We never played the games with Chestnuts (which we called horse chestnuts), but we did throw them at each other. We would collect them in a bread bag, take them home, and pour them in the milkbox that sat on the porch. My mom said when they started getting wormy, she would throw them away. Don’t know what the milkman did with the milk during chestnut season!!
About the crab apple fights,I had a friend who thought his dad was crazy as a result of those fights. Then I had to admit we had our own version in Texas. If we got together five dollars, we got 100 lbs of ice. Half of us had the roof, the others had the low ground. We never named it, but I can still dodge pretty well for a big man because of it.
My gosh but this brings back memories. While attending Holy Cross school, Church Avenue and Rogers Avenue, early 1940’s, we played this game. I remember when you cracked the other persons chestnut you became a “killer”. The purpose was to “kill” as many as you could, then you became the target of others who could claim all your kills if they broke your chestnut. I also remember getting wacked in the eye when I didn’t hold my chestnut out with my arm fully extended. When the chestnut was wacked it tended to swing vertically in an arc. Ouch.
Played the game in the Bedford Park section & Grand Concourse in the Bx. Got our chestnuts from Riverdale, St. James Park (Fordham area)and the Bx. Botanical Gardens. Everybody had their own “secret” formula for hardening them (boiling in vinegar, nail polish, etc.). I don’t think any of them really worked. Never had a real name for the game.
Hey, MConroy! A wall of the Holy Cross cemetery abutted my backyard on E. 42nd St. near Snyder Ave. We lived on a dead end with yet another wall of Holy Cross at the end of the block, which was our stickball backstop. Yeah, we played “Chestnuts” all the time. Heck, I’ve still got a 10,068 Killer in my freezer from back in the 1960’s. Now, you didn’t want a fresh chestnut, it needed to be somewhat hardened from laying around on the ground for a while. You poked a hole in it with a long carpenter’s nail. Then you took your long shoelace and knotted one end and slipped it thru to anchor the chestnut. The defender held their chestnut straight down on the long string and the offender wrapped their string around their fingers with enough left to strike held through the index and middle fingers. No laquering allowed!!! From reading all the posts here, it seems like this game has it’s roots in antiquity.
I’m SERIOUS about the rules. When I was a lad we had things like “STRINGS” and “WINDMILLS” which gave extra goes. I’m trying to find definitive rules for my nephew but without success so far. I am appalled at the lack of information, rules etc. is this a free for all? And what about drug-abuse? wardle [at] ukonline [dot] co [dot] uk