The model train, the stuffed toy, the Erector Set, the pair of skates, the doll house, a book, the board game………. and the all time favorite: the Cardboard Box.

Christmas time brings back the childhood memories in many of our favorite toys of our youth.
One of the joys for many now is watching a child playing with a toy and observing them and their imagination at play or, the best,  the privilege of being asked to help and play with the new toy.

My sister found a piece of string off the wrapping of a gift one year and pulled it around, using it a leash, for her new imaginary puppy.  She did this for months and we still chuckle about it. Most paydays my mother would buy my sisters and I a “Little Golden Book”and we all became avid readers and that memory is still talked about by my sister and I.

Did you have a favorite toy that captured your imagination and you played with for years?  Did you receive a gift that turned into a hobby, an avocation or a vocation? A chemistry set to a chemist, a bird book to a “birder”, tap shoes to a dancer, an Erector Set to an engineer……?

Do you have a child, grandchild that plays with a toy that is older than 3 days? Or has developed an interest from that toy?  A paint set to a lover of art?
Or a string and imaginary dog in to dog trainer?  lol
Do not let this memory limit itself to Christmas, use that ample imagination of a child.

During this time of year, let’s take a few moments away from politics, war and our personal problems and share some smiles with each other.

Happy Holidays!

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javaz
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B’ito,
As you know, I’ve been having a hard time recently, but I really do thank you for this wonderful walk down memory lane.
I didn’t think that I could find the joy of Christmas this year, but I have, and it’s because of this thread by you.
And I really mean that.
I hope that you are having a good Christmas Eve, and that you are feeling well.
Connected with Kalima this morning, and that made my day, plus finding out that KQuark was being released today from the hospital and then the good news – keeping fingers crossed – about Emerald’s sister, well, it’s turning into a happy Christmas Eve, and I hope it is for you as well.
Sorry to hear that your brother is driving you nuts about his scooter being stolen, but that’s what families do – drive us nuts – and thank God for that!!!
Merry Christmas to you.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Since I was barely here yesterday and missed all the fun– I want to add my memories too.

Dolls, dolls, dolls, were my main thing. But before I get into those, I want to share about something that gave my husband a good laugh at my expense. (not really my expense, but anyway…)It’s relevant to this story that he is 8 years younger than me, so our toys weren’t exactly the same vintage.

I was reminiscing about my toys and mentioned how I used to play with Mr. Potato Head. He said he liked that too. But then I told him that it was important to get a well-shaped potato, he started laughing uncontrollably, because he never knew that the original toys were meant to be used with real potatoes! He said he imagined something out of Dickens– a small little girl asking her mother for a potato to play with. But honestly, it was fun sticking the eyes and lips into potatoes!

Anyway, the dolls. Of course, Barbie– the ORIGINAL. But way before her were Betsy Wetsy (a doll that peed), Ginnie Dolls (kinda like Madame Alexander dolls), Poor Pitiful Pearl (a homely, pathetic doll with a tragic expression), Chatty Cathy (a talking doll with pull-cord, who wanted to be my friend), and my very first doll. This first doll was unique because it was a baby doll with 4 faces. it wore a baby hoodie and if you rotted its face, it had a different expression: Sleeping, smiling, crying and laughing. Cool!

Finally, to make this long story longer, the story of my African American doll: This was in the fifties and they didn’t make AA dolls. Here’s the set up. Like most kids in that era, my neighborhood was pretty de facto segregated, and their were very few black people. I only saw them rarely and at age 3 or 4, I thought they were made out of chocolate, so I loved them. Anyway, for my fourth birthday, I told my dad I wanted a “chocolate doll.” He knew what I meant, and damn if he didn’t manage to find a beautiful African American baby doll! I loved that doll, and as I grew up, understood how difficult that was in 1954. And I still am so grateful to my parents who raised me to fight for racial equality and civil rights.

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javaz
Member

Wow, Cher, thanks for sharing.
I forgot about Mr. Potato Head – we never had that – but you are correct, it did require a real potato.
I remember from the commercials, but also remember that they still sell that toy, but use a plastic potato.
What an interesting life you have and have had.
Wow.
You should write an article about your life, including your childhood and marrying a man 8 years your junior.
Are you still married and if so, for how long?
Or is that too personal to ask?
Merry Christmas, or is it inappropriate and should I say again, Happy Hanukkah?
I have no idea, but Happy Winter Solstice to you!!!
🙂

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Chernynkaya
Member

Guess I can’t even have one glass of wine and blog– I forgot to refresh the page, and had no idea there were replies– Sorry!

Anyway, Hiya Javez– Merry Christmas! Nah– not too personal. This is my second marriage, and yes, still married for three years, but we’ve been together for nine. I have one son (30) from my first marriage, and he has two girls that live with us– ages 15 and 18– Gorgeous Eurasians– He’s Chinese, his ex is from Spain.

Someday, I’ll have to blog about being married to someone from such a different culure and about being such an older woman!

