Thursday, February 12, 2009


Firefox asked what kind of games we played as children In Sweden. I had two older siblings and like a pest I tried to get into their games before I was old enough. The earliest I remember was hiding the thimble in our livingroom. We were compelled to play in the living room beause in the winters it was the only warm room in the house. In the corner of the room stood our 'fire place' . It was an enclosed square ceramic item with a door near the top where you added wood or sometimes coal or coak and with a door near the bottom from where you could remove the ashes. On a really cold day, or evening when the fire was really high in the 'kakel ungn' we were allouud to make a slice of toast for ourselves. We were given a long metal fork which we stuck into a fairly thick slice of bread and then we opened the upper door, stuck the fork carefully into the 'ungn' and watched the bread slowly turned brown. Each of us had a catastrophy at one time or other and the bread fell down into the fire and we lost our treat. I can still feel the agony of your hand getting scorched from being too close to the heat source.

I think FireFox was asking about card games and such and I remember playing many of those. It aided in our learning how to add quickly and the older children would usually clean up. Being younger and less math knowing was a lesson in keeping your temper when losing time after time. Grand father who was nearly ninety always wanted to play checkers and he loved playing with the younger of us for then he won constantly. It was good for us to have been introduced to the game early. We played Casino and Gin and my sister and I learned how to play a game that resembles Bridge. It was called Priffe and we had to sit in occasionally in a club my Mother belonged to.

I have already told you about the games we played out side in summer time. We would go down to the shore and hunt for pebbles and rocks with holes. Depending on their size we would make them into farm animals and with a stick we would draw farms and barns in the dirt on a path that would be the less trodden one. We would tether the animals when they were out in the grass. I remember having one midsize ' bird ' And I thought my stone was a jewel of some kind for it had beautiful colorful sections. When I had him outside he woulld be tethered. We would play the same game when we found chestnuts in the autumn. We did not own a chest nut tree but we would find many just on our way to the grocery store or the dairy.

The best game of all was arranging a house out of the pile of wreckage from foundered ships or boats that our uncle gave us permission to play in. He would amass all the wreckage on the heath north of our village. Now I realize how dangerous it could have been. One keel, disturbed and unsettled could have killed a couple of us if we made it fall. And the food we ate in our 'house' could have killed us too. We ate raw kale leaves and chicken food mixed with water, pretending it was 'bread and butter.'

Thank you Fire Fox for asking. I have had a fun afternoon thinking about all this. But the dangers were many. When Mother wanted to heat another room she would take a shovel full of embers from one ungn to another in a different room and it would be the starter of the next fire. She could have dropped an ember and we would have been either dead or homeless.


Joanna said...

Your burning embers story reminded me of something from my childhood...

We used to keep kerosene in squirt bottles (old dish soap bottles, for example) next to the fireplace. When we'd go to start a fire, we'd start some paper and kindling under the logs and if it didn't really start to catch, we'd squirt some kerosene on it. 'Worked like a charm. I was 10 or 12 and would frequently be doing this on my own. We never thought that the kerosene my ignite and burn us up. We used to ride in the back of the pick-up on the highway as well. No car seat nothin'. Heh. Can you imagine doing something like that in this day and age?

Anonymous said...

Your stories sound as though you had a lot more fun than most children are allowed to have now.

Alison said...

Thank you very much for your reply! It is very interesting to learn about things from another country. I especially like the idea that some of those childhood games may have been passed on to the next generation!