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THE GAMES WE PLAYED.    6. Charms, the game. Charms, the people.   [4min read] 

Okay.  Enough of the blokey stuff.  Who played charms?  No, not who played with charms.  We’re talking serious competitive stuff here.

I was useless at charms.  Like Five Stones, the girls ruled supreme in a game of skill, not brawn.  To them, I was just easy pickings.  They probably sniggered when I came along.  “It’s old soft touch trying his luck again.”

So, one could buy the charms loose or get them in surprise packets which had a few small sugar sweets in the packet as an extra incentive to buy them.

The girls played their game on smooth cement surfaces.  Maybe also on firm sand.  Best places were outside school classrooms.  A ring was drawn on the cement – up to twelve inches across.

Standing several paces back, one tried to throw the charm into the ring.  If one missed the circle, one attempted to flick the charm, with a finger, into the ring.

I have asked a few friends how one really won at charms.  Few can remember what is now regarded as a “vintage” game.  A touch of Alzie’s?

Actually, it looks as if  the game that was a mystery to me about sixty-three years ago, is now a mystery to those who may have ripped me off so long ago by concocting the rules as they went along. It seems that the first person who  landed the charm in the ring was the winner of the other participants’ charms.

I was bad at marbles, and I was worse at charms and probably only played the game about three or four times.  The girls were far too good for me and always cleaned me out of the few charms that I had. I’m not even sure that I enjoyed the little sweets that came with the charms.

Most of the charms had a little ring attached for making necklaces on a string, bracelets and also crocheted doilies – another form of vintage handwork; like the game, and now, sadly, like those of us who actually played the game!

Do kids still play with charms?  Or has it all gone digital?  An iPad is nowhere near as good as playing the game of charms.  It was probably the first game that allowed one to check out the charm of the competitors.  Those were definitely my days of early stirrings!  Long may they last.


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