by Mary Sheldon, President Hernando Historical Museum Assoc., Inc.
The Corona Virus has forced more family time at home. Even though we tend to be attached to the electronics of today, there has been a resurgence of entertainment with board games and simple toys.
Sometimes the games of the past were homemade, such as checkers made from corncobs. Dried cobs were sliced into about half-inch sections. Then half were painted red and half were painted black. Placed on a checkered wooden board, the game began.
Some games evolved over the years. In the late 1800s, an American surgeon came up with a variation of an English game known as Hoppity. The American game was called Halma. Then the Germans came up with Sternhalma...Star Halma. Back in America, the Pressman Company named the game now played on a star-shaped board and with marbles as the marker, Chinese Checkers!
Every household had a boxful of dominoes and playing cards. Sometimes those games were handmade as well.
Sweet dolls were fashioned from cornhusks. Others were made from leftover cloth pieces and were called rag dolls. Even store-bought dolls were outfitted with beautiful handstitched clothes.
The Countryman One Room Schoolhouse, the 1885 Depot, and the May-Stringer House all have a collection of toys and games from years gone by. You may also see a unique card table with the names of Brooksville businesses and people of the past.
Since the local Walmart stores have recently added Brooksville and Spring Hill versions of Monopoly to their wares, these board games bought today may offer special meaning to Hernando County residents of the future. Area landmarks (including the Museums) and attractions are the real estate to buy up!