Letters from the Mailbag06 Bob Heading

This time around, some e-mails sent to bobonbingo@earthlink.net. The first letter comes from Don M. He writes to say: “Bob, I’ve been calling Bingo for about 12 years. I am certainly not bored. As a matter of fact, many people tell me they like the way I call the games. During my dozen years of calling Bingo, I have never worked on a cruise ship nor called in a big Vegas-type venue. My experiences have been at local clubs. I want to say something about the process of calling the numbers. Although I think it is interesting that many callers give the numbers nicknames—such as ‘Chicken Legs’ for B-11 or ‘Big Daddy’ for O-75—I really think that can distract from the game.
“After all, many people have money riding on the game. Anything that can cause delay or confusion can have an effect on the players. I always try to make my voice pleasant and only make complimentary comments when someone wins, no sidebars while I am calling each game.
“I know that playing at a big venue can be fun, but there can also be too much noise; and, that is not fair to many of the older players. I like to call Bingo and like to play. I wish everyone a happy time and a BIG win.”
Thanks, Don, for those great comments. Wish I could come to your venue and see you in action.
Our second letter comes from Pamela in Sacramento, California. She writes: “Hi, Bob. My mother Jennine is my Bingo buddy and we enjoy reading your column every month. Unlike many people who play at our hall, Mom uses only two different colors of daubers. She uses a magenta dauber to play with and a blue dauber to block out unused spaces in the pattern.
“I am one of those people with color daubers of many different colors. I match the color of the dauber to the color of that particular Bingo sheet. By the way, the ‘Letter X’ game seems very boring to me. So, I amuse myself by using a light color in the middle and another color on the unused spaces surrounding the middle. I play with green so that if I win, my paper has a flower and green petals.
“I also like to use orange so that the numbers underneath can be easily seen. I would be curious to see what color of daubers other people use. Pamela.”
Thanks, Pamela, for your comments. I especially like your flair for being artistic in using colors to make flower patterns. I sometimes use daubers as paintbrushes in making large, home-made greeting cards. Next month: Supply and demand.

Drop me a line on the Internet: bobonbingo@earthlink.net. And, if you don’t have e-mail, a friend says you can use his physical address: DD, Box 5441, Palm Springs, CA, 92263.


22 Garges Heading Back to Bingo

Changes often happen so slowly that they are hardly noticed. Then one day we discover them all at once and we are like, “What the heck happened?”
I ran into my friend Dotty at Mass and gave her a big hug. She had moved to Florida five years ago, but her husband’s health wasn’t good and she didn’t get a chance to play much Bingo. He has passed on now and she has moved back home. Naturally she was eager to play some Bingo. I offered to pick her up for the Sunday afternoon game at the club.
That’s when I began to realize just how much had changed since she went away.
“Could you come about an hour early, Bev? I need some time to pick out my cards.”
“…Oh Dotty, we don’t use cards anymore.”
“What? No cards?”
“It’s Ok, Dotty. You’ll like it.”
“Oh I remember, we use paper and daubers.”
“Well…No…ooo. We use computers now. Don’t worry Dot. You’ll like it. You can play up to one hundred cards with a guarantee that you won’t miss even one Bingo. All you have to do is click on the number you hear and the computer quickly scans all your cards. When you get a Bingo it sounds an alarm.”
“So, what do we do with all that free time between numbers?”
“Most of us enjoy our meal. We don’t have to wait in line at the concession stand any more, but we are expected to tip the waitperson. I personally prefer to write letters, file my nails, or balance my checkbook.”
“Would you mind playing in the barroom with me just this once, till I get the hang of it.”
“Oh didn’t I tell you. We don’t make non-smokers sit in that smelly old bar any more. Non-smokers sit in the bright airy Bingo hall with the air conditioner and bright lights. That means you and I can sit together. I’m a nonsmoker now, too. Actually Dotty, we are not allowed to smoke at Bingo any more at all.”
Before we got home she suddenly began to remember other changes. I would have preferred she had forgotten pea-shooters, popcorn flippers, name calling, and tiddlywinks. Maybe she did. All she said was. “Does it seem like Bingo payers have matured a lot in the last five years?”
I just smiled. I wonder what I ever did with my pea-shooter.

Contact Bev at bgarges@comcast.net.


