Somewhere around the time I was 6 or 7 I received Hoyle’s Rules of Games as a gift from my grandparents. It looked much like the photo above (I can’t find my copy now—I’m pretty sure I gave it away several years ago). I can remember leafing through it from time to time in my youth, occasionally picking out a new card game to learn.
One that Amy and I taught ourselves sometime in the middle 70s was two-handed canasta. It requires two decks, plus jokers; we used cards that Mom had stored in an end table in the living room (I can still picture the patterns on their backs: vertical stripes of varying widths, one deck aqua-ish, the other orange-red). Sis and I competed quite a bit over canasta through several years—my recollection is that it was a common rainy-day activity. In my first years with Martha, she and I played a somewhat similar game she had learned from her parents, called hand-and-foot.
It seems a tad unlikely that we started on this as early as spring 75, but it’s not impossible. When I think back on mid-to-late spring days full of showers, I sometimes travel in my head to when I was 11, and I can almost visualize a scene from our living room where we’re furiously melding cards and scrambling for our “pure” canastas when the polish of Paul Carrack singing Ace’s “How Long” (#19 here, heading toward #3) comes on the radio. Or is it about the same time of year in 82, when Rod Stewart’s (inferior) remake was struggling toward #49? Okay, even if we probably done with cards by then, it is so easy to commingle snippets of memory. Most likely it was somewhere in between.
It’d be awesome to shuffle those 108 cards together and do battle with Amy once more, though.