brothers, Pete and Carl, weren’t any help in the marble department. They were still pint-size dudes who woulda put them in their mouths if my mother even let them get near a marble. Now carpet fuzz was easily obtainable. It was a major food group with my baby brother Carl back then … and turns out is very digestible. There were marbles the boys on the playground called peewees, steelies, clearies (which was the same as a purie), cat’s-eye, rainbow, tiger and agate. I’m sure it has a name of its own, but my absolute favorite was the milky white with a navy swirl. Still is. The boys, they played for keeps, better known as keepsies. The first player put his knuckle down right behind the line while encircling his “shooter” with his index finger and thumb. Now I wasn’t so much interested in the how and why of the game. Spent the entire half of the third grade just watching the boys play and still didn’t know how the marbles changed hands. My whole thing was all those marbles were just so darn pretty. That brings me to the day I finally got my first. You know how things just fall into your lap. It was kinda like that. I had brought my knitting spool to school. Now if you have never heard of such an animal, it is basically an empty wooden spool with a fairly large center. After hammering four small nails on one end of the spool you shove the end of the yarn through the hole and twirl yarn around the outside of the four nails. After you have a top and bottom strand around the nails you use a knitting needle to take the bottom strand and pull it over the nail. Don’t forget to pull on the end of the yarn. That helps bring the knitted braid through the spool. Basically, you just keep going round and round that way and eventually wind up with a Guinness Book of World Records long knitted braid. “Hey, that looks like fun. Can I try?” said one of the boys with a large marble bag tied to his belt loop. “Sure, let me show you how. And it will only cost you one marble for ten minutes,” I said sweetly. It wasn’t long before I had boys lined up at recess wanting to knit on the spool. A week after that I invested in a marble bag. You see I played for keepsies. I told you I hadn’t lost all my marbles … at least not this week. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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