Brain Dropping #66
More Lost Games Of Brooklyn Before The Advent Of Electronic Zombieland.
– Pitching Pennies – An agreed upon number of pennies pitched against a wall or curb. The one with the closest penny collects the pot.
– Hit The Penny – A penny is placed on the intentional crack of a cement sidewalk square. The players stand on the edge of opposite squares and try to hit the penny with a rubber ball. Twenty is the usual winning score.
– Potsy – Our version of hop-skotch.
– Skelsey – A pool table layout is made with chalk on the concrete sidewalk with square ‘pockets’ from one to nine – nine being in the center of the square and divided into four segments. Instead of pool balls, loaded metal bottle caps, loaded meaning weighted with additional cork (no longer available), are shot with thumb and forefinger around the ‘table’ in numerical order, one chance at a time unless the bottle cap enters the correct pocket – that wins another turn. The bottle cap which makes the complete circuit becomes a ‘killer’ and can capture other bottle caps by hitting them.
– Chase The White Horse – Another brilliant version of tag. Players line up on the sidewalk. the ‘it’ kid stands in the gutter bent over with his backside facing the others. The first in line is the leader and begins the action by slapping the ‘it’ kid on the ass and yelling “Chase the white horse,” and taking off on the run with the others running in line, and the ‘it’ kid, after counting twenty, pursuing. When he catches the last in line that kid joins him as pursuer, and so on. But initially, the leader can fool the others on the curb with an inappropriate call, slapping the ‘it’ kid and yelling “Your mother wears army shoes!” and feinting a run to lure them off the sidewalk and into the gutter, which disqualifies any one who falls for it.
– Stoop or Wall Ball – Two teams of two or three or more each. This is another baseball variant played with a pink rubber ‘spalldeen’ ball. The defending team stands in the gutter. One of the team ‘up-at-bat’ throws the ball against the wall or stoop – if it’s caught on a fly it’s an out, if not the first bounce counts as a single, the second a double, the third a triple and the fourth a home run.
– Skipping Rope – Usually a girl’s game but also boys on occasion. Skipping Rope was always done to a rhyming chant: “Police man, policeman do your duty / here comes Betty an American beauty. She can wiggle she can waggle/ and do the split / but betcha any money she can’t do this.” Or: “A my name is Alice / my husband’s name is Al. / We come from Alabama / and we sell apricots.”- through the alphabet.
– Marbles or Brazil Nuts – Kids would build a fire on the asphalt at the curbstone to soften the tar, and with a shoe heel gouge a hole. From about five feet away a handfull of marbles, or, during Passover, Brazil nuts would be rolled toward the hole. If the following player matches the number in the hole he gets to keep the pot.
– Seasons – The year was divided into seasons for different games. Baseball card season, when the cards were flipped heads and tails to be matched by the next player who, if he succeeds keeps all the cards. Or making a packet of baseball cards by wrapping them with rubber bands and tossing them at a sidewalk crack a few feet away. Bets were made and the closest to the crack would collect.
– Scooters – Kids would divide a roller skate and nail each half on opposite ends of a four foot piece of two by four. A wooden orange crate nailed to one end made a precursor to skate boards which careened down the street in imitation of the aerial dog-fights we saw in war movies.