• Document: Go. I roll the dice-a six and a two. Through the air I move my token, the flatiron, to Vermont Avenue, where dog packs range.
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Go. I roll the dice-a six and a two. Through the air I move my token, the flatiron, to Vermont Avenue, where dog packs range. TAT The dogs are moving (some are limping) through ruins, rubble, fire dam­ age, open garbage. Doorways are gone. Lath is visible in the crumbling walls of the buildings. The street sparkles with shattered glass. I have never seen, anywhere, so many broken windows. A sign-"Slow, Children at Play"-has been bent backward by an automobile. At the lighthouse, the dogs turn up Pacific and disappear. George Meade, Army engineer, built the lighthouse-brick upon brick, six hundred thousand bricks, to reach up high enough to throw a beam twenty miles over the sea. Meade, seven years later, saved the Union at Gettysburg. TAT I buy Vermont Avenue for $100. My opponent is a tall, shadowy figure, across from me, but I know him well, and I know his game like a favorite tune. If he can, he will always go for the quick kill. And when it is foolish to go for the quick kill he will be foolish. On the whole , though , he is a master assessor of percentages. It is a mistake to underestimate him. His eleven carries his top hat to St. Charles Place, which he buys for $140. TAT The sidewalks of St. Charles Place have been cracked to shards by through­ growing weeds. There are no buildings. Mansions, hotels once stood here. A few street lamps now drop cones of light on broken glass and vacant space behind a chain -link fence that some great machine has in places bent 9 10 JOHN MCPHEE The Search for Marvin Gardens II to the ground. Five plane trees-in full summer leaf, flecking the light­ In 1852 , R. B. Osborne, an immigrant Englishman, civil engineer, surveyed are all that live on St. Charles Place. the route of a railroad line that wo uld run from Camden to Absecon Island, . . .... . in New Jersey, traversing the state from the Delaware River to the barrier beaches of the sea. He then sketched in the plan of a "bathing village" that Block upon block, gradually, we are cancelling each other out-in the would surround the eastern terminus of the line. His pen flew glibly, fram­ blues, the lavenders , the oranges, the greens. My opponent follows a plan ing and naming spacious avenues parallel to the shore--Mediterranean, of his own devising. I use the Hornblower & Weeks opening and the Baltic, Oriental, Venrnor-and narrower rranssecting avenues: North Caro ­ Zuricher defense. The first game draws tight, will soon finish . In 197 1, a lina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, States, Virginia, Tennessee, New group of people in Racine, Wisconsin, played for seven hundred and sixty­ York, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois. The place as a whole had no name, so eight hours. A game begun a month later in Danville, California, lasted when he had completed the plan Osborne wrote in large letters over the eight hundred and twenty hours. These are official records, and they stun ocean, "Atlantic City." No one ever challenged the name, or the names of us. We have been playing for eight minutes. It amazes us that Monopoly is Osborne's streets. Monopoly was invented in the early nineteen-thirties by thought of as a long game. It is possible to play to a complete, absolute, and Charles B. Darrow, but Darrow was only transliterating what Osborne had final conclusion in less than fifteen minutes, all within the rules as written. created. The railroads, crucial to any player, were the making of Atlantic My opponent and I have done so thousands of times. No wonder we are City. After the rails were down, houses and hotels burgeoned from Mediter­ sitting across from each other now in this best-of-seven series for the inter­ ranean and Baltic to New York and Kentucky. Properties-building lots­ national singles championship of the world. sold for as little as six dollars apiece and as much as a thousand dollars . The .......... original investors in the railroads and the real estate called themselves the Camden & Atlantic Land Company. Reverently, I repeat their names: On Illinois Avenue, three men lean OUt from second-story windows. A girl Dwight Bell, William Coffi n, John DaCosra, Daniel Deal , Wi lliam is coming down the street. She wears dungarees and a bright-red shirt, has Fleming, Andrew Hay, Joseph Porter, Jonathan Pitney, Samuel Richards­ amp

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