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javaz
Member

Heavens, I’m on my 3rd beer, and um, what were we talking about?

Hey, do you or anyone else like Josh Grobin?
Is that his name?
What a cutie-pie, and what a voice, imho.
Listening to him now and loving it.
(did you see that my husband joined?)

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Chernynkaya
Member

HAHAH! I don’t know– toys?

I like Josh Grobin– amazing voice! I have one of his songs on my iPod– The name escapes me but “I am strong, when I am on your shoulders…” That one.

Yes– I am working my way through the older posts now, but I did see that dgraz is among us– hooray!

Anyway, I am a notoriously cheap drunk.

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Pepe Lepew
Member

I dunno, Christmas was always really weird for me as a kid … for reasons I posted a few days ago.

All I know is we have *this* in hiding in the garage, behind the camping equipment, for Kiddo:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B0000XMSWK/sr=8-12/qid=1261621762/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=165793011&s=toys-and-games&qid=1261621762&sr=8-12

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kesmarn
Admin

WOWWOWOWOW! I’ve got a 24 year old Kiddo who would kill for one of those!

‘Fraid not this year, though, honey…. sorry…

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Pepe Lepew
Member

This thing is a BEAST!

130mm lens!

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kesmarn
Admin

Dare I…dare I ask…ball park figure on the cost of one of these beauties?

The Kiddo Son has been researching them, but hasn’t mentioned a price point.

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Pepe Lepew
Member

$399, but we got a deal on free shipping and handling.

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kesmarn
Admin

That’s actually not as high as I was fearing. Guess it’s a little late to start shopping now, though! 😮 That would definitely have to be a “whole family” gift. But it really does look like a lot of fun. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never in my life looked at the moon through a telescope. Kinda pathetic, really…

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Pepe Lepew
Member

Because if you look at the moon through a telescope, without a very thick filter, it is *incredibly* bright. We got moon and even sun filters for this beast.

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nellie
Member

Is that true, Pepe? Why is that?

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Pepe Lepew
Member

Actually, you look at the moon through a telescope without a filter, you *will* go blind!

Supposedly, you can see other galaxies with this beast.

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kesmarn
Admin

b’ito, I just got back home and have to throw in my two cents worth on this great memory thread. (See? There are more of us weighing in all the time! You and j’avaz are not alone.)

My early childhood Christmases were much like all of the other Planeteers. The “ah-hah” one came a little later. It was the year I turned 16, and through much of the year I had been working a pretty crumby after-school and weekend job, which involved (among other things) mopping floors and cleaning the rodent cages at a medical lab. I was trying hard to save enough money to get the one thing I really craved that year…an acoustic guitar. It was slow going. What with trying to keep my grades up so that I could get a college scholarship and working, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself because I had so little free time. And–natch–I had to part with some of that “hard-earned” to buy presents for my family.

To this day, I still wonder WHY I was so stunned to find an acoustic guitar under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. But there it was! I mean, it isn’t as though my parents didn’t KNOW I wanted one. I was whining about it all the time! But, for some reason, it never occurred to me that they would actually get it for me!

I still have that guitar. I played and sang in a trio in high school, and even when I was by myself, I could take my trusty guitar down to the river near our house and soothe away a lot of that teenage angst and those blues that feel so real when you’re sixteen. And look so trivial in the rear view mirror!

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Tiger99
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Oh Cool!!! Check This Out!!! This site should bring back memories for all!!! http://www.skooldays.com/

Click on the Toys link and you can see them by Decade… I am checking out the Saturday Morning link now!!!

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javaz
Member

What a fun site, thanks!
Have bookmarked it for later, since my husband and I are going to go out and drive around to see the lights in downtown AJ.
If you knew Apache Jct, you’d understand the humor to that.
Then we’re going to our neighbor’s to exchange gifts and watch ‘Four Christmases.’
This will be a late night for us, since we are usually in bed by 7:00 and asleep by 8:00!
Hey, we get up really early . . . 🙂
Have a great night everyone and hope to see you tomorrow –
Christmas Eve!!!

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Tiger99
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Emerald1943
Member

Hey javaz and bits…. you are not alone with the memories. I have been thinking a lot about my kid sister day, the one who is so terribly ill. I remember when we first got bicycles…she got a shiny green one and I got a red one..Schwinn bikes by the Christmas tree. I also remember as a pre-teen when Santa Claus brought me a little record player for “45” records, something the kids today wouldn’t recognize. I had quite a collection of early Elvis’ singles!

We used to have parties at the house and invite all our friends. My grandfather would pack a big washtub full of ice and the original Coca-Colas in the glass bottles. We would drink cases of them and dance to our records in the early days of rock ‘n roll! Great memories!

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javaz
Member

Isn’t it nice to remember what Christmas meant as a child?
I remember not being able to sleep the night before and how long the night was until morning.
I was always so excited and loved when my parents would put the tree up a few days before and how they’d decorate everything so pretty.
My mom would bake cookies and my brothers and I would frost them, and oh, the fun we had eating the broken ones, because you know, you couldn’t save the broken ones and it was amazing how many cookies were broken!

