Jan 08

Rosie Bishop: The Jacks Lady

As I mentioned, in my most recent article,  “Life In Games Roadshow:  Recap”, I would be providing more information on Rosie Bishop AKA The Jacks Lady.  I figured that no one would be able to describe what Rosie does or how she feels about the game of Jacks better than her, and the article below is a copy of one that she wrote back in 2010.  Take it away Rosie!

      Crack the Eggs


Rosie Bishop

  My childhood was spare on toys.  Scraps of colored paper from Grandma’s small town newspaper office and broken crayons made up my shoe-box toy collection.  Then, when I was nine, I got a great treasure that would keep on giving for decades – my own set of Jacks!  I had longingly watched the big kids play “crack the eggs” and pigs in the pen,” until I got those Jacks, and a hand-made feed-sack bag too!  Sixty-one years later i am reviving the game of tiny metal star-points and bouncing ball wherever I can.

It is not right to brag at any age, but at 72 I have to say, I am still pretty good.  In nine months I have given away 408 sets of the simple, low-tech game that began with stones and bones.  I am now an “official, certified coach.”  All ages qualify, including an 86 year-old man who had never played before and got “a big kick out of it,” practicing over and over, and a girl, aged “6.7” who heard that “7 is about the age to begin.”  Recipients are asked to place their names and ages in my record book.

Elders sigh that they “probably can’t even catch the ball.”  Then, THE KID COMES BACK!  Truly, the sparkle returns when the ball touches the hand.  Kids often say, “I have those things but I didn’t know what to do with them.”  I don’t want to pass out precious “petroleum pellets” that will set on a shelf, so I have “try-outs,” that include correctly bouncing three times and picking up a Jack twice.  “That’s all it takes to get this set of Jacks for yourself.”  I allow “as much practice as the Colts or Pacers.”

In one science class we had 52 kids, bouncing and catching while practicing coordination and concentration skills.  At after school-programs, day camps, senior classes and a sustainable living fair, my lead line is, “Have you played the game of Jacks?”  Burmese kids with agile hands can play with just rocks.  My high school class in Iowa is planning for a Jacks Fest at our 55th reunion in 2011.  Rubber back in post depression era would often hardly bounce, but today plastic is lively.

Jacks are  LOW TECH-GAMES UNPLUGGED!  Concern for Earth often takes serous directions.  Reminding kids that one can have fun without plugs or batteries gives a subtle message-and it is FUN!!!

Rosie rocking her Jacks gear last Saturday!

Rosie rocking her Jacks gear last Saturday!

As you can see, Rosie has had a passion for the game of Jacks that has endured for decades.  Although her article is about two years old at this point, I can assure you that her enthusiasm has not waned in the slightest.  Her love for the game of Jacks, and the joy she gives and receives through teaching it have clearly kept her young in spirit as well as quick of hands, and should be an inspiration to us all about the power of games to enrich countless lives!

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention…I left with a set of Jacks!


  1. I wish Rosie many more years of certifying coaches… Keep bouncing!

    • Erin Moehring on February 1, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Rosie is a such a fun lady, and all the kids were thrilled to get their own set!

    • on February 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    She is without a doubt a very fun lady! I hope she will be attending this moth’s Family Game Day tomorrow!

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