Old Maid

Old Maid CardsChapter 24 of Jo Ann Bock’s book, Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years is entitled Games, Games, and More Games.

Even before those Monopoly-dominated years of the 1940s, I spent my earliest years playing card games like Old Maid, (today the game would be politically incorrect, giving way to an updated title such as Career Girl or Miss Independence),” she wrote.

A trip to the sock drawer

Old Maid Cards 2That reminded me that I had a bunch of old playing cards in the back of my sock drawer. My sock drawer is the repository for miscellaneous old heirlooms that don’t fit any other place. There is plenty of room because this is Florida where socks aren’t a big priority.

I showed the cards to Wife Lila: “Do you know what card game these are for?”

“Old Maid, [dummy].” The “dummy” part was unstated, but clearly implied. “They came in pairs except for the Old Maid. The person holding the Old Maid was the loser.”

Not much of a card player

Old Maid Cards 4I never was much of a game player. I dismiss board games as bored games and nearly got drummed out of the newspaper business when it became known that I never learned how to play poker.

Dad and I spent many an hour in the basement playing gin rummy and canasta, but I think it was mostly so he could win back my allowance. I might be able to pick up gin rummy again, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten all the arcane rules of canasta.

 Around the Town

Old Maid Cards 5Where’s the Old Maid, you ask? She either dried up and blew away or she ran off with one of the odd socks that’s missing from my sock drawer.

6 Replies to “Old Maid”

  1. I had this game as a kid and the old maid was a real OLD MAID and you knew why she was. Probably totally NOT PC but a fun game for kids in the evening or on a rainy day. I can remember playing this my older cousins and constantly getting the old maid. Later I found out the Old Maid card was folded on one corner and all the older kids knew it and so lost every time! I think it became a right of passage when you figured out or were told about the folded corner.
    Of course as we all aged the older cousins were not around and THEN I was king of Old Maid for several year, until the cousin figured it out too…ah childhood in the 1950’s and 60’s, Thanka for bringing back a memory or two.

    1. This is the exact Old Maid game I’ve been looking for. Does anyone know how or where I can get a copy of this? I remember playing it with my kids. We especially remember the character “Lulu Tutu”.

      1. I don’t know where you can get this vintage today. I didn’t have a complete set left when I did this blog post. I may have already given it to the Cape Girardeau County History Center, but I can’t remember for sure.

  2. It has probably been 55 years since I’ve seen these cards. I had forgotten the game existed. I believe it was canasta that I played with girlfriends in high school. For the most part, I couldn’t sit in one place long enough to play inside games, but somehow could stay still to read. Go figure!

  3. To whom it may concern. My name is Letitia Clark.I live in Amarillo Tx. My husband and I was taking down my son’s mirror in his bedroom and found a playing card of Banjo Ben.i didn’t know what the card was I never saw it.it looks old and in good condition.do you know what it my be worth.my home was built in 1946.the wall paper is about that old that was behind the mirror.

    1. It WAS an Old Maid card. If you find out it’s worth money, let ME know. I played with my set in early grade school days, so that would make it date back to about 1952.

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