CLEARWATER, FL – In December 1989, Bob and Andrea Harrison were living the American Dream. They had good jobs and a nice home in the suburbs, where they were raising two teenagers. But like most Americans, they were worried about the future.
“Those were crazy times,” Bob said. “The Berlin Wall came down, middle-class white kids were breakdancing, and we were only 10 years away from a new millennium. The world my wife and I grew up in was gone, and the world my kids were growing up in made no gosh darn sense.”
Bob and Andrea made a New Year’s resolution to instill a strong sense of family values in their kids Meghan, 13, and John, 15, by establishing a weekly family game night. And so on Saturday, January 6, 1990, the Harrison family sat down to a game of Trivial Pursuit.
“I read somewhere that kids were more likely to smoke crack on Saturdays or whatever kids were into back then, I really don’t remember,” said Andrea. “We wanted the kids to use their brains instead of frying them, so Saturday night Trivial Pursuit was the perfect solution.”
They played for several hours before agreeing to stop and resume the game the following Saturday, a pattern they would repeat for the next two and a half decades without fail. The “exact roll” rule was a contributing factor to the game’s length, where a player had to roll the exact number needed to advance to a square with no backtracking. Still, as weeks turned into months and then years, quitting was never an option.
“It was tough at times,” said John, now 40. “Game night put a crimp in my prom, planning my wedding, and being there for the birth of my first child. But as I told my wife, finishing the game was my top priority, which really came back to bite me in the ass during the divorce.”
Then last week Meghan, 38, who had collected her last pie piece in 2003, landed on the center of the board and answered the question correctly. “I felt like Sara Connor at the end of Terminator 2,” Meghan recalled. “Battered but victorious, and terrified of an unknown future.”
Though none of them are sure how they’ll spend their Saturdays from now on, the Harrisons believe game night was an invaluable experience.
“Mom and Dad wanted to teach us family values, and they succeeded,” John said. “I try to pass those values on to my children when I see them every other weekend.”
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