Sunday, June 19, 2011
I didn't forget about Folk Toy Fridays, this week, I just delayed it, so I could make some marbles with the children, as a way of sharing a story with them about my father, on Father's Day.
He died when I was nine, so I don't have a lot of stories to share, but I do know he loved to whistle, loved to fish, and when he was a child, he loved to play marbles.
Apparently, he was pretty good at the game, too. According to my aunt, he used to skip class, so he could stay out for recess, to play marbles with the older boys.
My grandparents didn't approve of the truancy, and they didn't approve of gambling. So, when they found out he was playing keepsies, they insisted he return the marbles he had won.
Rather than suffer the embarrassment of having to return his winnings to the older boys, he buried them in the flower beds around his house.
I'm not sure how accurate the story is, but I do know, my mother, who bought the house in later years, has a jar full of marbles, that surfaced one by one, over the years, around her flowers.
Someday, she plans to dole them out to the grandchildren. In the meantime, we made a set of our own, to play with now.
Being a child of the '30s, my father played with the traditional glass marbles, you can buy today. But, long before 19th century, German glass makers invented marble scissors, for molding glass into balls (there's a Dirty Jobs episode about the process, you can view here, on the Discovery Channel), marbles were made of many different things, including clay.
In fact, you can make pretty nice marbles for yourself out of baked polymer clay. Unfortunately, all but a tiny bit of our polymer clay decided to be non-cooperative...
...so we had to use play dough instead...
...which of course cracked when we baked it (I put them in the oven at the lowest setting for a couple of hours until they were dry). The few polymer clay marbles we managed to make, turned out nicely, though.
The children had a great time mixing the play dough colors, and seeing how they swirled, and blended together, as they rolled them into balls. It was really a lot of fun. And, it made for a great backdrop for the story I wanted to share with them, about my father.
Today, we gathered up our marbles, cracks and all, and enjoyed a few rousing rounds of Ringer.
It's great to be a homeschooler.