Anyone for a good game of Rooster, Canasta or Sheepshead?

by mary April 10, 2014

Making these Cracker Jack/Gumball charm playing card earrings brought back fond memories of card games I played when I was younger.

"Rooster" was a game my Aunt Ola played with me when I was very little & would stay overnight with her while my parents were out for the evening.  As I remember, you spread the cards face down on the table & tried to find matched pairs -- e.g., 2 red Queens or 2 black 8's.  I can't remember if the winner was the "Rooster" or if that was the loser, but I do remember loving it when my Aunt would suggest we play!

"Canasta" was a game my mother & her friends played when they had "card club".  They would start by watching "As the World Turns" over lunch, & then bring out the cards to play Canasta.  Sometimes, I was allowed to play with them.  You played with 2 decks, & as I remember, the red Queens were worth 300 points each as long as you were able to open before someone went out.  I remember feeling very competitive playing it at times, & some especially tense moments when someone would "freeze" the discard pile.

"Sheepshead" (Schafkopf in German was the game my parents would play when they got together with other couples, often my aunts & uncles.  For some reason, the women only played it when the men were around.  They played for 1, 2 or 3 cents a point (sometimes for 5, 10 or 15 cents), but even so, I can remember them getting quite animated at times, with long discussions on how the hand would have turned out differently if their partner had played a different card.  When I was in high school, I was finally good enough at it that I was allowed to play sometimes.  One of the most interesting things I remember about Sheepshead is that it's a very local game -- once you get outside Wisconsin (in particular, the Milwaukee area), few people have even heard of the game.

One of the things I like most about working with vintage charms, jewelry & other objects is the memories they evoke.  I often wonder what memories others have when they see or wear the pieces I make.

To see more of my jewelry, see my website at  And thanks for reading!


Filed Under: Memories

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About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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