“We were told beforehand that pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters were inside, thus no broken teeth nor Heimlich maneuver ever occurred.”

My wife and I were sitting around talking about the old days as we often do. I asked her if she’d ever heard of a money cake. She hadn’t. Telling her what this cake was, Joleen said it must’ve been a southern thing, because it was unheard of in Alma or Grinnell, Kansas where she mainly grew up. I wouldn’t know money cake logistics, although I believe it only happened for me in Selma, Alabama.

Years ago, I attended at least two birthday party’s where someone’s mom baked coins inside cakes. I guess these days it’s still done although the change is enclosed in foil first. Back then, coins were dropped into cake dough unwrapped. Supposedly, 350 degrees took care of any germs.

We were told beforehand that pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters were inside, thus no broken teeth nor Heimlich maneuver ever occurred. Those party goers getting a quarter in their slice became the lucky ones. Twenty-five-cents in 1960 is almost equivalent to a couple of bucks now.

Another birthday game we played entailed dropping clothespins into a milk bottle while standing on a chair. I was good at that, because my brother and I practiced at home before going to a party. We kept a milk bottle and clothes pins on hand.

“Pin the Donkey On a Tail” was another fun game. Name is switched around here to make sure readers are awake. I was a pro at this, unless of course I was twirled around first before doing the pinning. At this point, nausea took over with me not knowing up from down. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered vertigo caused this. Merry rounds even gave me an extreme case of dizziness.

There’s one childhood game in particular I played, that I’ve never heard anyone else mention. Joleen says she didn’t take part in anything like it. I only went to one party where this event happened, and that was at Soapstone Creek in Selma.

Kids were given partially inflated balloons, and the object of this game was to sit on them until rubber popped. When balloons are underinflated that’s hard to do. The first participant popping their balloon wins the prize. I only recall this event because I couldn’t get mine to explode. Whatever adult having invented this game must’ve been tormented as a kid, and wanted some retribution.

Birthday’s have changed considerably since I was a boy. Children now play electronic games, along with tossing beanbags into round holes. In the south, that’s called cornhole. I’m sure it is in Kansas as well. There’s even an electronic version of “Pin the Tail On a Donkey.”

If I could go back in time and attend any one party, it’d be that one where we tried popping balloons using our behinds. Knowing what I do now, I’d take along a sharp pin to quickly finish things off, celebrating my win of course, with a slice of chocolate money cake, loaded to the icing with shiny quarters!

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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