Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cranium on the Stoop

Last night, the Brady Bunch and some of their pals wanted to learn how to play Cranium. "We have it, but we don't know how to play," one of the boys told me. I have it, too. So I pulled it off the shelf and brought it out on the front stoop.

I believe we had 10 kids playing, from age three to about age 11 or 12. I have the original Cranium, which is a pretty hard game for kids. The rules are kind of complicated--I frankly don't really understand how you're supposed to start the game, so I made up a variation and just got us going. There are four categories of questions: data head (facts and numbers); word worm (spelling and defining words); creative cat (drawing and sculpting words for others to guess); and star performer (singing and acting to convey a famous song or performer).

Unlike when I played with Danny and Junior and Oscar, two kids in this group knew who Tina Turner was. "She's the lady who sings on TV," one of the Bradys said. Their friend Brian knew who she was but couldn't think of her name. This time one of the younger boys and I sang "Proud Mary" together--he caught on fast. We shook our heads a lot to make our hair fly around.

For one 'Star Performer' question, they all had to hum "This Land Is Your Land." None of them knew the song. They learned the tune but not the words. I'll have to teach them the lyrics some other time. I was trying to post the Bruce Springsteen video on You Tube to this blog, but some glitch happened. Another day.

They liked drawing and even spelling. Our littlest team member did a pretty good job of guessing how to spell "hippopotamus" backwards. "S,U,M,P,O,P,I,H," I think she came up with. Pretty darn good for a three-year-old. Everybody learned two new vocabulary words: manicure and oxbow. "What's the new word for polishing your nails?" I asked. "Everybody say it together--one, two three!"

"Manicure!" they all yelled.

I need to start looking around for more age-appropriate games for them. I'd like to get Pictionary, Jenga and Connect Four for starters. I do see that Cranium has some new games out that might have clues that would be more relevant to them.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martiza,

Just came across your blog. Interesting, although I have mixed feelings. Part of me wants to thank you for helping our community, it seems you are doing what we all should be doing. At the same time you come across as "its all about me and look how great I am to to help these poor folks out" even as you present a comical version of kids and families who have serious issues. I can't help but feel that while you live here you really have no idea what his life is like because you are after all a "white chic" from a priviledge background I assume. Of course I don't know you and like I said my feeling are mixed, but your blogs describe my community in a way that doesn't seem to "get" how it really is and what is going on. It's funny that by being born and raised in BOY, I feel a sense of entitlement over you, but yet I don't express it since many times voices like yours are heard more than long time BOY residents. You remind me of a teacher at Seward (my alma matter) who received his Phd studying our community but really has no sense how it is, but yet makes me feel better since, hey based on what he did, I too have a Phd in understanding BOY, but alas no credentials here.

Okay, I'll stop. I apoligize if I offended you in any way, I just seem to very protective of BOY, hope to keep the conversation going.


47th Street

Maritza said...

I really appreciate your comment, 47th Street. First of all, you and 49th are two people who have lived here a lot longer than I have and are taking the time to make your thoughts and opinions known here. That's really more important than what I have to say.

Also, you get to the heart of the big challenge for people like me (white and privileged) who live, work or advocate with people like you--I'm assuming that you are Latino and grew up here without a lot of money and other resources. You're dead right that I don't know what it's like to grow up here because I didn't. I only see what is here from my own perspective, and that misses a lot.

Because I know that other people like me read my blog and have their own ideas about this neighborhood, I do try to write about the fun and funny things that happen here because otherwise if they know anything about BOY it's guns and drugs and gangs and fires.

Finally, I apologize for coming across as "wow, look how great I am to help these poor folks out." Maybe I need to work on making it clear in this blog how much my neighbors help me.

There's a lot more here that I don't write about out of respect for my neighbors' privacy, which may also be part of why this looks like it's all about me. It's also hard to avoid looking like it's all about me in a blog, you know?

All that said, you raise some good points that I need to think about both in what I do and in how I write about the block here. Thanks.

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