Memory Lane: Bowling at Home

Image result for images of old toy bowling set

On dreary, rainy days, like the ones we’ve been having here, the past two weeks, my brother, my sister and I used to go bowling–in the cellar.

We had the ball and the pins, which you weighted by filling them with water. If you didn’t fill the ball just right, the water sloshed around inside of it and made it do strange things when you released it.

We had a ready-made lane in our cellar, between the wall on one hand and the furnace and hot water heater on the other. So as the ball wandered down the alley, bumping into one or the other barriers would return it to its intended course. And there was a plastic sheet to guide us in setting up the pins–if we were able to knock them down.

We never did learn how to keep a proper bowling score, but at least we could count the pins that we knocked over. And the ball made a pleasant sloshing sound as it meandered down the cement floor. The pins made a dull thud when you hit them: not at all like the satisfying “ka-pocka!” they made when you hit them in a real bowling alley. But this one was our own personal bowling alley, and we were mighty glad to have it.

Years later my father bought a wooden pool table, which soon warped just enough to make a straight shot impossible. Really, water-filled bowling was a lot cheaper and much more fun. Even if my sister had to use both hands to roll the ball: the price she paid for being the youngest.

I think we’d all be very pleased if we could somehow play it again, Sam.

3 comments on “Memory Lane: Bowling at Home

  1. Sounds like fun 🙂

    When we were children (2 sisters, a brother, and myself), my dad used to bring home small vials of liquid mercury for us to play with on the basement floor. Yes, I know. It’s toxic. But we didn’t know it then, and neither did dad. And none of us seem to have any ill effects from it. So, we did have fun. It would separate into small pools or little drops and we could roll or push it all around the floor and watch as it would come back together into one big drop. You’d never know it had just been separated into lots of little drops. Plus, it was really neat to use it to coat pennies to look like silver.

    1. Who didn’t used to play with mercury back then, when they got the chance? Although my father had a very dim view of mercury batteries–which made a frightful mess when they leaked, which they sometimes did–and got our Uncle Ferdie the inventor to turn our battery-powered tape recorder into one powered by a home-made power pack that you had to plug in.

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