Did you ever go to church to play bingo? My Nana did, and so did my Aunt Ella. As a matter of fact, I knew several older women who would visit the church basements of New Bedford to play bingo quite regularly. It seemed as though there was a bingo game almost every night somewhere.

Most of the bingo-playing ladies I used to know are gone now and it seems most bingo games are as well. It's rare to see a bingo game these days. With the advent of the regional casinos with more lucrative bingo and other jackpots, it became difficult for the churches to compete. Not only that, many of the churches that featured bingo have gone out of business.

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I confess that in the 1970s, Nana and Aunt Ella invited me to a few bingo games. I suspect they needed transportation, which I eagerly provided.

Who can forget when the bingo caller roared out "B-4" and the entirety of the St. Anthony's basement bingo mob replied in unison, "AND AFTER!"

I learned about daubers playing church bingo, as well as how to make a "V" and a "B" and how to fill up the whole card to win – not that I ever won or anything, but Nana and Aunt Ella did.

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Church bingo players are superstitious creatures. Nana had about a dozen or more lucky charms she would place on the table before the first game was called. Usually, the lucky charms were elephants and the elephant's trunk had to be pointed towards to door to maximize the luck.

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The Massachusetts Lottery lists all of the licensed bingo games by the community on its web page. There are no games in New Bedford, though New Bedford's Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on North Front Street, which recently closed, remains on the list.

Should you decide to partake in a little old-fashioned bingo action, have fun, and don't forget to point the elephant's trunk towards the door for luck!

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