“Do you have any Twains?” As a child in the 1950s I played cards. My neighbors David and Kathleen Biddison taught me poker. My grandmother, Mary Cummins taught me Pitch and Canasta. Poker speaks for itself, but Pitch, Canasta, and Authors are relatively unheard of in American families these days.
Pitch uses a standard 52-card deck and deals with taking tricks. It involves bidding and capturing cards to accumulate points. Canasta is a card game like rummy. It can be played for two, three, five or six players. Two standard decks of cards are used. I would play Canasta and Pitch with Grandma for hours. Cards were against my father’s religion . . . whatever that meant. I don’t recall ever playing cards with my mom or her twin sister, which is a shame. I used to play rummy with my kids when we went camping. They would howl in outrage when I laid down runs instead of pairs (a sin in the Harrington card universe). I would just laugh at their irritation and frustration as they learned about real life.
“Authors is a classic card game dating back to 1861. The Authors deck contains 52 cards featuring color portraits of 13 honored writers, with lists of their four greatest literary works. Still played today as it was originally, the Authors Card Game is played with these 13 books of 4 cards each. The object is to collect complete books by calling for cards from other players. The authors featured include: Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, William Thackeray, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Longfellow, Sir Walter Scott, Alfred Tennyson, Louisa May Alcott, and Edgar Allan Poe. The cards also have standard indices in both upper and lower corners. So the Authors deck can also be used for many traditional card games.” – usgamesinc.com/Authors-Card-Game.html
With the game Authors, which is played like the card game Fish, I would have played that with David and Kathleen or my cousin Lindy, but mostly I think I played Authors by myself. I remember handling the cards and reading the cards and through the years I read works by all of the authors.
Louisa May Alcott was the only woman author in a deck stacked with men. She wrote in the period following our Civil War. She told family centric stories in Little Women, Little Men and their sequels. In a modern version of Authors there would be more women.
I remember looking at the faces of the famous authors on the cards . . . and even running my finger along the book titles they wrote. I don’t know that I ever dreamed of being an author, but I do recall telling and sharing stories of films I had seen and books I had read to my friends. Eventually, my wife and I co-wrote three published books. I’m still a reader and my wife remains a voracious reader . . . devouring books at a steady clip. Like me, she was a player of the game Authors as a child.
Perhaps, we need new editions of Authors for today’s world . . . perhaps even broken down by genre . . . Science Fiction Authors, Romance Novel Authors , Action Novel Authors, and move into inspirational achievement for a new world with Scientists Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Authors . . . and Mathematical Theory Authors. These new book sets might inspire a new generation of readers, thinkers, and writers. It could be a pat hand.