Thats chinese handball! or ace, king, queen. I dont remember it being called slug. Names of games changed in all areas of ny in the 1960’s.In QUEENS it was,hey you wanna play ‘chinese’. We played in the school park against the brick wall of a park bathroom building.We used a spaldeen.It was a very fast game,played low to the ground,and wore out alot of Keds sneakers. You had to find a good place with a wall or fence in back of you,so you didnt have to chase the ball.
Many things come to mind when I think of skelly. Here are a few: 1)New Jersey, 1964. We stopped at Tony’s Hot Dogs near lake Hopatcong on a Sunday as I recall. I asked the man behind the counter, actually my dad asked the man, if we could have some bottlecaps. I guess some meant all because he filled up a couple of paper bags full. It was a great ride home as a 7 year old digging out all of the cork and couldn’t wait to show my friends my motherlode of caps. 2)I can still remember the smell of melted crayons in my friend’s garage as we readied our bottlecaps for action. We lived in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn and if it wasn’t stickball or Spud it was all day skelly marathons. 3)About 1970 or thereabouts during my last glory days as a pre-teen and the end of skelly as a pasttime, I pulled one of the biggest miscues of my life, to that point. My dad had just bought me a new pair of Pro Keds and I proceeded to wear out the sides in a matter of days due to several skellythons. Needless to say, it was back to discount sneakers for me. I wish this generation could experience all of the great street games that I grew up with in Brooklyn and Queens.
Go-Go boots – Mary Burns had a pair in the first grade – 1963. She was the only girl in my class with those cool boots and I wanted a pair desperately but never got them. Hers were earlier than the shiny, stretchy white or black versions. They were mid-calf, white leather with a leather stack heel. How is that after almost 40 years, I still remember sitting in the class circle admiring her boots? Now I did get the Red Ball Jets… the white Keds-like shoes with the Red Ball on the back. Yep – had fishnets and windowpane stockings. How’d we keep our toes from going through those?
How about those square/flat clutch (vinyl or leather) purses with the metal rectangular handle cut into the middle near the top? Oh, I loved those crop tops with the ruffled bottom. How about mini skirts worn with a fat belt? And who can forget PF Flyers?! Made you run faster and jump higher! My favorite sneaks were a pair of denim colored Keds with orange laces. I wish I could find them available today.
We played stickball in the schoolyard of P.s. 209, Brooklyn. We never played with more than three people on a team. Our rules were simple, chalk box on the wall for the strikezone, no arguments there just look at the chalk on the ball. Hit the top of the fence on a fly and you had a double. Hit the bottom of the fence on the fly and you got a triple. Anywhere over the fence and you touched them all. No toe left on my Pro-Keds after a month. It’s too bad I can’t find anyone to play stickball with in Southern California. I’ll always be a Brooklyn boy at heart. Talking about this makes me want to get up and walk down to Nathan’s and get a bag of those greasy fries, nothing like it in the world.