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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Monkey Spears Wars

When I asked who had played "Apple Core" "Baltimore" "Who's Your Friend," "Anne in the Kitchen" asked me if I had ever played "Monkey Spears War." I had not and asked her to explain it. She did:

"Monkey spears are the dried remnants of a weed that grows very well here. They are about 2 1/2 inches long with a little barb on the end. It will not penetrate skin but hooks nicely into clothes. The rules were to have one official caller who would yell BEGIN. You had until she/he yelled stop to gather your weapons. Then you divided into teams and waited until the leader yelled WAR. You battles until everyone was out of weapons then you counted the number of monkey spears stuck in your clothes. The totals for each team were added and the team with the most "kills" won. It helped if you lived on a street with one lot that had not been built so the weeds would grow. When our neighbor finally built his house our source of ammo disappeared."

That night, I told exbf about the game. He became very excited as soon as I said "Monkey Spears Wars," saying that, yes, he had played the very game and knew what the weed was by sight but did not know the game.

No, did not know them by that name and never played that game. He only became excited when I described the weed.

Is it possible that this game is only played in Birmingham?  Maybe they lived on the same street. As soon as I see him, I will find out and report back here Tuesday afternoon.

The very night I wrote the post, The Andy Griffith Show had the episode where Opie and the other boys played "Apple Core." A bully was the one calling the game. Afterwards, he took an apple and broke out a street lamp. He dumped all the apples in Opie's arms and ran away. Of course, Barney showed up immediately after the other boys ran off.

By the way, Anne in the Kitchen is not the name of her blog, so you will arrive at the right place following the link.

Your turn
Have you ever heard of or played Monkey Spears War? If so, where did you play it as a child? Do kids still play it? Do you know what kind of weed it was? Do you remember the Andy Griffith episode where the bully played "Apple Core"?  Anne, In what neighborhood or on which street did you live?


  1. I grew up in the suburbs of Birmingham. When I was a kid almost every street had a lot that had been purchased but the owners had not yet built. Whatever the weed was, it grew on the fringes of the wooded lots and as I remember you only got the spears in the fall. The weed itself grew to bout a foot and a half in length. When we first moved to the street my parents lived on there were only about 5 houses so for a couple of years we had great ammo supplies. By the time the last house was built I had traded in monkey spears for boys.

  2. Anne,
    I talked to exbf. He said he knew the weed and the spears. However, he said they did not play with them, just pulled them out of their clothes and socks when they came in. These grew in his yard and on the other side of the fence in the alley. He said there were lots of bushes and trees in his yard.

    He grew up in West End before the Block Busters changed the neighborhoods.


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