Dear Aunt Bingo,
volunteer as a teaching assistant at an elementary
school—which is walking distance from my house. It has
been a wonderful second career since I took early
retirement. I enjoy the school, the teachers and the
other staff—but especially the children, who are so
young and bright and have so much of their lives ahead
One morning I was helping some students with
a wall-art project that included creating a checkerboard
pattern background made with sheets of colored paper.
When the background was completed, I stepped back and
commented that it looked like a giant Bingo card. The 12
or so students stared back at me blankly.
think so?” I asked them.
“What’s a Bingo card?” one
of the girls finally said.
I was stunned. Here was a
group of intelligent youngsters who apparently had never
heard of Bingo. “It’s a game,” I explained, “with rows
of numbers that someone calls out and you try and match
“Oh yeah,” another one said. “I think I’ve
heard of that.” A few of the other students nodded,
while the rest continued to stare. “You add the numbers
up or something,” she added.
It was one of those
jaw-dropping moments—like when you meet someone who has
never heard of saddle shoes, Sputnik or John Wayne. I
felt a little ancient. Then realized I now had a
mission. “I’ll see if it’s okay to bring Bingo to school
sometime,” I said.
In response, one of the boys shook
his head and rolled his eyes. “Great…more math,” he
moaned. —Elaine G., Valley Stream, New York
I guess in the age
of computer gaming and digital entertainment, games like
traditional Bingo are taking longer to reach the newest
Hopefully the teacher in charge will
permit you to bring in one of those Dollar Store sets so
you can show the kids what you are talking about.
Perhaps you can give away bite-sized candy bars as
prizes. Once the first couple of kids win those, I’m
sure there will be lots of interest.
It seems to me
that Bingo can be very educational: For example, in
teaching number and pattern recognition, taking part in
non-physical competition, and learning that you can’t
win them all.
Later in life—when they discover that
you can also go out for a day or evening of Bingo,
socialize, and win some serious cash in the process—it
should also conjure up nostalgic memories of playing
Bingo for candy bars with Mrs. G. —Aunt
you remember you first encounter with Bingo as a child
or your first experience with buy-in Bingo as an adult?
Write in and share your recollections and I will publish
them in a future column. —Aunt Bingo
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.