Now there hardly was a boy my age and slightly older that did not go through a period of intense marble playing.

There was one game (Game #1) where you would draw a circle in the dirt about 2 or 3 feet in diameter and you would place a certain number of marbles in the ring as a contribution to play, then we would draw a line in the dirt some distance from us and we would line up and try to see who could toss (lag) a marble so as to be the closest to the line – the winner then from that line or one further away would from the ground begin the process of tossing the marble to the circle where if you knocked a marble out of the ring and yours stayed in after impact you could continue to shoot until you failed. This process was repeated by all players until the last marble was shot out of the ring.

As we became better shots the distance between the lines lengthened and the rules further changed so that you could substitute steel ball bearings for marbles because a ball bearing would not roll as easily and you were more likely to get closer to the line as a result. The steel bearings became specialized because you would use one for "lagging" and then a big mother for going after the "pot" because when you tossed it at the ring of marbles you were likely to throw a number out of the ring which then became your booty.

The older boys were of course better shots as they had been at the game longer and there was one kid, Bobbie Lavin, who was the absolute champion shooter. He could shoot his marble into the air at great distances and would land right smack on top of the target and it would spin in its place. He would wipe us out. We tried to avoid playing with him because he was so good. I tried to emulate him playing marbles and eventually achieved similar success. One of the things he did which I will never forget is that he invited me into his room and pulled out from under his bed a Klim can full of marbles -- a regular treasure trove. I was in total awe!!

I have recently contacted Bob and he remembers the marbles and the fun of the game and he said he had two Klim cans of marbles which he eventually used as slingshot ammo.

(Game #2) -- Chase. In this game the objective was to chase someone's marble with your own and if you hit it, it became yours and that person was out of the game until it was over. This started out rather mild where we played in a designated area but again as we gained skill we covered as much ground as necessary to get away from an opponent who was after you. To avoid being hit by the aggressor's marble the game rules evolved so that when it was your turn to shoot, you could change your marble for any substitute you could shoot and in this case we started to replace our prized shooters with peewees which were about half the size of a regular marble -- thus harder to hit and if you knew that you were dead meat you would substitute your best shooter with a "dog" substitute.

If you placed a marble in a hot fire and then dropped it into a glass of water it would glaze with many fractures running through the glass and would significantly weaken the marble. I would use these marbles as contributor pieces and if they were struck hard by another marble they would shatter – tough luck!!

We played marbles from age 4 to about 6 or 7 before we moved on to Tops.

 

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