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.