The game Monopoly is the most played board game in the world. It’s been reported that over a billion people have played this game.
It’s a pretty safe bet that most people reading this have played the game of Monopoly. Charles Darrow was the man credited with manufacturing and selling the game. There were similar games, but he was the one who arranged production, marketing, and sold it to the masses.
Darrow got caught in the stock market crash in 1929 and ended up bankrupt. He quickly regained his losses and more, with a sale of the rights to his game to Parker Bros. in 1931.
Monopoly was my favorite board game when I was a kid. I never won in those days, but loved wheeling and dealing with adults and others. What a thrill to play the game that I thought adult life might be like.
Monopoly was a game of pretend, just like the games played outside as a kid. The difference was this game of pretend was enjoyed by adults, as well as kids.
My dad usually won, my oldest brother had the next-best winning percentage. My mom, well, She was a mom. Let’s just say negotiating with her, when close to game bankruptcy was a little more forgiving than my dad or brother.
As the old adage goes, “History repeats itself.” Indeed, it does. We as a country and world are in a similar situation now as Charles Darrow found himself in some 80 years ago.
Similar to the game of Monopoly is how a lot of us are living our real lives now. Rolling the dice, moving ahead with apprehension and hope, praying we don’t land on a place that can wipe us out. Maybe rent, taxes, improvements, or other emergencies of life.
The difference between Darrow and the rest of the majority of this country was his mindset. With change comes opportunity. He obviously didn’t sit back and wait for someone or a government to bail him out. He took matters into his own hands.
When I was playing Monopoly as a child I knew we weren’t well off. My dad had started a business in a down economy. Like many other families, my mom and dad just made it work. My two big brothers and me shared the same room all of our childhood until they got older and moved away from home.
The Levi 501’s were worn until they were threadbare and full of holes. Thereby setting the stage for the future “torn” jeans that became fashionable decades later.
I can’t remember laughing more in my life than I did back then. Tough financial times or not, those were the days I remember in vivid detail and cherish.
I still remember my dad’s laugh when I landed on Boardwalk or Parkplace with hotels on them. I would hope and pray having done the math with my fingers, knowing which numbers to avoid and rolled the dice with urgency. I didn’t care much for the laugh. I knew what it meant. I was done and he had won the game of Monopoly.
He didn’t laugh in mockery, he was genuinely having fun with his family. This while struggling to support us every day.
Decades after some success in business, he was the same man as I played Monopoly with as a lad. At his funeral service, no one spoke of his success in business. Those are the times when everyone understands the true values of this life.
People spoke of his generosity, his integrity, his character. Traits that define an honorable life.
Times are tough all over again. I suspect this won’t be the last time either.
Here’s another old adage, “Some things never change.” It sounds quite the opposite of the one I used earlier. I guess they both are true, as difficult as that is to get our minds around.
To my point, a couple of months ago my daughter asked, “Dad you want to play Monopoly”? “Sure, If you set it up,” I answered. After she had it set up and called me in, she asked, “What do you want to be”? I didn’t hesitate, “The race car, of course”!
It works out pretty well due to her affinity for animals. She always wants to be the dog. I’m thinking some day when her kids ask her what she wants to be when they play Monopoly, She’ll reply, “The dog, of course”!
May she remember her family as a young girl and though we faced difficult times, we laughed and enjoyed life. May she also remember that in the trying times her dad always had hope and trust in God, and knew opportunity was right around the corner.
Maybe she’ll even write about it…..