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Readers share
Their earliest Bingo memories

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. —Aunt Bingo

Dear Aunt Bingo,
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 popcorn kernels.
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 seen!
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.
Once 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

Dear Aunt Bingo,
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.
I recall that it didn’t cost much to buy-in. We played on cardboard cards and covered the numbers with little red plastic chips.
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 me!”
“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 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.

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