Marbles aren’t just for kids!

My 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest entry is here.

(Pre-script: Happy 10-year anniversary of graduating UMass Amherst to me!)

Words on Paper

Tuesdays in Blog Me MAYbe are themed “May I tell you something about myself?” One of my hobbies, since childhood, is collecting marbles. My collection isn’t that huge, but it’s bigger than those of the average person who only sees marbles as a children’s toy. To this day, I mourn the couple of marbles who fell into the interior of my family’s red ’84 Honda and couldn’t be pulled out.

As if any more evidence were needed that I was a weird kid, I actually named my marbles and played games with them, like pretending they were characters in a story and doing actions. I only remember a handful of the names I gave them—Minnie (the biggest marble in my collection back then), Peaches and Cream, Herb, and Simon. Maybe there was one called Milky Way? Minnie was the little marbles’ teacher, since she was the biggest one.

Over the years, I’ve also picked up some marbles I randomly found. A number of the marbles I found come from the grounds of the house my family moved into when we moved back to New York in February ’03. Apparently the previous owners’ kids liked marbles too, and weren’t as careful about taking care of their marbles as I was.

Here are some pictures of my marbles. I have other sets of marbles I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of, and haven’t gathered together all my stray marbles for one group picture.

I bought these at some gift shop of a museum in the Berkshires, maybe around 2000.

This is the tin I’ve kept my first set of marbles in all these years, since before I can remember.  It was made in Peru. The tin also contains some jacks, little rubber balls, and other things. They’re kept in a Raggedy Ann drawstring bag, also dating from the early Eighties.

My original gang, minus the few who were lost in the old car. They’re not as fancy or diverse as the other marbles from Massachusetts. Someday I want to diversify even more and get marbles of much larger and smaller sizes (such as doll-sized marbles), different materials (like clay marbles from the Civil War era), and different colors of agate.

Connection to my writing: Along the way of writing him, I made one of my Shoah characters, Isaiah von Hinderburg (separated big brother of Lazarus and Malchen), a marble collector as well. Isaiah is very proud of his marble collection, and when he and his friends go back to their homes under cover of darkness to collect some important possessions after going into hiding, he makes sure to get his marbles. Isaiah is also a fellow numismatist and philatelist, and also takes his coins and stamps into hiding.

Isaiah is one of the two people in his group of seven who isn’t caught in November ’43, and he escapes into the underground tunnels of Holland and eventually Belgium. When he’s liberated by the Canadians in September of ’44, he still has his beautiful, extensive marble collection.

5 thoughts on “Marbles aren’t just for kids!

  1. I love that you have so many things from the 80s! I squealed when I read about the Raggedy Ann drawstring bag. I remember having that doll, she had yarn for hair and she sat on the shelf in my room, next to my Curious George stuffed animal! (My sister had Andy!) One thing I never had though was marbles-my mother was always scared I would swallow them. (This was also her reason for not letting me have rock candy for fear I would choke *smh*) As for stamps and coins though, I did have those. I still have them somewhere in the house, I think in a closet somewhere. I should pull them out sometime…


    • I think I was collecting marbles even before I got into coins and stamps. My lifelong fascination with them, and eventually moving into being a collector, was probably set by how early I was introduced to them.


  2. This is so funny b/c my daughter just got a few marbles in a treat bag on Sat from a bday party & I thought about my marble collection as a kid & how we should start her one:) Very cool!


Share your thoughts respectfully

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s