When I lived in Florida I wandered into a little upscale antique store in Winter Park. I was perusing the well-organized display cases when a small deck of cards caught my eye. By small, I mean miniature. Maybe two inches by three inches.
“Oh, wow. A miniature deck of Authors“, I said.
“Authors? You are the first person to ever recognize those cards.” The cashier was surprised.
“We played all the time when we were kids.”
“Amazing. I have never heard of it!”
I passed on paying $29.00 for the miniature deck of cards, however.
Today I ran across a post on Facebook and someone mentioned the game of Rook. Ahhh, what fun! The memory wheels were set in motion.
We always had a deck of Authors cards. I knew all these authors names by heart as well as several of their books from playing this game. The face I remember most vividly was that of Robert Louis Stevenson. According to Wikipedia, the authors most often represented were:
- Louisa May Alcott
- James Fenimore Cooper
- Charles Dickens
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Washington Irving
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Sir Walter Scott
- William Shakespeare
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Mark Twain
- John Greenleaf Whittier
I think the set we might have owned is available for sale on eBay if you want to take a look.
Rook is a card game we always had lying around the house. I remember playing at my grandmothers’ houses as well as at home. This is another of many card games where one bids on the opportunity to name the trump suit and using trump cards to take tricks.
We played Rook a lot. Adults and children together. I used to love playing, but I must admit it has been a number of years since I’ve even seen a Rook deck. Again, the set we owned (red cards) is available on eBay.
It was interesting to discover that the Rook deck was created as a substitute for a regular deck of cards which some religions associated with gambling or fortune telling. They were often referred to as Christian cards or Missionary cards. I never knew that until today!
Cards Were a Source of Amusement
It seemed we played cards a lot more than most families do today. Everything from Old Maid to poker to cribbage to euchre to gin rummy to hearts to spades and of course solitaire. Anything to pass the time when there wasn’t much opportunity for things like television. The only one I was never exposed to was bridge.
I do remember, however, that my mother was a bit of a sore loser. I’ve seen her throw the deck of cards across the room if she lost too many hands in a row.
Now, as I sit here, I cannot remember the last time I played a hand of cards. How about you?