Flashback Friday: Paper Fortune Tellers

This morning I took a trip down memory lane and landed firmly in elementary school.  My boys asked me to “make one of those things you do this to” and mimed what looked like a nestful of baby birds opening their mouths to be fed.

Aaahhh yes, paper fortune tellers.

Pick a color.


Another one.

Well, you remember.  Right?  I mean, who didn’t use these to get a glimpse into their futures?  I once married Oliver, lived in a cardboard box and drove a unicycle.  I also had something like 14 kids.

Thank God those little buggers were wrong, because I”m quite sure we wouldn’t all fit on the unicycle.

Yet, they obviously had a profound impact on me.  My betrothal to Oliver came back full force as I diligently folded my square into ever smaller triangles.  Turns out making them is like riding a bike.  Once that first crease was made, my fingers flew across the page on their own volition.  And I haven’t made one in about–brace yourself–3o years.

But the feeling of giddiness was still there.  Once again, I stood on the playground in a gaggle of girls, furtively glancing toward the pack of boys circling like wolves.  Of course, that was half the delight.  Letting them hear our squeals and moans as our futures unfolded.  And later, opening a fortune-teller to discover that Daniel had scratched out everyone else’s name and scribbled his in all eight squares.  I guess polygamy was alive and well back then.

These memories–the ones that ring so true we can physically slip back into time–are what writers of juvenile lit need to pull from.  Only then can we deliver an honest novel with honest characters.

So what about you?  How did you and your friends tell the future?  Did any of your fortunes come true? 

Curious minds want to know!

10 responses to “Flashback Friday: Paper Fortune Tellers

  1. You brought back so many memories there! And yes, they did resemble a nest of baby birds.

    Larking about on a ouija board as a teenager, I learned I wouldn’t get married until I was in my late forties, and my husband would be called Neville. I was utterly dismayed by the prospect of both predictions.

    But hey, it wasn’t so bad! I had a lot of fun in the meantime, and he was worth waiting for. 🙂

  2. There was the good old Jon + Becca (with last names) = True Love…you had to count how many T-R-U-E-L-O-V-Es there were. The bigger the number, the better your future!

    PS. we call those chompers and make then in church nearly every week!

    • Oh, sheesh. Middle names included? Regardless, our score is 13 without and 16 with. Is that good or bad?!?!

      I do remember the one where we made columns of things like numbers, house types, cars, careers and names. Then you picked a number and counted through, crossing off each item until there was only one left in each category, leaving you with a future (usually bleak and) almost always laughable.

      PS: And we really called them Chinese Fortunes. I was just trying to be diplomatic, especially in my post title! I do like chompers, though. Very fitting!

  3. Oh my goodness! I haven’t thought of a paper fortune teller in eons! My friends and I made them all the time with different themes. You’ve inspired me to try and make one today. 🙂

  4. I was never a huge fan of the paper fortune tellers, but I do miss the “Will go you with me? Circle yes or no,” notes 🙂

    Do people even say “go with me” anymore? What the heck did that mean, anyway?

    • LOL! What did it mean? All I remember was my mom complaining about the phrase and how it didn’t make sense.

      So, will you go with me? Circle yes if you want to hang out later or no if you want me to buzz off!

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