Playing 'marbles' at Manchester Elementary

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Re: Playing 'marbles' at Manchester Elementary

by Guest » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:08 am

We played marbles at Winchell Elementary in the early 60s. There were various "seasons" such as marble season, kite season, and yo-yo season. I had both a Duncan Imperial and Mardi Gras.

Re: Playing 'marbles' at Manchester Elementary

by Guest » Sat Aug 28, 2021 4:49 pm

Wow, you've brought back some great old memories for me! For the record, they had a rule at Manchester that you couldn't play for keepsies, but only for funzies. However, as your story reflects, that rule was often ignored when there was no teacher or playground monitor close by. Also, marbles playing was officially sanctioned by the school only during a 2 or 3 week "marbles season" each year, capped off by a tournament to determine who would be the school champion. My older brother came in second place one year.

Playing 'marbles' at Manchester Elementary

by Scott-o-Rama » Mon Aug 16, 2021 4:47 pm

Today’s kids have prolly never heard of the game of marbles, but up ‘til around 1961 it was a really big deal at Manchester School. Kids would bring their marbles to school in a pouch sack, and outside on the playground they’d draw a circle in the dirt about two feet in diameter -– then 2-4 kids would each put in about 5 marbles. Then, as in billiards, they would take turns “shooting” with their favorite marble – usually an “aggie” – from outside the circle trying to knock marbles out from inside the circle. You got to keep any marbles you knocked out of the circle, and so the best players had big marble sacks (a real status symbol, I recall) adding the ones they’d won to those they had bought.

Regular marbles – like “cateyes” and “puries” were made of glass and cost only about one or two cents each. The cooler looking “aggies”, on the other hand, were made of agate and cost a buck each. I remember you could save up your allowance and buy them from behind the sales counter at Youngsters children’s store in Manchester Center.

Many kids, mostly boys, would spend most of their playground time playing marbles. Most games were just good fun, but over time this marbles “culture” grew into not such a good thing. First of all, kids that age are prolly better off spending their playground time running, jumping, and doing sports so they can work off enough steam to be able to sit still in class for the rest of the school day.

But even worse, it grew into sort of a gambling game with rising stakes as kids started playing “aggies in”, where one could lose a few dollars in just one 10-minute game. One day when I was in the first grade some older kids bullied me into a game of aggies-in. I lost two aggies and rode my bike home humiliated and crying. My allowance at that time was 35 cents a week, and so for me that represented nearly 6 weeks income!

That summer they planted lawn all over that dirt playground, and that put an end to the marbles thing at Manchester School. I always wondered if they did that because the whole thing had become so sharky and unwholesome, or for some other reason. I also wondered if other schools in Fresno had had such an active marbles scene. Anybody know?