Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Olde House (1974-1979)...

So yesterday I found my old house on Google Maps*.  I lived there four and a half years, seemingly the totality of my childhood right up to my dawning adolescence, and it never left me even though I was forced to leave it behind (but then, children seldom have that much control over their early destinies).  I was reminded of how happy I was, and how badly time ravages even our most cherished memories.  But some things abide...

We were never especially wealthy, and sometimes outright poor.  Or homes were never the biggest or the best on any given street.  But to see the old place now in such ill repair detonates a nuclear bomb somewhere inside of me.  The roof is ugly patchwork seemingly incapable of enduring the hard southern rains, and it looks for all the world like no one's painted since we moved out in 1979.  Is it a meth house now?  Not a charitable thought, but the other houses on the street are just as pristine as they were decades ago.    

Of course, I can't expect others to care the way I did, and I have no knowledge of the current resident's circumstances.  It's really just me bemoaning my distant past...

I discovered I was a geek there - years before it was fashionable.  Star Wars was this new thing, and I think we were all scrambling to adjust.  And back then, most all of our geeky entertainments were home brew.  My brother and I drew weekly comic books for each other, ambitious affairs set in the fictional town of Creepville, Ohio.  These were loosely based on the Aurora Movie Monster kits we obsessively assembled through much of the decade, rendered in Pedigree colored pencil on notebook paper.  Amazingly, we kept it up for three years (an eternity for children) through numerous issues and several spin-offs...  

And one summer we published homemade horror magazines in the style of Famous Monsters of Filmland.  These were "professionally" published on our venerable Underwood typewriter, complete with photocopied stills from our favorite magazines, copied and re-copied by our indulgent mother and stapled along one side.  I swear it was easily the most formative creative experience of my life.  There's really something to be said for living before everything was available.  No cable, no internet.  We made our own fun, and things were better for it.  There's just no beating the purity or deep sense of ownership. 

Long story short, I discovered this thing called D&D, and it spoke to my home brew sensibilities.  Every one of them.  We moved eight months later, and by 1980 I was playing Holmes Basic in another house - in another town with other friends.  I grew up, met and married the love of my life, and discovered whole new ways to be fulfilled.  These days we publish small press games on the side, most in a manual type font.  We're Olde House Rules, and now you know where this all comes from - and what the "olde house" really is...

*Sorry, no picture.  People live there now, and we want to respect their privacy.


  1. Gosh, what were those six-armed sleestax-looking critters from Battlestar Galactica called? I remember they were eating people (or, rather, capturing folks on a "casino planet" and cocooning them in some honeycomb-like structure for later consumption). Damn, those would make a great critter for a D&D game!

    Ugh! The memory fails...

    1. "Ovions." Just found the inevitable on-line wiki:

    2. I had the action figure...good times!

    3. I did not, but I WANTED one, and I remember playing with my buddy's. The world needs more four-armed action figures!