ANAGRAMS

By Rosie Moore

When I was eight years old… uh,oh, here I go delving back in the past again! I think I know, no, I KNOW why I do that so much—because my happiest memories are in the past. This one I’m about to relate is a combination happy and not-so-happy.

I loved visiting my Uncle David and Aunt Sophie each summer. It was a treat for me. One particular summer, however, I was struck with a bout of ten-day measles. Uncle David would pull all the blinds in the living room down  (they were dark green blinds) so that the light wouldn’t hurt my eyes. Then he would cuddle me on his lap while I napped.

After napping I would get on the living room rug with a box of anagrams and play with them to my heart’s content. I was a good speller and I  would make all kinds of words out of those seventy-one tiles. I was very judicious in making sure the tiles were all placed down so I wouldn’t see them then I would pick seven of them and try to make words.

I think this game was the forerunner of Scrabble, which was founded by an unemployed architect during the Great Depression, named Alfred Mosher Butts. He combined word games (such as anagrams), crossword puzzles, and board games. Mr. Butts had no luck with his game and was eventually bought out by Hasbro, Inc. There is not much documentation on the anagrams game, although it can be traced back to the times of Moses, as “themuru” or changing, which was to find the hidden and mystical meanings in names.

Aunt Sophie had a daughter who was thirteen years older than me. Around twenty years ago she and two of her granddaughters came to Knoxville for a religious convention. We visited together, talking over old times. During the conversation I asked her if she still had the box of anagrams. She gave me a small smile and shook her head yes. She will be ninety-seven years old this month of May and I figure that box of anagrams has to be close to a hundred years old. I want that box of anagrams from my childhood! What a coup it would be for me if I got them!

For as such are dreams made of.

Thought for the day: Each generation will reap what the former generation has shown.  Chinese proverb.

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