Retro House Party

It’s getting worrisome and weird out there folks.

For reliable information and updates, I strongly urge you to visit:  I also strongly urge you to double-check any information you get from other sources; scammers and trolls abound.  Even people of goodwill are unknowingly sharing material that’s useless at best, and harmful at worst.

I am unqualified to offer any sort of medical advice, but as someone who has lived through many periods of both forced and unforced house-bound-ness (is that a word?), I have plenty of thoughts about warding off cabin fever.

Yes, there will be WiFi and the internet.  You can stream, game, facetime, insta and tik tok.  And that’s just awesome, it’s crucial that everyone can entertain themselves during this odd and worrisome idyll.

But, here’s a completely radical and subversive idea—what about spending some time all together, as a family (or family of friends and/or housemates)?

Back before radios and TV, there used to be something called house parties (If you’re a fan of British historical fiction or the TV drama Downtown Abbey, you know from house parties).  For the uninitiated they were what we will all soon be experiencing—prolonged periods in one’s own home, with all occupants present.

Rather than virtual, the fun had by all was actual.  For us modern, tech-savvy humans, this can be novel, memorable fun.  But you’ve got to commit; turn off all the screens and put your phones in a drawer.

And as always, I have suggestions.

The first idea might be a bit much for some folks, but if you have smaller kids, I can almost guarantee they will love it; put on a show.  Write and perform your own skits, perform a family-friendly play, or have a talent show with everybody pitching in to create scenery and costumes.  As you put it together, the older kids will almost surely get on board.

Have a karaoke night, or even an old-fashioned singalong.  You’re a smoking singer in the shower, why not share your gifts in the living room?  You learn a lot about people when they reveal their favorite songs.  Of course, those with little kids run the very real risk of being subjected to that ear-worm from hell, Baby Shark (baby shark doo doo doo doo doo doo mommy shark doo doo…).


Board and card games.  Growing up, my family played tons of games around the kitchen table.  When we played Clue, it was like watching a movie; Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, and Colonel Mustard were as real to me as our neighbors.  A couple of my favorites are Monopoly and Life, they take hours and even be played in installments over days.  For a shorter good time, Sorry and Parcheesi.

Try a card game like Uno, or Mille Bornes, a French card game based on a road trip.  And a regular deck of Hoyle’s can be hundreds of games, like hearts, gin rummy, double solitaire and canasta (a retro game that requires two decks, but is ridiculously fun—while growing up, Petey’s family played it often).

When you get tired of all this homemade fun, have a film festival.  Choose a category like 1930s monster movies, Cecil B DeMille bible epics, Beatles movies, or have a Sharknado marathon.

Gentle Reader, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about this situation except wash our hands and stay home—it’s enough to drive you to distraction.

But maybe, to keep everybody safe and sane, try some fun, old-fashioned, homemade, distraction.

Take care, and remember: every single one of us is stronger than we know, and we will get through this.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at

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