I’m continuing to plug away at my ABC’s of Alice journal. Here is the second page, which I completed this evening. It’s called “B is for Bingo.”
I grew up in Sheboygan Falls, a small town of fewer than 10,000 souls located in eastern Wisconsin, not far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Because the area had been primarily settled by immigrants from Germany in the nineteenth century, the 3 B’s were ever-present staples of life: beer, bratwurst, and Bingo. For the older folks, Bingo was the biggest game in town, and it seemed like every church, club, and civic organization hosted its own Bingo events, well into the 1980s and ’90s.
Even the local government got in on the action. When I was a kid, every Monday night was Bingo Night at the Municipal Building. You could never find a parking spot downtown, because every senior citizen from miles around showed up for this weekly Bingo extravaganza. On hot summer nights they kept the doors open to let in the breeze, and as you walked by, you could hear the caller shouting the letters and numbers into a microphone.
Grandma Alice never missed Bingo Night. My sister and I usually visited her once a week, but never on Monday evenings; they were always off-limits.
I don’t know for certain what it was about Bingo that appealed to her, but I know she had a lifelong affinity for numbers. She’d always told me that she preferred math at school because it came more easily to her than other subjects. I think part of it stemmed from the fact that when she was a young child, her family spoke nothing but German at home and she’d been forced to learn English as a second language at school. Reading and writing had to be incredibly difficult for someone learning a whole new language–and according to her, the teachers at her one-room country schoolhouse weren’t very patient or knowledgeable about how to help someone with this kind of challenge. Throughout my career as a teacher, I’ve worked with many ESL students, and I’ve often observed a similar attachment to numbers among them. Some of them seem to cling to math, possibly because it is a sort of “universal” language, one they can more easily grasp, whether they are proficient at English or not.
With that being said, I do find it kind of ironic that the Bingo card I’d selected for this page doesn’t feature any numbers! Knowing my grandma, I think it’s safe to say she would’ve quit playing Bingo if the cards at the Municipal Building looked like this!
I started this page with a coat of black gesso and some stamped acrylic paint. I then built a collage with old book pages, patterned paper, ephemera, a burlap die cut, Washi tape, rub-ons, stamps, a sticker, gingham ribbon, a wooden Bingo piece, a plastic tile, a date stamp, pens, and Prismacolor pencils.
I’m already getting inspired for the next page, dedicated to the next letter in the alphabet. Hope you’re all having a great week! We’ll “C” you soon! 😉