Dear Readers: A few
issues ago, I invited readers to send in stories of
their earliest recollections of Bingo. The invitation
generated a lot of responses, with letters still coming
in! Following are some of the tales you shared.
My earliest memory of playing Bingo
was as a Brownie.
The mothers of the troop members
took turns hosting meetings at their homes every few
weeks. At one house, one of the girls’ mothers took us
to the basement family room and handed out cardboard
Bingo cards from a boxed set. She had a little metal
cage that spun wooden balls with the numbers on them. As
she called the numbers, we covered them with un-popped
I remember it vividly because I was
the first one to get a Bingo. It was also the first game
I had ever won which came with a prize. After I called
Bingo, our hostess brought out a basket of wrapped gifts
and told me I could choose any one I wanted as my prize.
Let me tell you…the troop really perked up when they saw
all those prizes!
Naturally, I reached for the
biggest prize. The whole troop hushed as they waited to
see what I’d won. I unfolded the tissue paper to reveal
a glossy white ceramic horse dotted with pink and yellow
rosebuds. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever
All the girls oo-ed and ah-ed at the sight of
my china horse. After that it was all business as the
troop duked it out for the rest of the Bingo prizes.
I have that little horse to this day and take it to
Bingo as one of my good luck charms. —Lil
G., California, via email
Dear Aunt Bingo,
My earliest Bingo memory is
of playing at an ice cream social in the parking lot
behind the local high school.
It was a beautiful,
breezy summer day. We each had a ticket for one cupcake
(home baked by the mothers), a scoop of ice cream
(spooned out of big cardboard drums by the fathers), and
one Bingo card. The Bingo was only for the kids.
we were served, we were led to long folding tables where
we ate our cupcakes and ice cream and pretended to play
Bingo, although it was really our parents who were
playing our cards for us. Prizes were penny candy, small
toys, and tickets for more cake and ice cream. I won a
red plastic folding Chinese fan with a black silk
tassel, which I treasured.
This is one of my favorite
childhood memories, which I recall often.
—CC, via email
I knew of Bingo as a kid’s game, but
it wasn’t until I was away at college that I experienced
my first “money” game.
A friend who was a big Bingo
fan invited a few of us to go with him to a church Bingo
one evening. When we arrived, the townspeople there
seemed pretty happy to see us joining them for Bingo
instead of heading downtown to one of the bars.
recall that it didn’t cost much to buy-in. We played on
cardboard cards and covered the numbers with little red
Most of the evening was uneventful,
until about halfway through the 10th or 11th game when
my friend Elise tapped my arm anxiously and pointed to
her card. She had a Bingo.
“Call it!” I told her.
Elise was pretty shy and just looked at me with huge
eyes and shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered back.
“B-9!” The caller called another number. Luckily, no
else had Bingo. Elise looked at me and implored, “Help
“BINGO!” I called so loud that it made everyone
at our table jump and most everyone else in the room
snicker. “BINGO! BINGO! BINGO!”
Elise’s face flushed
red with excitement and embarrassment as they confirmed
her card was a winner.
She won $25—and swore she
would never go to Bingo again. —Ryan C.,
Ohio, via email
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.