19 October 2010

Toy Story

online spirograph
Last summer I stumbled upon a fun blog post on a Wordless Wednesday that brought back so many fun memories, I thought I'd continue the game.

Bridget at "And Miles To Go" talked about her favorite childhood memories in "The Attic of Forgotten Toys" and asked readers to tell about their favorites. At the time, I remembered hours upon hours of Spirograph designs (which you've got to admit look an awful lot like snowflakes!!!) until the bright ink colors ran out, never being able to win a game of chess against my dad, and cassette recording my favorite songs from Radio Station KOA in Oklahoma City very late at night because that was the only time I could pick it up deep in the desert of southern New Mexico. On Saturday nights, I used to get a kick out of listening to Wolfman Jack. Google that!

This was long before Nintendo, Atari, Walkmans, home computers, cell phones, ipods, and perhaps even soccer! Just teasing. But we truly had no soccer leagues in the small town where I grew up.

I remember toys that weren't favorites but that still swirl with warm memories of growing up surrounded by six younger brothers and sisters and always having a playmate, no matter what.

I had a giant doll named Tess, I think, with a pull string on her neck and a small record player in her side. Each tiny white or pink record, smaller than today's CDs, played one or two sentences. I had to lift her dress to change the conversation from "Happy birthday!" to "Would you like to come outside and play?"

lime green KiddleI had tiny dolls in perfume bottles. Remember Little Kiddles? Oversized heads of strawberry- or lime-colored hair scented with the flavor with which they were colored.

My little brothers played for hours with their Erector Set and Lincoln Logs. But their favorite pastimes were digging holes in the backyard, playing in the dirt and building forts.

My middle sister had a doll named Chrissy, I think. We pulled her ponytail to make her hair grow long. My sister's favorite playtime activity, however, was tipping all the silver metal Oscar-the-Grouch-type trashcans throughout the neighborhood and placing boards over them to run and jump over. She went on to become state champ in the 100-meter high hurdle. Three times.

As I was remembering our playtime creativity, I realized I, too, just like my brothers and sisters, adored non-toys more than all the store-bought toys we ever had. I have still yet to outgrow my crochet hook and my camera. I hope I never do.

I had an Easy Bake oven, and I loved making up recipes. (We couldn't afford the tiny commercial packages of cake mix, cookies and cupcakes.) I loved doodling with bright-colored felt-tip pens. When my mom got a sewing machine in 1974, I pretended it was mine. How I loved to design clothes for my Midge doll, Barbie's freckled redhead friend from back before the trendy dolls had bendable legs.

For my 16th birthday, my dad gave me a CB radio and later said he'd created a monster. My most favorite of every childhood thing I owned, though, was my Polaroid camera, a Super Shooter. Eight shots per film pack. I learned to budget tightly from a very early age. I learned instant gratification, too! Snap the photo, count to 60 and voila!

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me grown-up toys to cherish all my life! And thank you, Bridget, for sending me off on a fun journey back in time!

What about you? What were your favorite toys? Did they play a roll in your character development or the hobbies you still enjoy today?

a crafter's hello


  1. I always wanted a spirograph but never got one. Now I see that as a blessing. Sometimes it is what we are not given that proves to be a gift.

  2. Oh I totally forgot about the Spirograph. My mother would get so mad when I left those little wheels laying around the house. Wow, really neat post! Thanks for bringing a bit of nostalgia back to my morning.

  3. Oh dear, I allways played with my grandmother :). With yarns and hooks and needles :D. I had dolls, but I don´t remember them....

  4. Great post! I also remember the doll with the ponytail - I did not have one but a friend of mine did.

  5. Oh, how I wanted an ez-bake oven back when I was younger!

    I loved my spirograph, though! And all my dolls. Strawberry Shortcake was my favorite.

    Btw, there is no such thing as not needing any more comments. ;)

  6. The spirograph was also one of my favs along with the etch a sketch and Barbies, although my favorite thing to do was always curl up with a book and read. When we played family games it was Mouse Trap and Battleship and Scrabble and we always had a jigsaw puzzle set up on a card table in the "rec room." Played Mouse Trap with our granddaughter a few weeks ago. Still a kick!!!

  7. What a delightful read. I had a special doll, named her Mary Ellen. Crayons and coloring books and paper dolls were favorites. Loved Nancy Drew mysteries to read, Nancy and Slugo comic books. Had forgotten about them. Thanks for the memories.

  8. Beautiful! I loved my Chatty Cathy, but the things I wanted were BOOKS!

  9. Well... sadly, I grew up in a household that didn't allow toys for religious reasons. My Mom rebelled and made me a little sock doll with button eyes and told me to make sure I kept it hidden.

    I did. I rarely ever played with it, but the lesson never left me. It takes enormous guts to stand up for what you *believe in*, especially when an organized (cult) religion is telling you the opposite.

    Instead of toys, I had books. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Original Tarzan series signed by Edgar Rice Burroughs... the Mars series by the same author... I lived for the (scarce) moments when I could lose myself in a book.

    Thanks for the insight into your world as a youngster; it's always a source of amazement to see the 'normal' growing-up world through someone else's eyes.

  10. Now I need to go get a spirograph to play with, lol. I did recently purchase Operation. :) I was never much into dolls but did save up and get a baby alive once. :0)


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