Marbles/Mumblety Peg

    We would dig out a pit at the rear of the grade school near the bottom of the fire escape.  The pit would be about four inches in diameter and maybe two-three inches deep.  Just right for the amount of marbles we would expect to be placed there at any one time.  Anyway, I guess we would place the ante amount of marbles in the pit, then from a distance of six to eight feet, one at a time toss our shooters/steelies and try to have them end up in the pit.  Winner gets the marbles.  In the other game we would draw a circle, 2-3 inches in diameter, in the dust.  The ante would go in the middle.  Then we would take turns trying to knock those marbles out of the circle with our shooters.   Maybe that's why I don't remember much, as I probably didn't win much.

The game was played at 421 Oak Street, also.

Bob - Spring of 1952Peter - Spring of 1952Peter wins the marble pot.

John - Jack - Dick -- Mumblety Peg    A much better game was mumblety-peg.  As the teachers didn't care for it, we played at the far South end of the play ground,  near a tree.  Don't think there was any prize for winning, but it felt good to be able to (jump the fence) or (through the hole) or (off the forehead) or pert near anything thing else we could think up.


    Horseshoe pitching is usually played by two or four players. When two play, they pitch from one pitching box, 6 ft. square, in the centre of which is an iron or steel stake 1in. in diameter extending 14 in. from the surface and inclined 3 in. toward the opposite stake 40 ft. away ( 30 ft. for women and juniors).
    After both players have pitched two shoes each (an inning), they walk to the opposite box and pitch from it. When four play, each pair of partners pitches from opposite boxes. Singles are played to a winning score of 50, doubles to 21.
    After all shoes have been pitched in an inning, scoring is as follows: one point for each shoe closer than an opponent's if the shoe is six inches or closer to the stake; three points for each ringer (shoe enclosing the stake); four points for ringer and closest shoe. If shoes are equally distant or if opponents have the same number of ringers, these are considered ties and no points are scored. A leaning shoe has no value over one touching the stake.
    Horseshoes designed for pitching weigh 2 1/2 lb., are 7 5/8 in.  long, 7 in. wide at the greatest width, with a 3 1/2 in. space between the calks, as the small toes at each open end are called.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume 11, page 726, 1972 -

    I was wondering why I chose to save the following book when we closed up the house!  Look what a little research,  (and some time to think things out), can do...

From Mom’s Bookcase
The Fun Encyclopedia
Pages 822-824, 183, 165
E. O. Harbin
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press 1940


    Holding steady.--A circle about eight feet in diameter.  A dozen or more marbles are bunched at center.  Players may shoot their marbles at a line to determine the order of playing.  The nearest to the line is first, the next nearest second, and so on.  In shooting players must hold their hands to the ground either on or outside the circle..  The shot must be made without the hand being moved from that position.  The idea is to knock the marbles outside the circle.  Each one so struck is a point.  If a player hits a marble and knocks it out he continues shooting.  A favorite trick is to knock a marble out at such an angle that the taw, or shooting marble, rides to a position within the circle near to another marble.  If a player's taw stays in the circle, after knocking out a marble, he shoots from where it stops.  As soon as a player fails to knock out a marble, he loses his turn and the next player shoots.

    Hunching Boston.--A circle about ten feet or more in diameter is used.  The players usually use heavy taws to shoot.  They are allowed to shoot from the ground or standing and they may hunch or move the hand as much as they please as they shoot.  This motion of the hand as the marble is delivered gives it greater force.  The same rules, otherwise, obtain as in "Holding Steady.”

    Fats.--Anywhere from five to ten marbles are put in the center of a small circle about fourteen inches in diameter.  Sometimes one or more marbles are placed for each player in the game.  There is a dead line three feet from the circle.  The shooting line is from ten to fifteen feet away from the circle.  A player’s first shot must not hit the ground on his side of t he deadline.  In all other respects the game is the same as “Cincy,” except that any player, whose marble rests completely within the circle, is in “fats” and is eliminated from the game.  All marbles he has gained must be put back in the circle when a player is thus eliminated.

