“What else does C have to do for school today?” I asked my husband this afternoon. When the birth of our twins left us outnumbered 3-to-2, our survival parenting strategy became divide and conquer. That strategy has endured during remote learning, with my husband taking the lead on our 4th grade son’s schooling while I manage our daughter’s kindergarten lessons.
“After he finishes his writing he has to play The Oregon Trail,” my hubby responded.
“Like, the real Oregon Trail?” I asked. “The one we played as kids?”
“I don’t know, probably not. It has a website he has to go to to play.”
But to my absolute delight, it WAS The Oregon Trail that I played and loved in the early 1990’s. I remember going to a special group when I was in 3rd and 4th grade with a tall, lanky teacher. I can’t remember his name or why we went there (maybe it was to challenge us since it was all the kids I remember being with me in the “high” reading group), but I do remember that when we finished our work, we got to play The Oregon Trail on the black and green-screened computers. And I remember thinking that it was the best game ever!
Tonight during dinner our family took a journey in a covered wagon. C chose to be a carpenter and used the $800 to buy supplies in Independence, Missouri before we set off on the trail. At the first river crossing, I unwisely suggested that we try to ford it since it was only 3.9 feet deep. Apparently that is too deep to ford: we lost almost all of our food and Twin B drowned. Shortly after that I got a snakebite, followed by typhoid, and then I died. My son drowned at the next river crossing-apparently 3.1 feet is also too deep to ford. Twin A suffered from measles, a broken arm, a snakebite, and measles again before finally succumbing to typhoid. Only my hubby, all alone, made it to Oregon, thanks to some excellent hunting skills and the fact that there was enough money left to pay for the ferry across the Green River and to take the safer, faster “toll road” at the end of the trip.
The game was the same as what I remember (other than it was in color, not green and black). Push the spacebar to continue. Enter the number of the one you want to do. Push the arrow to point and the spacebar to shoot. Most of the game is simply watching the little oxen feet “walk” and reading the pop-up messages letting you know the next tragedy to strike. Nothing like the fast-paced video games of today. And yet, my kids were just as captivated and my husband and I had been when we were kids playing it 30 years ago. In my mind, it’s a classic!