Exchanging words one letter tile at a time

Scrabble club spells fun for grammar lovers, Wednesday afternoons, at Langley City Library

Each Wednesday, wordsmiths and conversation seekers will find a reserved table at the back of City of Langley Library – a spot where the Scrabble club is certain to meet up and play a few rounds of the classic board game.

Mary Moen, a 91-year-old Langley resident was the mastermind behind the weekly gathering, initiating the Scrabble club about one year ago.

As to why she orchestrated the social group, Moen put it simply; “I like to play Scrabble.”

American architect Alfred Mosher Butts designed the extraordinarily popular word game in 1938, which was released through Hasbro in Canada and the United States – Mattel everywhere else.

The set-up is simple – two to four players make words over a checkered board using a mixture of their own letter tiles and others previously played.

Officially facilitated by Langley City Library, who supplies several Scrabble boards to the group each week – the atmosphere is relaxed with a mix of regulars and occasional attendees looking to get in a few words.

Moen was quick to point out some of the usual players, Doreen, Francine, and Mary, were not present. “Members are not always here every week, it depends on work.”

One of the regulars, Gonda DeBlieck, disagreed with that logic.

“It’s just fun – something fun instead of work. Why work when you can play Scrabble?” DeBlieck said.

Hildegard Boenisch said sometimes she plays a game or two and the Langley Senior’s Resource Centre, bashfully admitting the library group provides some stiff competition.

“The ladies here are experts – I usually have only two or three letter words,” she admitted.

Doreen Henczel described herself as a “scrabble freak.”

“I’ve been playing since I was a child and taught my kids how to play – now they can beat me,” Henczel laughed. “Sometimes I even have a game with myself, which isn’t as much fun because you know what ‘everyone’s’ got for letters. It’s more fun to play with others.”

Tina Dorozan and Susan Walker had only come once before, but the company was so good, they ventured back for another go-round.

Read More: Knights, kings, and chess champs

“We just showed up and sat down – they are very welcoming and help you out,” Dorozan said.

Equipped with dictionaries and ‘cheat sheets,’ everyone at the table was quick to admit that none of them were professionals and the games were all in fun.

“It’s good exercise for the brain and keeps your mental state alert,” Dorozan added.

When it came time to name the word they were all most proud of making during a Scrabble game, Boenisch said she’s been able to use all her tiles while Henczel said the word “quiz” contained typically tough-to-use letters that racked up some hefty points.

Dorozan suggested the Mary Poppin’s song “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” a word her fellow Scrabble club members were quick to dispute.

To the club, of course, the most important words are the ones spoken. Every single member listed “company” as the main reason why they keep coming out for the Scrabble games.

“There’s no age limit,” Dorozan pointed out.

“And we’ve had men,” Henczel added, since it happened to be all ladies that particular day. “We’ve has ESL [English as a Second Langley) people too.”

A diversity in accents at the table saw French, German, British, Hungarian backgrounds come together; something everyone was also quick to admit brought humorous discrepancies in some of their spelling choices.

No matter a person’s skill level or background, the Scrabble Group spelled it out simply for anyone out there; everyone is welcome to drop in on Wednesdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the City of Langley Library, 20399 Douglas Crescent.

“The other advantage is that you can get books while your here too,” Henczel explained, acknowledging the rows of literature that surrounding their table.

According to manufacturers, there is estimated to be 4,000 Scrabble clubs around the world.

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