Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Marbles galore

Marbles fascinate me. I think they are the coolest thing in the world. As a child, I would closely inspect marbles and marvel at each one. I wondered how they were made. I still wonder about this today. I am particularly intrigued by the classic cat’s eye. Although the information is just a click away on Google, I’m not that eager to find it out. I want to keep my childlike wonder.

Growing up at a time when children mostly played outdoors with things likes rubber bands, smoothened sticks and branches, flattened bottle caps, folded empty cigarette packs, and yes, marbles, I played a lot with these cheapie toys with children in the neighbourhood. Marbles were among our staple playthings. I was able to build up my meager stock until I had enough to fill a Milo can with my winnings. I kept that can for a long time. That was until we had a homemade pool table in our garage and, to my disgust, my marbles were snagged from my can to serve as mini-billiard balls. I lost ownership of the marbles, and then I lost them altogether. I had fun at the pool table, all right.

Eventually, I would outgrow my marble years. But my attachment to marbles would resurface every now and then in rather vague ways. Like, I would suddenly sense a warm, fuzzy feeling at the sight of certain colours or colour combinations, which could be on any object. Then I would realize it was because they looked so much like the marble colours of my childhood. One time, I bought a polo shirt on impulse for then 9-year-old Mickey. Kulay holen!

Sometimes I wish my boys had enjoyed marble games like my generation did. I feel like they missed out on this one (although I only allowed marbles back into the house when my youngest was already big enough not to put them in his mouth.)

Today, I have a jar and a bag of marbles at home. I couldn’t resist buying some really pretty ones from a tourist shop in Bowen Island and also from Toys R Us. The bag of marbles was a Christmas gift from Markus. He knows what Mom likes.

A few years ago, I tried to invent an indoor game of marbles on the carpet floor so my boys could experience flicking those little glass balls with their thumb. To them, it was a novelty. They were initially awkward at it, sometimes they still are. But I think playing with marbles gave them a different, perhaps archaic, kind of fun.

I'm not sure if I'm going to start a big collection of marbles, but I am not about to lose the ones I already have. After all, you don't like losing your marbles!!

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