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) move around the board assembling outfits from color-coded cards they collected.
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But my parents often forced her to let me in instead of just telling me to suck it up and go find my own damn friends.
The above photo was taken at one of my sister’s birthday parties in the 1960s, most likely the one were she received her copy of Mystery Date. Adams, a restaurant across the street from Bisset’s, the department store my father ran on the corner of Broadway and Wilson in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.
This area would soon go to hell in a handbasket, with both Bisset’s (built in 1902) and Mr. It’s only now, more than 40 years later, when gentrification is beginning to transform the neighborhood back into the glittering quarter it once was, home of magnificent movie palaces such as the Uptown and Riviera, and other landmarks that were part of the rich fabric of Chicago history such as the Aragon Ballroom, the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the Green Mill Lounge, the Kinetic Playground, and Rainbo Ice Skating Arena (where my parents’ marriage careened to a hideous end…but that’s another story). Check out the matching hats my sister and her friends are wearing in contrast to my pirate get-up.
There’s Wendy Belcove on the right, who lived in a house we thought was a mansion because it had a staircase in the back just for servants.
Wendy later surprised everyone by becoming a bodybuilder. Beth moved away in the early 1970s and spent years in the Israeli Army.
I remember getting my own presents at this party, I assume by request, as if I couldn’t bear the thought of being in the background on my sister’s special day. They should have just tossed some crayons at me and locked me in a back room. I started thinking about my tendency to force myself into my sister’s nascent social life yesterday when a friend mentioned the old board game Mystery Date.
Look how I’m situated squarely in the center of the photograph. I remember after having gained access to my sister's lair against her will, she would whip out Mystery Date knowing that I would never deign to join in. The object of the game was to have young girls (ages 6 to 14!
Does anyone remember this Milton Bradley monstrosity from 1965?
How much did this one game fuck up an entire generation?
As much as I used to pound on my sister’s bedroom door begging to be allowed entry into her inner sanctum, even I had enough dignity to recoil in horror as Sue and her girlfriends made their way around the Mystery Date gameboard trying to earn the chance to open the plastic door to find their mystery date. The theme song is burned into my memory with the same weight as the Beatles songs I was just becoming aware of that year: In retrospect, I think my parents catered way too much to my dysfunctional need to be included in my older sister’s activities.
Unlike me, she was allowed a lock on her door, I’m sure mostly to keep me out.