Thursday 13: Vintage Toys
Sorry for my absense of late. I’ve had the stomach flu and have stayed home from work for the last 3 days. You’d think that would give me plenty of time to blog, but I didn’t really feel like it. Someone needs to invent an illness that’s just contagious enough you can stay home from work but not so bad that you just lay around doing nothing for 3 days. Why do we have trouble just letting ourselves rest and recover? I didn’t do one single productive thing, but the last day or two I just kept thinking about all the housework getting neglected, reading I could be doing, etc. (As if I could really get anything done with my head spinning anyway).
Well for this week’s installment, I’m going with something easy so I can go to bed and get to work tomorrow…..How about a trip down memory lane?
Thirteen Toys I remember from my childhood(and I’ll see if I can google some images for those of you who didn’t grow up in the 70s and 80s).
1. Barbie Dolls. I have a love/hate relationship with these toys. (And I just erased the beginning of a long essay on the subject. That’s for another day; for now I’ll just stick to the quick list). The first Barbie I remember getting new was Suntan Barbie, complete with tan lines, I’m sure that would be a complete faux pas to produce these days. My sis and I had Barbie’s dog (trivia…anyone remember her name and breed?), a Barbie car, several varieties of Barbies, and only one Ken doll to share between the two of us. I believe my favorite Barbie was dressed in gold lame (couldn’t find her online). Here’s a pic of Western Barbie, who winked when you pressed a button on her back (Not my favorite, but I did find a pic. It was given to me by a friend at school who apparently had a younger sibling who had chewed part of the plastic eyelashes off).
5. Sea Wees and Babies. Mom ran across these about a year ago and we had to look up their name; it had been that long. They were little plastic mermaids with matching babies. In the later years they had cute little animals too. They came with a lily pad like sponge with holes for them to sit in.
6. Crystal Gayle 8-Tracks (and Abba, and may others). I wanted to be just like Crystal when I grew up. I do remember doing lots of singing. I didn’t remember this, but my sister said it was into the end of a fan cord. And they had to make a rule about no singing at the table or in the car. I would make signs and have concerts in the living room. I’m sure my parents grew so very tired of “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue” but I could still sing it completely to this day.
7. The tree swing in the back yard. I do remember spending lots of time swinging there. There was a wonderful view of our place out in the country and I could sit there and swing without my brother complaining or making rules about no singing.
8. A Kodak disc camera. Not really a toy, but I remember getting this in 6th or 7th grade and I was a shutterbug even then. I took about 50 million pictures of my cat.
9. We had the Fisher Price Little People yellow house, barn, school and airport. Though most of them were well used by my brothers by the time Tracy and I came along, we still played with them quite a bit. Again, I think I liked decorating the house and arranging furniture the best. We’d set out all the furniture and people and take turns picking who got what. (BTW, we even had a few Little people who were made out of wood, not plastic – gasp!).
10. Along the same lines, we had a play Kentucky Fried Chicken (I don’t remember anyone calling it just KFC back then) complete with the Colonel, table, chairs, cars for the drive through and trays that fit into these little slots on the front of the people. (Ironic thing was that back then, KFC was a special and very rare treat because my dad and I were the only ones that liked fried chicken). I actually found a picture on eBay. The people were made just differently enough that you couldn’t interchange them very well with the Fisher Price ones. They were squishy rubber instead of hard plastic. And while FP people sat down in a hole, these guys sat on a convex bubble (I think they did that on purpose). Oh yes, I’m just reading the box and it says that they are finger puppets.
11. I remember getting this Tree Tots treehouse for Christmas one year. Isn’t this a cute idea….70’s decor within a cute little mushroom shaped tree house. What retro furniture! And when you were done, you could just shut the leaves down and carry with the handle. You can’t see it in this pic, but it even had a garage “carved” into the plastic tree trunk.
12. Remember colorforms? I’m sure they’re still around, I just don’t remember seeing them much lately. I don’t remember for sure, but it seems like we had this Holly Hobbie version. Seems like I remember playing with that big blue hat. Of course we also had Holly Hobbie sheets, so maybe I’m just getting that confused. No, the more I look at it, I’m sure we had this set.
13. Our play kitchen. One year for Christmas, my parents made Tracy and I a nice, big play kitchen. It was quite clever really, with decorative painting by my mom, and woodworking by Dad. It featured a range with milk jug lids as the knobs, a sink with a real removable dishwashing basin, lots of shelves, and an oven and fridge with doors that opened. It was pretty big too as far as play kitchens go. Come to think of it, it’s almost bigger than my kitchen now. Maybe I can dig up an old picture of it.
So I’m curious to hear feedback. If you’re from my generation, what toys do you remember? And mom, dad, and Tracy, am I leaving any out?