I love the memory of getting up early on Christmas Day, and putting on a new dress with new shoes for mass.
We’d go to the 8:00 clock mass that morning and then come home and have a breakfast with ham or bacon and eggs.

It wouldn’t be until 10:00 or later that we could open gifts, but my father made a huge production out of it.
He’d sit on the floor by the tree and hand out a gift at a time and we’d all watch as the person tore off the paper and then we’d all ooh and ahh over each present.
It made the gift opening last for a couple hours and that was so much fun.

Then afterward we’d play with our toys, some times as a family depending on the game while the turkey baked and the football game was on the TV.

This piece by b’ito has really brightened the holiday for me and I appreciate it.
The memories are sweet and I’m so grateful to have them.

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javaz
Member

This post has me thinking – yeah, thinking for me most times leads to trouble – but I’m so glad that I didn’t grow up in the era of video games or other electronic toys of today that require very little imagination or thinking.
My brother had the imaginary dog, and he fashioned a wire and wound that with ribbon for a leash.
My brothers also had board games galore, and one of my favorites was ‘Dogfight.’
We didn’t grow up with the kitchens or forts they sell nowadays, but we built or own using cardboard boxes and large round barrels that ALL laundry soap used to come in.
We weren’t athletic kids, but we did play badminton and croquet in the summer, and then in the winter, we’d build elaborate castle/forts from snow.
The movie ‘A Christmas Story’ about the Red Ryder BB Gun most closely resembles my childhood right down to the neighborhood.
We did have a TV though, black and white and it had tubes that would burn out and my dad used to remove them and take them down to a place for replacement.
At Christmas we had the aluminum tree with all blue bulbs and the rotating color discs, and I always thought that tree was so pretty.
Ah, the good old days.

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javaz
Member

Did anyone else love playing with cut-out dolls?
They cost maybe 25 to 50 cents, and it would take me hours to cutout all the paper outfits, and my favorite paper doll was the Lennon Sisters, since the package they came in folded open and part of it was the inside of a house with the half-doors and then the other section of the tri-fold was a horse stall with a pasture scene in between.

Did anyone else play with Colorforms?
My brother and I used play for hours with one in particular – Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound, oh yeah, and then there was another really cute one of the 101 Dalmatians.
Those were such cheap things, yet we loved them.

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Emerald1943
Member

Hi Javaz!

Heck yes, I played with “paper dolls” when I was growing up. I am probably a few years your senior…and came along before the Lennon sisters. But we did have Miss America to pay with! My sister and I spent countless hours holding our own pageants and beauty contests. Cheap toys but worth a million in memories!

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Tiger99
Guest

When I was 9 my Grandfather gave me a harmonica kit, back in the day those things came in a big box with a 45 RPM instruction record and a nice book to accompany the record… I still have that harmonica and occasionally use it on Stage to this day… So yes it has become a major part of my life…

One of my fondest memories of Christmas when it comes to my children is the year when my son was 4 and everyone(Grandparents/Aunts] all had purchased expensive Big Toys most of which were for older kids… I gave him some plastic dinosaurs, just plain ole plastic dinosaurs that didn’t growl or move you know the kind where a kid gets to engage their imagination with to play… He never played with the other toys all day ,just the dinosaurs using his imagination (growling, fighting with them, eating the plastic army men)… Well, this eventually offended my “Manson In Law” and her aggravation of the fact he was totally ignoring her 100 dollar robot and that it upset her to the point of actually coming up to me and saying “I hate you” has giving me a great deal of self gratification… Heh Heh Heh…

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javaz
Member

Hiya B’ito!
Very nice post and timely.
My favorite childhood toy was Barbie and anything and everything Barbie.
I received my first Barbie when I was 4 years old and continued over the years to receive other dolls, such as Ken, Midge, Alan, Scooter, Trixie and Barbie’s cousin – Francie.
I even had Barbie’s poodle and cat!
Plus a Barbie car.
Back in the day, there was a store SS Kresge that later became K-Mart and they sold knock-off Barbie clothes for a fraction of the price of the genuine Mattel clothes.
The thing that appealed to me as a child was the imagination of playing with the dolls and making them have successful, perfect lives.
My Barbie wasn’t a nurse, but a doctor, and Ken was an airline pilot.
I had to force myself to pack my dolls away before I reached 13 years old, because no one was playing with dolls as long as I did, and it was my little dark secret.
Every year I’d take all the dolls out and change their outfits, and I did that until I was 18 years old!
To this day, I still love walking down the aisles of toy stores and admiring the dolls and all the accoutrement that go with them.
My imagination still takes me back with envy when I see the Barbie RV camper or Barbie house with pool.
I used to use old tissue boxes and make a bathtub and break them up and make appliances with construction paper and glue.
My parents always said the money the dolls cost and the dollar or two for a new outfit for them was well worth it because it kept me busy for hours and hours on end.
I still miss my childhood when the dolls were my fantasy world.

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