Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I've been playing, and loving, the game Masterpiece, since 1976, when it came out. We owned a game, my cousins owned a game, and between the two families, there have been a million turns around the board, amassing each of us lots of play money and familiarity with the art featured in the game.

Ten years ago, three of my cousins and I were all together and in Chicago, and able to walk through the Chicago Art Institute, where many of the masterpieces used in the game, are actually hanging. We all had our favorites, we remember which ones were "worth" $1,000,000 one time when we "owned" them. We remember which ones, despite the odds, frequently were forgeries. We remember when I mis-pronounced "forgery" and said, "fogery," and we remember how we've never let that joke die.

We taught our own kids to love the game, and have fun playing it wherever we're together. Somewhere along the line, we picked up extra games at garage sales, and each of us "kids" have our own game. When my mom moved from her house in Sisters, I donated the game to the thrift store. My aunt went to that very thrift store, and bought that very game, not knowing it was her sister that had donated it. When we helped my aunt to clean out her house before moving, I ended up back with the exact game I'd donated, originally.

Yesterday, was Woohoo's 22nd birthday. Her college graduation was the day before. Lots to celebrate and appreciate - much gratitude to be given for her, her birth, her accomplishments, and all that lies before her. We ended the evening with a game of Masterpiece.

The round of Masterpiece was a metaphor for each of our personalities: STM broke all the rules, he went for broke, he was able to completely detach from what the paintings looked like, and focus only on what they were worth to him. He brokered deals. He made the game his own, and unsurprisingly, won the game by having over a million dollars more than the runner-up.

I came in last place. I played conservatively. I followed the rules to a T. I bought and sold paintings based on emotion and connection, or lack thereof, to the painting. I played the game the same way I've been playing it for 40 years.

The values of the paintings are in one pile, and the paintings in another. Each new game the piles get shuffled, and are paired "randomly." There is no question that STM and I have been in "the game" before. We've been reshuffled and in different pairings throughout many incarnations, I believe. I don't know all the pairings. I don't know all the past-lives. All I know, is that together, we are a masterpiece.


kario said...


Congratulations to your amazing daughter - a masterpiece in her own right. Here's to many more adventures and game nights for you all!

Elizabeth said...

This is perfection. Congratulations to all of you.

I just love and feel so grateful that we've met, Carrie. Your words and wisdom have helped me to power and sit through my days.

Susan Crist said...

I too played and loved that game. I always felt it was a great "Art History" lesson. Whenever I see one of the paintings I think of the game. Congrats on your daughter's college graduation. It definitely takes a village.