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  • James Clarke

The Hallway Closet of Gaming Magic

My family just sold my grandmother’s home that she lived in for the better part of her life, starting when she was a child and continuing on and off, but mostly on for the last 93 years. I have vivid memories of that house and the moments with that brought me mostly joy, though a little angst and boredom. Most of my fondest memories of that house have to do with the thin hallway/closet that lead from the kitchen to the stairs to the attic and the stacks of ancient board games that were stacked far above my childhood head.

We’re talking Strat-O-Matic! The hallway was lined with old fur coats on the right and an unfinished wall to the left, full of nooks with a potential spider hiding each inch. For my childhood self, it was a magic hallway, granting passage from the mundane of the kitchen to the wonders of the attic above. It was my own little wardrobe to Narnia.

My parents still have some of those old games.


When I first got married, my wife and I cleaned up and formed our home in that same attic. The attic my grandmother lived in as a child. We even had a claw foot tub, strange angled ceilings, closets from crawlspaces in the walls. I even, for a moment, had a friend convince that to get to our attic apartment we had to climb through the coats on the right.

“Really?” she asked, embracing the magic of the hallway.

“No,” I had to admit. “Not really,”

But those games… The stacks of those old games towering overhead were as majestic as they were dusty. The musty smell of old boxes filled my young nostrils. We’d get a grown up to struggle a game off the high shelf and spread out in the back bedroom for a game that seemed like time travel.

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