28 Aunt B HeadingBingo’s Benefits

Dear Readers:
Last month, a letter appeared in this column from a reader whose family had turned to Bingo as an activity to share with older relatives. As part of my response, I reminded readers that Bingo is not just a fun social activity for seniors, but is also good mental exercise with a range of health benefits.
In this month’s column, I thought I’d expand on that theme with the following Information. I hope you find it valuable. —Aunt Bingo
Home Care Assistance (HCA) of Warren, New Jersey (908-450-9400), provides older adults with quality care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives at home. HCA embraces a positive, balanced approach to aging centered on the evolving needs of older adults.
As part of this care, HCA is a strong proponent of Bingo as a go-to game for seniors because of its health benefits. Following are five reasons that HCA senior care experts suggest that seniors play more Bingo. For more info, visit homecareassistancewarren.com.
Enhances Hand-Eye Coordination
Reflexes and coordination decline naturally as seniors age; however, certain games can help them maintain a high level of hand-eye coordination. Bingo requires players to identify numbers as they are called and mark their cards accordingly at a quick clip. Because of the speed required and the repetitive nature of the game, studies show that Bingo can significantly improve hand-eye coordination.
Boosts Cognitive Abilities
As the game requires a great deal of mental flexibility and alertness to grasp, identify and remember specific information, Bingo may help improve cognitive acuity and short-term memory. Research even shows that Bingo players perform better than non-Bingo players on tests measuring memory, mental speed and information retention.
Improves Physical Health
Bingo events typically involve a lot of laughter and excitement. As laughter triggers a number of physical changes in the body that can boost the immune system, relieve stress and even diminish pain, Bingo can actually promote seniors’ general health. If you are unable to attend Bingo games outside of the home, you may find that playing a modified two-player version with a family member or caregiver offers similar fun and laughs.
Increases Socialization
Social interactions are crucial for seniors to maintain happy and healthy lives. Research shows that seniors who take part in regular social activities tend to live longer and remain healthier than those who do not. As most Bingo players tend to become regulars and frequently get to know one another outside of the game, a Bingo group can provide an opportunity to get to know others and make new friends.
Accelerates Healing and Recuperation
Bingo may help seniors recover faster following a surgery or serious illness. According to recent studies, elderly individuals who played games like Bingo during recovery had shorter hospital stays and faster healing times. They also had a reduced risk of depression.

Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.

27 Bingsis HeadingKate Makes Smiles at Kids Bingo

Kate has always wanted to be a Mom so when Mother’s Day rolls around I try to be especially considerate of her, and think of something special we could do. This year she came up with the idea of sponsoring a fifth graders Bingo party. We rented the Grange Hall for the event but were stumped when it came to prizes. We could not give cash, as the kids were too young to gamble, besides which we had no license. We finally came up with gift certificates to the bike shop and the variety store.
We had room for only 25 players so the kids drew lots to see who would get to play. I watched one little girl who was too excited to sit and when her number was not called, she was absolutely crushed and tried to hide her tears. I quickly decided she would be our 26th player and was relieved to see the happiness come over her face.
“Where are we going to put her?” grumbled Kate.
“At the end of a table,” I said and so we did. I learned her name was Margie and she was new to the area and trying to find ways to fit in. She had played Bingo before and needed no help with the games, thank goodness, as I was busy with many others.
The gift certificates were a great hit as the bike shop has many inexpensive accessories that were clearly in the range of our one to five dollar winners.
We kept the games simple, a straight Bingo, four corners, the big cross. One little boy, Kyle, was exceptionally lucky. He won three times in the first half and was jumping out of his chair with excitement.
Kate was caller and did a good job of it, going slowly enough so everyone could get the number, but keeping the pace lively so no one got bored. She calls with a twinkle in her eye that delights the kids.
We had healthy snacks for them that even the three parents who showed up to observe approved of. One parent told me she was pretty skeptical of the games when she first heard of them and wondered why we were doing it.
“It’s to help Kate get over not having kids on Mother’s Day,” I said. “She just loves kids.”
“Oh, too bad,” said the visiting Mom. “I always think it’s a shame people who really want kids can’t have them while people who don’t seem to care are blessed with many.”
“Well we will definitely hold another Bingo session for kids,” I said. “I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.”
Too soon it seemed we were down to the last game. My little friend Margie hadn’t won and I sure thought it was her turn. She was on, but lost the on-the-way game to lucky Kyle. Then it seemed to drag on and on for the final game, but at last she won. I was so excited I was speechless. In fact, I think I was more excited than she was.
“Oh,” I said. “I am so happy you won. You get a five-dollar gift certificate to the variety store. What will you buy with it?”
“I have to think about it,” she said seriously. “But it will surely be something I can share with my new friends.” Then she added shyly “I made two friends today, thanks to you and Bingo.