To the Editors:
If I read Catherine Nicholson correctly [“Right Busy with Sticks and Spales,” NYR, June 22], she lists “conkers” among the “otherwise unrecoverable” dialect of games.
In 1970 I went to the Mayfair School in Cambridge, England, and I learned to play a game called conkers, in which children would pierce horse chestnuts with a shoestring and then slam theirs against an opponent’s until one or the other cracked.
Redondo Beach, California
Catherine Nicholson replies:
It’s a good point: the knowledge of what games children used to play is often unrecoverable to historians except by means of archival sleuthing, but the games may not need recovering at all. In that sense, childhood is a kind of intergenerational archive, tended by children themselves.