- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Clackers, Stylophones and Wanting to Look Like Madonna
A Trip Down Memory Lane...
I've been having fun delving into my memory bank for this Hub. I was born in 1960 so although I'm a sixties child, we stayed kids a lot longer in those days. I was still playing with Barbies well into my teens. I was three when the Beatles had their first hit and my Mum told me that I used to do the twist!
I remember the awful day that JFK was shot. I was three but it was the first time I'd seen grown-ups cry and it gave me a life-long 'flash' memory of that day.
I have strong memories of these toys - mainly because I only owned one out of the three of them. Nevertheless, they all had a place in my childhood and even though they're a little later - the Madonna memories were just too good not to share.
Clacker or Klackers - Health and Safety would have had a fit!
*The cutting above is not real* ...just sayin'
When I was a child, it seemed as if everyone in the playground owned a pair of clackers. Everyone except me. My Mum and Dad had listened to the negative publicity of how many kids had bruised (and even broken) wrists from playing with these deadly toys.
But how I coveted them. I watched with mounting envy as kids flipped their wrists up and down, getting the heavy plastic balls to make a deeply satisfying clack-clack-clack sound as they hit each other up and down. It was like the AK47 of the playground.
Unknown to my protective parents, I had several friends who would allow me a (very quick) turn with their clackers.
It was fabulous.
The Stylophone - David Bowie had one...David Bowie!
This tiny little piece of music-making electronic kit was the must-have toy of the late sixties and early seventies. It was (and is) a simple design - just a metal keyboard played by touching it with a stylus.
Looking back, it was incredibly ahead of its' time which is probably why David Bowie, Kraftwerk and Erasure all used one.
It produced an electronic synthesised sound but the best feature was that it was portable, running on batteries. You could stick it in your satchel and show it off at school.
Yes - we're back in the playground again. All the cool kids had one. You guessed it. I didn't.
As a parent now, I have more sympathy with my parents choice. It would drive you nuts within a few days. But again - a much coveted toy.
Requires 3 AA batteries (not included)
Rail Twirlers - ...I actually owned one of these!
I got one of these in my stocking one Christmas and played with it for years and years. We were such simple children and very easily amused. Having said that, Amazon reviewers are reporting that their kids love them so there's hope yet!
There was something very soothing about running the magnetic wheel along the rails and back again. If you wanted a little more action, you could see how fast you could go before the wheel flew off the rails.
And not a bruised wrist in sight!
The only negative that Amazon reviewers are reporting is that the LED lights up when the wheel is touching the metal so you have to be careful to remove the wheel from the rails when it's not in use, to save the battery life.
Operates on 2 AG-13 cell batteries (included)
A few more must-haves - ...before we leave the world of toys
I came across so many memories while researching this Hub. They were too good to leave out. I hope that they bring back a few happy memories for you, too. And isn't it great that they're still available. Now we get to try them out on our kids - and play with them ourselves!
Jacks - Remember Them?
Spill the metal jacks over the floor. Throw the ball up in the air and see how many jacks you can pick up before you catch the ball. Wonderfully addictive and fun!
Hours of fun with a piece of knotted string wrapped around your two open hands. I think I can still do the Eiffel Tower!
Remember getting these to walk down steps? And the horror of getting them twisted up and having to unravel them. Simple pleasures.
Etch A Sketch
Aaah - the hours spent twiddling the knobs and creating pictures. We never seemed to mind turning it upside down and shaking it to clear the screen.
What - no 'Save Image As'...?
Barrel Of Monkeys
Oh the concentration that was needed to hook the monkeys from one to the other...great for hand to eye co-ordination and improving patience!
Just a few more - ...sorry, can't resist!
I'm just going to mention roller skates here. We didn't have the kind that have a boot fixed atop the wheels. We didn't have inline ones.
What we did have was a metal plate (of adjustable length) fixed over the wheels and it had straps at the toe and ankle. We strapped 'em on over our own shoes and off we went. I remember the glorious whooshing noise that the heavy ball bearings made and the joy of finding a smooth, slightly sloping area to skate on...
Pick Up Sticks
Remember spilling the sticks out onto the floor or a table and then taking it in turns to remove one stick without moving any of the others. Gosh - we did have patience then!
Great for rainy days when you couldn't go out to play.
In Praise Of The Humble Ball
In the UK, we used to play 'two ball' up against the wall while reciting various rhymes and throwing one ball over or under (under your leg). I used to drive my Mum crazy during the summer holidays with the thump, thump, thump of the balls against the house wall...sorry Mum!
We Called This French Skipping
This was something that I didn't play - being a more 'double dutch' kinda gal. But I remember loads of girls playing it - one at each end with the elastic around their legs and other girls doing some kind of complicated stepping and jumping on the elastic bands.
A classic - played at everyone's birthday party! Still popular today!
The Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Books
My friend next door had the complete collection and I was green with envy. I thought it was a shame because they were kept in a glass fronted bookcase and she never read them. I was allowed to stroke them, reverentially on just a few memorable occasions.
Our favourite rhyme for playing two ball
Each peach pear plum
I spy Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb in a wood
He saw Robin Hood
Robin Hood in a stable
he saw Betty Grable
Betty Grable is a star
S. T. A. R
We all wanted to look like Madonna...
We all went to see Desperately Seeking Susan.
Most of us saw it several times. Seeing Madonna dry her armpits at the hand drier was one of the most daring things we'd ever seen. I did warn you that we were sheltered!
The great thing about DSS is that Madonna's look was so inexpensive and easy to copy. This could have been her single greatest PR move - ever.
Before long, every girl at the Disco had her hair tied in a piece of black or white lace usually courtesy of Mum's rag bag. We were all festooned with crucifixes, pouting our red lippy and the final, crowning glory had to be the gloves. Fingerless lace gloves, black or white. We all had them. Several pairs, actually.
Did you want to look like Madonna?
Were you festooned in lace and crucifixes?
Hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane.
I can't believe the things I've thought about...things I thought I'd forgotten.
Like how much I craved a Tiny Tears doll (after I wrote this Hub, my daughter bought me one from eBay - bless her!), how my Mum made lovely outfits for my Barbies and mostly, how much we played on our own and with other kids. We always seemed to be out and about, building dens, making tents, making mud pies for tea parties with our dolls.
Imagination is a wonderful thing and I hope that my children will look back on their childhoods as fondly as I have while writing this Hub.