Thursday, February 16, 2006

Toys We Loved

In high nostalgia mode, I looked on E-bay to see if I could re-create my childhood with a Paypal account. Turns out, I can! They have just about every toy we kids ever owned. Ringa-majigs! Very cool toy. Quite durable but painful to step on. Lincoln Logs! Wish I still had them. We actually lived in a log house for a few years. I remember trying to recreate our place in Lincoln Logs. Tinkertoys! I bet every architect and engineer my age had Tinkertoys in his or her childhood.

Is it me? Do you see a theme developing here? The toys are all in big tall cans!

The cans all had tin bottoms. I believe this was no accident of design. When ordered to go tidy up your room, parents could tell you were actually cleaning and not just shoving stuff under the bed. They could hear the plink plink of small plastic objects, or in the case of Lincoln Logs, wooden objects hitting the bottom of the can.

Looking at these pictures reminds me of putting my toys away. I learned that when putting away Lincoln Logs, you really had to put the big ones in first or you'd never get it all back in the can. The order of returning the bits to the can was true for the Tinkertoys as well, but to a lesser degree. It just wasn't an issue for Ringa-majigs.

Back in the 60's and 70's, we didn't have Gameboys, Nintendo, home computers. Its hard to explain to the children, but we didn't even have a VCR until the end of the 1979. We had these toys. We couldn't be bothered with instructions so we used our imagination. We made loads of cool things. When it all got too much, we went outside and terrorized the midwest on our bikes. I was as skinny as a rake back then.

The best toy of all was this girl. Malibu Barbie. The queen of my toy box! Her hair got cut, her poseable knees were broken and my little brother Tom scribbled on her fair arms with ball point pen, but I never thought ill of her for that.

I remember looking at the Barbie clothes that could be purchased in Woolworths. They'd be on those cards in such dazzling colours. If I had the money, my Barbie would have been the best dressed, broken kneed Barbie around.

My memory is fuzzy about how many outfits I could actually afford to purchase for my Barbies. I do, however remember making a lot of her clothes. My mom bought me a jr sewing machine one year. You didn't use real needles and thread with this machine. It used a cartridge that glued the pieces together. It seemed to work okay for a little while. The sewing machine also included some patterns for Barbie clothes. This was the very start of my interest in sewing. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I learned to use a real machine and the machine that used glue was shoved to the back of the closet or went into the basement to mildew into obscurity.

I don't know what ever happened to my Barbies. I don't remember making a conscious decision to get rid of them. I had loads of stuff. I think they went when we had a small fire at the house. The fire was just after my freshman year in high school, 1978. Lots of stuff was just thrown out and I'm sure the childhood toys went then. By the time of the fire, I am sure I thought I was far too grown up to play with dolls and they were not missed.

I have actually got a new collection of Barbies. I keep them in my closet and get them out from time to time. The nice thing about having a Barbie collection as an adult is that I can afford to get any outfits I want for them. I don't want or need Barbie castles, or cars or boats, I'm just into the clothes. Sadly, Mattel have cut back on Barbie fashions. Seems now, if you want a really good outfit for your Barbie, you have to buy the doll that is wearing it. You can get some fashions for Barbie, but there doesn't seem to be the dizzying selection that was available in my childhood. Its still fun though. The clothes and shoes are still sewn onto stiff card and covered in plastic. I love clipping the strings and freeing the clothes, shoes and other accessories. Its part of the magic.

I think I may go and bid on some Lincoln Logs . . .


Joe said...

TREMENDOUS post. I'm not seeing Barbie, though, on my browser.

Peggy said...

I hope you see Barbie soon. I've reloaded the image. Did you have any of these fine toys?

anna said...

Hey peggy
Polly looks like she is fitting in well to the family
I know a small child who would like to visit!!!