I was a big Skelly player. I used to play Skelly all the time as a kid growing up in Da Bronx,Bruckner Blvd to be exact. In the late 60’s & early 70’s. Then in the mid 70’s we moved to Pomonok Housing in Queens where I continued to play. I’ve used almost every top imaginable. Pop off and twist off soda tops,glass rings from the bottles…etc. I had a top for every situation.I even used the plastic covers from coffee cans,I’m talking the 3 lb and 5 lb cans. You had to see the looks on the other kids faces and the fights when I took one of those out. One of my favorite tops was the white plastic pop tops you used to get from the prescription medicine pill bottle. In the days before child proof caps. Another favorite was the desk and chair gliders from school.The secret to a good top was the weight. The large tops were good for blasting the other kids tops into the next neighborhood but for normal game play you needed a top that was as low to the ground as possible and heavy. 95% of the time when people tried to blast me,they would just wind up flying right over the top of my cap and chasing there top down the block. My secret to making a good top ( since my days of playing skelly are long gone I guess I can let it out now…). Like I said it was the weight. The way I accomplished this was to take a medicine top or later on, a chair glider. Before I would melt the wax in it. I would place a penny or a nickle, depeding on how much weight I wanted, in the bottom of the top. Then I would melt my wax on top of it. This would give me a small heavy top that would glide the length of the street if I wanted it to. As far as the skelly board. The way to draw it was first to make a big square on the ground. Then you would make one small sqaure in each of the 4 corners. Next you would draw double boxes on each of the 4 sides in between the 4 corner boxes. In the center of the board you would draw a small box,nbr 13. Around the nbr 13 box you would draw a larger box, approximatley 1 to 1 1/2 feet larger on all sides. Then you would draw a line from each corner of the small nbr 13 box out ward to the corner of the larger box around it dividing it into 4 sections. In each one of the 4 sections you would place a nbr from 1 to 4. When you were done drawing it you would end up basically with the nbr 13 box surrounded by 4 other boxes each with a nbr from 1 to 4 in it. This center section was called skelly. During the course of the game, if anybody landing in one of the 4 boxes surrounding the nbr 13 box, they were in skelly. They were not allowed to shoot anymore untill thier top was knocked out of skelly by another top. Depending on what nbr skelly box they were in ( 1 thru 4) the person who knock them out of skelly whould advance that nbr of boxes. The way the game was played ( in my neighbor hood at least). To start the game, after choosing who would shoot first of course, everybody would have to shoot from a starting line somewere outside the skelly board. Usually around 10 feet away. You would have to shoot for the nbr 13 box first. Then you would shoot for each box in nbr order 1 to 13. Then backwards from 13 back to 1. After you made it back to the nbr 1 box. You would then have to shoot for the nbr 13 box again, once again making sure not to land in skelly. Then after you made it into the nbr 13 box you would have to shoot around the skelly box starting from the nbr 13 box. You had to make it into each Skelly box on one shot and then back into the nbr 13 box to be the winner. Typing this message has brought back alot of memeries of growing up as a kid in Da Bronx and Queens. I now live in Long Island. The kids today ( out here) have no clue of these games or how much fun they were for us. All I see them do now is hangout at the local 7 eleven smoking cigarets……What I would give to go back (in time)just for one day to be that kid again and to play……….
I was thinking of the games we used to play with a Spaldeen. There were games for only one person up through a full baseball team. As I remember them they were: 1 Person Catch with yourself- throw the ball up and catch it. Practicing your pitching against a box on the wall Throwing the ball against the wall to see how high you could throw it. On the roof was the ultimate Throwing the ball off the wall (or stoop) and practicing your catching ability. 2 Persons Box Baseball Hit the penny. Stickball Catch American Handball, paddle ball, etc. Off the wall Stoopball 3 Persons Monkey in the middle Running Bases Salugi (?) or keep away Chinese handball Larger Groups Punchball Slapball I’m sure there are more. But for 25 cents, nothing could beat thatbeautiful pink ball with the word Spaulding stamped on it. We didn’t need our parents making schedules, driving us all over the place. Just us and a little ball, and we were in heaven for hours. Mark Podhorzer Now of Atlanta GA, but in my heart always from Brooklyn
Ken Edwards Brighton Beach 50’s and 60’s. You would wake up in the morning and wait. Soon you would hear, “Hey Kenny, could you come out?” If your parents were up, you would say, “Ma, can I go out and play?” In about 20 minutes, you had about 10 to 20 friends trying to figure out what to do first. Sometimes it was stickball, sometimes dodgeball, sometimes it was skelly or chinese handball. If it was too early in the morning, water would be flying out of somebody’s window and they would yell, “can’t you kids play elsewhere, it is too early in the morning.” No matter what, you were with a group of friends. This lasted till your mother popped her head out of the window and yelled your name to come home. 4 October 1997
What about “Ace, King, Queen”, “Hit the Stick”, “Box Ball”,and the “Girl Games”.