A little silliness to start the summer, if you please!
After a whirlwind month of virtual appearances where I talked non-stop about The Truth About Mr. Darcy (among other things!), my blog tour has come to a close. I’d like to take a moment to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who kindly followed me from blog to blog to read my guest posts, interviews, excerpts, and sometimes just to simply say hello. I enjoyed answering every one of your questions and seeing so many familiar faces—each of you made my first time on the blogging circuit an absolutely wonderful, memorable experience!
Now that my tour’s winding down, what’s next, you ask? Well, with the dog days of summer quickly approaching, I just want to enjoy every spare second of time I have with my family.
Summer in the Adriani household means no school for two months, crafts and painting, reading and hiking, and taking car trips of dubious lengths to various destinations around the Nutmeg state and beyond. In two words: family time. This year we have my ten-year-old niece Ariana added to our crazy mix of characters, and I’ve been informed, very firmly, that she and my daughter have plans for me.
As the school year winds down, my two favorite girls have already started roping me into playing outside, having impromptu picnics, gardening, yard exploration, and doing crafty projects—the sillier the activity, it seems, the better. How silly is silly, you ask? Well, we spent an entire afternoon last weekend making “Cootie Catchers”. How’s that for silly!
Wait a minute. Does anyone out there actually remember Cootie Catchers?
These funny little sculptures of artfully folded paper are a form of origami used in children’s fortune-telling games. A player asks a question, and the Fortune-Teller Operator manipulates the Cootie Catcher’s shape. (Basically, there are numbers written on each side of the Cootie Catcher, inside and out, and the operator manipulates the paper sculpture according to a specific number the player selects). Questions and answers can also be written on the little fortune-teller, as well as colors, patterns, and pictures.
The earliest mention of a game similar to Cootie Catchers originated in Japan in the early 17th century, and was shortly seen thereafter in Europe. No one, however, seems to know whether it was the result of a European learning the game in Asia, and then bringing it back to his or her homeland, or if the game actually developed in Europe on its own. By the early 20th century, though, the Cootie Catcher game was firmly established and well known among children throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.
I suppose you could say the Cootie Catcher is a little like a crystal ball—okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch—but it is certainly a fun way for children of all ages to try their hand at amateur fortune-telling. My friends and I spent many a recess period making and decorating our meticulously crafted Cootie Catchers with various numbers, words, and drawings.
Will our team win the game tonight? Who do you have a secret crush on? Who thinks I’m nice? Like my classmates, my daughter and niece took an instant liking to Cootie Catchers, and spent hours designing and customizing their own. Elizabeth’s had colorful drawings of ice cream and candies, and silly fortunes inside such as “Your backyard will be filled with lollipops!” and “Candy will grow in your garden instead of flowers!” Ariana made one with the current addresses of family members, all of the family cats (past and present), and, as “prizes” inside rather than fortunes, adorable drawings of her father, aunt, and uncles.
Though there is currently no known record of the game ever having made an appearance in Regency England, I can’t help but wonder what Lydia and Kitty Bennet would have written on their Cootie Catchers if it had? Or Mr. Darcy, for that matter? Whatever it was, I’m sure Lady Catherine would have been seriously displeased!
And mine? Well, just in case the accompanying images haven’t already given it away, it was Pride and Prejudice and the Regency Period, of course! While Elizabeth was positively thrilled with my Cootie Catcher theme (if not unabashedly passionate in her total dislike of Mr. Wickham when she managed to get him as her “fortune”), Ariana was a bit baffled, even after she kept acquiring Mr. Darcy, the lucky girl! (Sigh. Apparently, I have some work to do this summer, don’t I?)
If you’d like to try your hand at making your own Cootie Catchers, here’s a link with instructions, and some beautiful examples. Have fun creating, and thanks so much for reading!
PS: What would your Cootie Catcher theme be?