As a little boy, I watched in fascination, and not a little envy, when my aunts sat down to play Monopoly. Joan, Millie, and Gertie, usually with my mother and father joining them–and all that cool stuff going on: I used to poke around Grandpa’s house trying to find the Monopoly board, but could never guess where they’d put it.
I was used to kiddy games like Chutes and Ladders. But this game sounded all grown-up. Railroads! Houses and Hotels! And what exactly was that thing called “Community Chest”? And could that possibly be real money they were tossing around?
Eventually they bought a new Monopoly game and handed down the old game to my cousins, my brother and sister, and me. How intriguing it was, to study all those Rules and figure out how to play the game properly. Our reading comprehension still had some growing up to do, but I’m convinced it grew faster because we were so hot to play Monopoly and we just kept reading and re-reading those rules until we got them right. Or almost right.
Any of those adults could have taken over and taught us how to play, but some rare wisdom told them that it’d be a lot more fun for us if we doped it out for ourselves. It took us longer to learn the game that way, but so what? Working at it until we got it right was great!
I’m afraid that kind of wisdom’s even rarer, nowadays.
But I still love Monopoly, and I still have the game that Grandma gave me for Christmas, long ago. Complete with bills, rules, and cards scotch-taped together where necessary.