Being a teenage with a nameless dragon in me head was not an easy thing. There was lots of depression, anger, frustration, unreasonable mood swings, etc. But it was not all bad. I have great parents who are interested in what their children are doing and who their friends are. So they could do both of those things (without cell phones and internet) our house became party central.
What the Heck Parties
A lot of people think that there must be a reason to have a party. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays, special occasions, etc., are not necessary for a good party. Our attitude was what the heck, let’s have a party. As a teenager I could ask my parents, “Can we have a party?” They would usually respond with, “Why not.” And began our reputation as party central.
It’s Friday. The school bell rings and children rush out of the classroom door heading for some weekend fun. As I walk across campus I have several friends ask, “Can we have a party at your house tonight?” My response, “I’ll have to ask my mom. I’ll call you.” When I got home from school, while having a snack, I would ask my mom, “So-n-so, So-n-so and So-n-so want to know if we can have a party here tonight?” Most times my mother would say, “Yes, but they need to bring some snacks.” I start making phone calls and within an hour we are having a party with 8-12 people at 8pm.
A good party doesn’t just happen, it takes preparation. First, all my chores had to be completed (e.g, picking up, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, etc.) I didn’t mind so much because, “I was having a party!” Then, of course, games had to be chosen. Once the games had been decided on supplies were gathered. After dinner, if I didn’t have dishes, I would be required to help the younger children get to be bathed and ready for bed.
It is now 8pm and my friends start arriving. They come bearing the required snacks: M&Ms, cookies, soda, chips, etc. Food is set up on the kitchen table to be munched on throughout the evening. Now, let’s get the party started!
When people think of party games they don’t usually think about the kinds of games that we played. My mother taught us a lot of fun games that generated a lot of silliness, memory, physical and mental agility and laughter. Here are 3 of our favorite games.
This was played at every party. It is a violent game that requires you to hit people with a rolled up newspaper. Adult referees are suggested, but there will be bruising. Here are the rules:
- Everyone sits in a circle on the floor with about one body space between them.
- Everyone chooses a state that will be their name for the duration of the game (no duplicates allowed and first called gets it).
- The person who is “it” stands in the middle of the circle with the rolled up newspaper.
- The person who starts the game stands up, calls out one of the states that has been chosen and sits down.
- The person who has been called must call out another state before they get hit by the person in the middle. If they call out their own state, they will be hit. If they call out a state not in the circle, they will be hit. If the person in the middle is faster than they can call out the state they will be hit.
- The calling of states continues until someone is hit. The person who is hit takes the newspaper and goes to the middle of the circle. The person from the circle takes the spot just vacated by the new person in the middle. Before they sit down the must call out a state (see #5).
- The game continues until the participants are tired, become overly violent or the adult referee has had enough.
Pass the Orange
This game requires physical contact. Boy-girl placement is preferrable, but not required.
- Everyone stands in a circle
- A whole orange is handed to the starting person
- This person places the orange under their chin and attempts to pass it to the next person
- The next person in line must take the orange using their chin – no hands allowed!
- The orange is then passed around the circle from chin to chin until it returns to the first person.
- If dropped, the orange is placed under the chin of the person who dropped it and the game continues.
This is a game that is familiar to many. It is loud and can, upon occasion, become violent as people wrestle for spoons. You will need a set of four playing cards for each person in the circle.
- Everyone sits on the floor in a circle (we used to play at the table until my parents broke ours in half during a game with their friends)
- Place spoons in the middle of the circle (one less spoon that people)
- The starting person shuffles the cards and deals 4 cards to each person in the circle (do not show them to anyone)
- When the dealer says “pass” each person puts a card face down on the floor and slides it to the person on their left.
- Each person picks up the card in front of them and decides whether or not to keep the card.
- Steps 4 & 5 are repeated until someone in the circle has 4 of the same card.
- When someone gets 4 of the same card they are to grab a spoon. (if you can do so unnoticed it is best)
- When you see a person grab a spoon you grab one too. This is where the fighting can occur as sometimes two people grab the same spoon. (Warning: do NOT use plastic spoons as they will break)
- The person without a spoon is eliminated from the game. They take one set of cards and one spoon and cheer on the other players.
- The game continues until only one player remains.
To Be Continued . . .
We have more than 15 games in our party repertoire so I will share them a few at a time. We never had any alcohol or other substances brought to our parties. It would not have been tolerated. It was just a night of good, clean, loud fun. Needless to say, my parents usually threw everyone out around midnight.
Party on my friends!
Author’s Note: I don’t want this blog to become a depressing journey through the unrelenting darkness of mental illness so I will share the fun times that lit up my darkness.