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MARCH 2023

Bingo: The Next Generation

Dear Aunt Bingo,

I 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 of them.

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.

“You don’t 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 to win.”

“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


Dear Elaine,

I guess in the age of computer gaming and digital entertainment, games like traditional Bingo are taking longer to reach the newest generation.

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 cash in the process—it should also conjure up nostalgic memories of playing Bingo for candy bars with Mrs. G. —Aunt Bingo


Readers: Do 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


For more great content like this, look for the print edition of the Bingo Bugle in your area: Local Bingo Bugle Publications.

Dear Aunt Bingo

Notebook and Pen
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