    Chasers.--Ground limits are determined.  The first player shoots his marble, and the others follow in turn.  When a player hits another marble that player is out of the game.  The player who hits is permitted to shoot again until he misses.  The players try to keep out of one another's way so as not to be “killed,” and at the same time they try to keep in position to hit some other player.  The game continues until only one player remains.

    Picking plums.--Two straight lines are drawn parallel to one another, from four to eight feet apart.  Each player places two or three marbles on the far line.  These are the “plums.”  They are about one or two inches apart, depending on the skill of the shooters.  The players knuckle down as in “Holding Steady!” on the near line and shoot, in turn.  The marbles knocked off the line are taken by the shooter.  But he is not allowed to shoot again until the next round.  If a player fails to hit a  "plum” he must place a marble on the line, adding it to the row.  When all “plums” have been picked, players get one point for each marble or “plum” in their possession.


    Marble golf (“Knucks”).--Three holes or more, four or five inches in diameter, are dug in the ground.  The distance between them is about eight or ten feet.  They may be in a straight line or not as desired.  The starting line is five or six feet from the first hole.  One player starts by “knuckling down” at the starting line and shooting at Hole Number 1.  If he makes good by going into this hole he plays for hole Number 2, and so on until he has come back to Hole Number 1.  When he fails to hole his marble the next player starts.  If a player hits an opponent’s marble he gets an extra shot.  If a player holes his marble and another player’s marble is near the rim of the hole ready to go in at the next shot, he may hit his opponent’s marble, driving it away, before proceeding to the next hole.  Some players acquire great skill in playing an opponent’s marble, so that they can use it for several consecutive shots.  In playing out of a hole players must knuckle with the hand at the rim of the hole from which the play is made or they may be allowed one hand’s span from the rim.   The last player out must hold his clenched fist, knuckles up, at the rim of Hole Number 1 while each of the others players, in turn, plumps his marble at him, trying to hit his knuckles.  Three shots are allowed at the knuckles.


    Mumblety-peg.--This ancient game is played on soft turf.  A pocketknife is used.  The knife must stick in the earth, being thrown from various successive positions, as follows: (1) The knife, small blade open, is held in the palm, first of the right and then of the left hand, point up toward the thumb.  The player brings the hand up and over toward the body, turning it so that the back of the hand is toward the body, with thumb and knife point down.  (2) The knife rests successively on the right and left fist, point upward, and thrown sideways.  (3) The point is pressed against each finger and thumb in succession, and cast outward.  (4) After this it is held by the point and flipped from the breast, nose, cheeks, eyes, and forehead.  (5) From each ear, arms crossed, and taking hold of opposite ear with the free hand.  (6) Over the head backward.  (7) Holding point downward and dropping through circle made by thumb and forefinger of free hand.  (8) Tossing knife into the air and tipping the handle up with the finger to give it an end-over-end motion.  (9) Putting free hand down as a barrier and placing the knife at a slant, point touching the turf.  Flip knife over barrier and make it stick on the opposite side.  (10) The blade between the first and second fingers of one hand while the handle is between the same fingers on the other hand.  Flip blade over and make it stick.  (11) Point of blade held between forefinger and thumb.  With a sweeping motion the player hits the turf with his hand, releasing the knife as he does it.  If the knife does not stick, the next player takes his turn.  The first to conclude the series wins.  The winner is given six blows of the knife handle to drive a match peg into the ground, three with eyes shut and three with eyes open.  The loser must extract the peg from the earth with his teeth.

Fox And Geese (Wheel tag)

Fox and Geese layout.
    Fox and geese (Wheel tag).--This game is especially good in the snow.  Clear off paths on a level surface like spokes in a wheel.  See illustration.  Or mark off the wheel on the ground with lime, using a liner.  The game can also be played indoors by using chairs and string to mark the spokes of the wheel.  The center, where the paths cross, is the goal.  There may be more than one circle, one outside the other.

    The player who is the fox chases the others, trying to tag someone.  If he succeeds that player becomes the fox.  No player must run out of the paths.  Failure to observe this rule means that the offending player becomes the fox.  The geese may jump across from one path to another, but the fox cannot.  Neither can the fox tag a goose across the paths.  Any goose who occupies the center is safe.  However, only one goose is safe at a time.  The last one up takes possession and all of the others must leave or be tagged.

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