My mom played pinball. From what I gather, she played lots of it. When I brought my first machine into my childhood home, a Solar Fire when I was fourteen years old, I think my mother played it more than I did the first year it was in the house. I can remember lying in bed on school nights and hearing the now familiar sounds of that early solid state Williams game coming from the basement for hours and hours. I also got to watch my mom, who grew up a tomboy, unceremoniously tilt out on a Funhouse at our local arcade. She was a nudger, and not very lady-like about her technique. She was also adamant that Rudy was calling her a “bitch”…all these years later, I now know he’s saying “Biff”, however, I still think of my mom every time Rudy uses the poorly enunciated term. I never talked to my mother at any great length about her experiences with pinball while she grew up, but I can also remember hitting the recreation room with my aunt on yearly camping trips to play whatever pinball machine we could find. My aunt’s skill was more refined, so it must have been a popular past-time in their neighbourhood while they were growing up in the tourist trap of Niagara Falls in the 60s and 70s.
My mom passed away several years ago and my aunt several years before that. This past Easter, what remains of my mom’s side of the family came for dinner at our home, and we ended the night in the gameroom with all machines buzzing away. I couldn’t help but remember those old days when everyone would gather around Solar Fire after any given holiday dinner for a few games that got intense and very competitive in a hurry.
I miss my mom dearly and I wish more than anything that she was still with us so that she could experience, love and spoil her grandson and soon-to-be granddaughter as much as I know she would. I don’t have too many memories about my mom and pinball, I just thought it was apropos to share what I did remember, this being the day we celebrate all moms.