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Favorite Toys from my Childhood
My first "snuggly toy" as a toddler- "Smiley"
Memories on the Shelf
Most of us have some fond memories of special toys from our childhood. Well, not only am I no exception, but I have held onto many of them over the years. (Okay, Okay...decades)
Perhaps it was partly due to the fact that I was an only child, and those toys, dolls and stuffed animals were more like companions on a lonely afternoon. They weren't just pieces of plastic, they were my friends. So although my parents persuaded me to give away many of them as a child, there were many more I still refused to relinquish.
After I became a parent years later, my own daughters looked on some of my toys and dolls with excited glee, amazed that these were toys their mommy once played with and held when she was little. I have to admit, it was gratifying for me to see my own children admire them. After all, it was one of my excuses for hanging onto some of them! "I'll pass them down to my children". But ironically, for the most part, I have still personally hung onto them. Oh, I know...it sounds selfish but seriously, my children had their own countless supply of toys that they loved (in fact, their rooms were bursting at the seams, at times) and somehow, my toys were a special part of me- a part that lived long ago. Oh, I did give them each a couple of my toys and I certainly let them play with most of them. But many still sit at the top of my closet I share with my husband, next to his own memorabilia...
Call me sentimental. Call me a pack rat. (Okay, so I'm both!) But indulge me as I mention some of my favorite toys from childhood. Not all that I mention will be ones that I actually still have, yet all will be my own memories. And perhaps you'll remember a few of these yourself!
Fisher Price Clock
This was a reassuring little gem from my early childhood. It played the tune to the very old song, "Grandfather Clock" and the hands on the face moved. One day, a few years ago, I saw the reproduction at the store of the very same one I had when I was little and I nearly cried! I knew I had to get it for my youngest that Christmas. Even though, at around six, she was getting a bit too old for that type of toy by then, I knew she was still struggling with learning to tell time and she still loved childish things. And she indeed loved it- and even more when I told her it was just like the one I had when I was little. Even earlier this year, when she was ten, I heard her winding the clock for the song so she could hear it when she was trying to fall asleep. Sigh...
Puddin' by Madame Alexander
When I was eight years old, my cousin's (twice removed) grandma gave her a Puddin' doll, a fairly realistic, life-size baby doll made by Madame Alexander, that I simply fell in love with at first sight. Her grandma and mine were sisters so word got to her how much I wanted one too. So being the sweet grandmother that she was, I received my own Puddin' that Christmas. Not only that, my my grandma had sewn and crocheted all kinds of clothes to fit her, as well!
Needless to say, she is one of my most cherished keepsakes from my childhood. When I got her out to show my girls years ago when they were just eight and five years old, they too fell in love with her. And I was astonished to feel once again those little tender maternal feelings when I held her- those first beginnings of feelings to come that one gets as a little girl, holding her doll.
My original Velvet doll
What about you?
Do you still have any toys from childhood?
"Hat's Off!" I spent hours and hours playing "Hats Off" when I was growing up. A few years ago, I dug it out and my kids enjoyed playing for hours, too!!
Perhaps some of you might remember the ever popular "Velvet" doll. Or if you don't, perhaps her more glamorous cousin, Chrissy, who's long, luxurious red hair could become a cute, short style by a turn of the knob.
I opted to ask for her younger cousin, Velvet, who sported cute blonde hair which- like her cousin- you could make short or long whenever you wished! My Velvet is getting a little older now (aren't we all!) so her hair is a bit on the frizzy side. But she is kinda cute, forty plus years later!
Here are a few of my favorite board games ( and some of these I actually still have in my possession!):
- Hat's Off!
This was one of my earliest games (besides Chutes and Ladders, which I also loved.) It was a game of skill where you picked your color and on your turn, loaded your little catapult contraption with a "hat" and shot it off, trying to aim for it to hit your own color.
When I got it out to show my own children a few years back, they had as much fun as I had with it!
- The Game of Life
Although this game is still manufactured, I still have the one I played in the early 1970s. The box has seen better days, though, due to countless moves through the years. But what's left of the lid shows a picture of Art Linkletter, a popular personality of the time ("Kids Say the Darndest Things fame) and his declaration, "I heartily endorse this game!".
My husband and kids have actually played this original board game with me and it just hasn't seemed to lose any of its appeal over the generations!
Just like the name implies, this a game of pure strategy. It's designed for just two opponents and I spent many an hour growing up playing it with one of my parents, a friend or my nephew who was close to my age. It took a lot of planning to hid your bombs in just the right place and hope your generals weren't captured!
Another game of strategy that I managed to hold onto, along with all of the ships! This game is still being sold in stores today, but has many different versions, including Lego and a kind of "high tech" kind with sound effects. But the classic version remains the best, in my opinion.
- Mystery Date
Well, they all can't be strategic or about battles when you're a little girl, right? Although now that I'm a parent, I'm not sure I would have gotten this same game for my little girls which happens to be all about dating! I guess it's just as well that this one of the few games I had which I don't have anymore. Still, I remember it was a lot of fun, opening that big, white plastic door and wondering if you were going to get the nice guy in the white or tux or the sloppy dud! And I still remember the song for the commercial!
Barbie and Ken
I had my share of Barbies, growing up, including Malibu Barbie, Malibu Ken, several Skippers, and a Mod Hair Ken who's hair- over time- got even more "mod"!
I had a Barbie pop-out tent and especially enjoyed the Barbie house that folded into a case or folded out for a nifty looking pad with modern colors befitting any friend of Mary Richards or Rhoda! She also had a friend, Francie- "Talking Francie" to be exact. I pulled her string and she would say any number of things, but usually got stuck asking a common question known to all young females- "Would you like to go shopping?"
I could go on and on about the treasured toys of my past, and probably name a hundred more! And I bet you could, too. And for most of us, it's not really about how expensive the toy from our childhood was, it's about how they made us feel. Either they comforted us, helped us escape into a whole world of fantasy, or were just plain fun. And now that we are adults with responsibilities, thinking back to our favorite toys remind us of a time when life was less complex. When our innocent selves could sit and play for hours with one toy or a teddy bear could fix our tears.
And even if our adult life is good, perhaps that's why some of us hang onto those toys. To remind us of that child we once were and to keep in touch with it, no matter where life takes us.