“All By Myself”


One sentence never uttered by any of us children to our mother was “I’m bored.”I’m not sure if it was the 1950’s or my particular family, but we never thought our parents had any duty to amuse us. When we were bored, as we often were, we first turned to each other for playing outdoors or games indoors. Then we would figure out how to walk over to a friend’s house. (No parents drove any kid anywhere to play.) But if that failed and we were out of books to read and homework to complete, we had to resort to solitaire.

I actually was given a great book of solitaire games and worked my way through most of the book. Later I bought the volume shown above, adding more possibilities for rainy(most of the year in Portland)boring afternoons. I was intrigued by the alternate name for solitaire games–patience. While I guess this is the British name for this kind of card game, it also appropriately fit what I needed for some of the games. With the books and a deck of cards, I could always fill spare time.

Today many solitaire games are available as apps for computers. In fact my computer came equipped with one. They do speed things up by distributing the cards, reshuffling them and keeping score. Still when I play them I miss the feel of the cards and the immense satisfaction of winning a round at last.

What never occurred to me in my childhood was turning to television at boring times. We did own one which stayed in my parents’ bedroom. We gathered to watch it together for the Ed Sullivan Show and the Wonderful World of Disney. But I had spent the first part of my life without one and it was never part of my routine. And even today I rarely think of tv when I need to fill spare time.

18 thoughts on ““All By Myself”

  1. I remember complaining to my mom “there’s nothing to do,” and the answer was inevitably “I’ll give you something to do”, which meant housework. We always managed to find something to do after that. ☺


  2. We used to play card games like Donkey 🙂 Bank and Canasta. We used to enjoy during them summer vacations. But now it has been ages since I have played them and forgotten them too. I love reading your posts.


  3. It is amazing how things have changed. Kids say they’re bored as a means of getting their parents” attention. Maybe parents are raising entitled kids these days.On the other hand, it is more likely that kids are just being lazy because of all the gadgets around them The electronics can potentially numb their creativity. They really could come up with their own ideas if tv and internet were not so readily available.


    1. My daughter believes that those devices kill imagination. It takes imagination to dream up ways to deal with boredom. My daughter posted a list of ideas called “what to do when you’re bored” to get her kids moving.


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