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Subject: Mary Hill--Legendary BGG Heroine? rss

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p55carroll
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Historical information about gaming is sparse, but every now and then a clue turns up that opens a window into what game playing was like in the past. In the musical archives, for example, we find mention of one Mary Hill, who evidently kept game night going in Cherry Hill Park, NJ, for quite some time.

Here is her story, in the lyrics of a song (with annotations):

Mary Hill used to hang out in Cherry Hill Park
The game she played lasted all day, 'til way after dark
Now, all the girls, they criticized her, but all the guys just idolized her
‘Cause Mary Hill was such a thrill after dark, in Cherry Hill Park


While the game remains unnamed, it must have been quite a lengthy one. Games like chess and backgammon would not last all day and into the dark. Also, the game was evidently popular only with male gamers, as Ms. Hill's hobby was criticized by girls. (One researcher has theorized that the word "game" is actually plural, the final "s" blending in with the following word, "she.")

Mary Hill loved to ride on the merry-go-round
All the guys got eager eyes watchin’ Mary go ‘round
Now, in the daytime, Mary Hill was a teaser
Come the night, she was such a pleaser
Mary Hill was such a thrill after dark, in Cherry Hill Park

Whoa, Mary Hill sure was fun down at Cherry Hill Park
Playin’ games with everyone till way after dark
In Cherry Hill Park, in Cherry Hill Park


Could the reference to a "merry-go-round" indicate that this game used a spinner or rondel? We also find here some suggestion that the daylight hours may have been used for filler games ("teasers") and the main game (the "pleaser") saved for after dark. Clearly more than one game was played, as the plural is used here. And "everyone" suggests that passersby in the park may have joined in.

And then one day, Mary Hill, she married away
A man with money said, “Come on, Honey,” and she said, “Okay”
She went away to play a one-man game
And since that day it ain't been the same
‘Cause Mary Hill was such a thrill after dark, in Cherry Hill Park


So, we find that Ms. Hill's marriage eventually reduced her available gaming time--something many of us can relate to. She did not give up gaming entirely, however, but turned to a "one-man game"--perhaps solitaire? Or the phrase "man with money" might suggest that she took up gambling.

Whoa, Mary Hill sure was fun down at Cherry Hill Park
Playin’ games with everyone ‘til way after dark
In Cherry Hill Park, in Cherry Hill Park, in Cherry Hill Park
In Cherry Hill Park, in Cherry Hill Park, in Cherry Hill Park


The songwriter must have been a gamer himself, as he's fondly remembering the fun everyone had playing games. His commemoration of the recurrent event is the only known record of board gaming in Cherry Hill Park, NJ--if indeed that's the place being referred to. Some have hypothesized that "Cherry Hill Park" may have been the name of a gaming club or even a coded reference to a certain game or type of game. A rather far-fetched notion is that the initial letters C-H-P might stand for Counters, Hexes, and Phases--which would mean Ms. Hill and her friends were playing wargames. The actual facts may never be known.

For those interested in hearing the song, we offer this:
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Robert Wesley
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She's a: 'succubusdriver'? whistle
 
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Gordon Reynolds
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Seriously Patrick!!!!
You think she wanted you to play a boardgame????

oops, you just may have a point...found Mary Hill from Cherry Hill Park



come on over indeed
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Steve Duff
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Heh. Nicely done.
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Gordon Reynolds
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Heh. Nicely done.

reading back now it was a bit rude.
 
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p55carroll
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rgordon44 wrote:
reading back now it was a bit rude.

What was? The song, or my post?

The song is kind of a weird, sexist ditty, and it's strange now to think it sounded perfectly normal in its day. But if Mary was playing board games in the park, that could have BGG significance. The song doesn't actually specify what kind of game she was playing. It could have been Monopoly--that's a lengthy game that could go until "way after dark."
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Steve Bauer
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She would get a sympathetic audience if she post her how here husband will not let her play games with the guys anymore but I don't think the games she was playing in the dark were boardgames.
 
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p55carroll
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sbauer9 wrote:
I don't think the games she was playing in the dark were boardgames.

She wasn't necessarily playing in the dark. She just played "till way after dark." There could have been lighting in the park, and she could have even been playing indoors or in a pavilion.
 
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Steve Bauer
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But it does implies what ever it was got better after dark, maybe they were just night owls.
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Ralph T
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Yes. Busen Memo.
 
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Aaron Neilson
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I went straight to the video to listen to the song, and it seems rather obvious to me that the lyrics are referring to "Mary Hill" as a girl/woman who was playing sexual games and not boardgames.

I did a quick Google search and found this interview...

Quote:
J: So I have to ask you, is "Cherry Hill Park," about a geographical location?

BJR: Yeah, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

J: It is! We are in Delaware so we are right next door!

BJR: I actually played at a place in Dover, Delaware called The Blue Hen. But anyway, yes, that song is regarding Cherry Hill, NJ. A friend of mine had gone to Philadelphia somewhere and looked over and saw Cherry Hill and then just said, "Hey, Cherry Hill, merry hill."


http://www.popculturemadness.com/interview/2010/Billy-Joe-Ro...
 
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p55carroll
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Hmm ... non-Geeks seem to be spoiling the joke. Guess it wasn't that funny. Oh well. Carry on.
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Marcel
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Hmm ... non-Geeks seem to be spoiling the joke. Guess it wasn't that funny. Oh well. Carry on.

I actualy think you are missing some jokes here as well.
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Scott Hill
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Actually, I'll have you know, Mary was my Grandad's Sister (on my Dad's side), and I am highly offended at the implication of your post, Ms Smile. I'll have you know Mary was clean and upstanding member of the Cherry Hill Board Gaming Club, which met in the Band House of Cherry Hill Park as mentioned in the song, and that she played a mean game of Monopoly.
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Move to RSP?
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