Tuesday, July 20, 2010


In May of 1991, Jerry and I stepped onto an airplane headed for Istanbul where Jerry was scheduled to spend the next eighteen to twenty-four months consulting with a Turkish-American company. We saw it as a big adverture, a wonderful thing coming our way at a time when our kids were all out on their own and we were free as birds.

We had done some traveling abroad and knew that those long hours in the air were not fun. Jerry in particular and men in general usually have no trouble at all sleeping through the entire 10, 12, 14 or 16 hours of the flight. I knew that I NEVER could sleep on an airplane, so I readied a goodie-bag with all kinds of possibilities - books, crossword puzzles, magazines, knitting projects, cross-stitch pieces, lined tablets for writing and the like. Better too much than too little, I thought.

A couple of days before we took off, daughter Bryn and our two little grandsons, Christopher and Andrew, came by to wish us bon voyage and gave us a going away gift. "The boys wanted you to have a Game Boy," Bryn said. Remember, this was back in the dark ages, and I had to have the boys show me how to work the dang thing. At that time, Tetris was the game of choice; I'm not even sure the Mario guys were around yet. Anyway, I got the short course and was told that this would entertain us while we were on the plane ride. Christopher added that I'd better play with the sound off, as it would drive the airplane passengers crazy.

They were right. I took ownership of that Game Boy while Jerry slept away and nothing in my goodie-bag even was touched. I had lots of passengers come by and ask me what I was doing; there were many who were as naive about electronic toys as I was. Oh my goodness, did I have fun.

The first six weeks in Istanbul were spent in a nice suite at the Hilton Hotel overlooking the Bosphorus while our apartment was being readied. Every morning I woke up to the sounds of Tetris being played by Jerry out on the patio. He was considerate in letting me sleep in, and he was assured of a good hour's worth of playing each morning. To this day when I hear the Tetris sound I am immediately taken back to that wonderful time in Turkey. During our twenty-some months there, not a day went by without one or both of us having a go at it!

By the time we got home the Mario brothers were around. Jerry stayed with Tetris and I moved on to SuperMarioland, coached not only by my grandchildren but also by son Garry, who also was a whiz at it. From time to time I added new games, but none ever was as fun as the ones we started with.

The Game Boy still sits on our end-table. Every grandchild who has ever come into our house since our return in 1993 has made a beeline for the aging game. It stopped working at one time and we found a fellow in Santa Ana who repaired it for us.

Now Olivia and Justine are the ones who always use it. Imagine, those little girls who are already far more proficient on electronic gadgets that either their grandma or their grandpa and who personally already have one of everything, -- imagine, that when they come here they always argue over who gets to play the Game Boy first. We've pretty much solved that problem by letting one play on the computer and the other on Game Boy, and then switching.

On occasion, if I have time to kill while monitoring something cooking on the stove I'll grab that toy and give it a few whirls. It has served us well. In almost twenty years it has only broken down that one time. It, like the Energizer Bunny, is still going on and on.... In all my downsizing efforts I have never considered sending it down to the thrift shop with the other old stuff. Nope, that's one antique that I'll have a hard time parting with, even if (when) it stops working again.


Stacey said...

We LOVED our game boys and I can't believe that was 20 years ago...oh boy...makes me feel old. In 2 years is my 20 year reunion!! Tetris is still one of my favorite games to play. :o) love ya grandma!!!!

Olga said...

I have never gotten the hang of any kind of digital game--no eye to hand coordination. I can't use chop sticks either! My grand children ask me to play a game just so they can laugh hysterically at how poorly I perform.