Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Friday - Let's Play!

What toys do you remember from your childhood? What did you like to do to entertain yourself? Did you mostly play inside or outside? Did you ride a bike all over the neighborhood? Play baseball in the backyard? Basketball in the driveway? Did you have to "get permission" to play at a friend's house, or were you and your friends back and forth between houses all the time? If you had siblings, was there a distinction between your toys and theirs? Did you "inherit" any toys from older siblings? What were the "fad" or "must-have" toys of your generation? Did you parents buy them? Was there a toy you always wanted and never got to have?

As the youngest of four kids, I inherited most of my sibling's toys. Of course, there were a few things that were solely mine that I got for Christmas and birthdays.

My mom always hoped my sisters and I would like dolls as much as she did, but we never did. We had the typical dolls for the 1950's and 1960's, Betsy Wetsy and Cathy. My sisters spent most of their time playing ball outside with our brother, and I thought playing with dolls was too much work. I never had much of an imagination and "talking" for both the doll and myself was a hassle! LOL Plus, as I mentioned in the Flashback about bedtimes, dolls were too rigid to cuddle with!

One doll I did really like was Cheerful Tearful. When her left arm was up, she smiled. When you pulled her left arm down, she made a frown and a tearful noise. I eventually wore out the mechanism!

I also really liked a doll at my aunt & uncle's house that I played with whenever we went to visit relatives. She was about three and a half feet tall, and she would sometimes stand by herself. That doll belonged to a cousin that was a lot older than I was, and her mom kept it for years so those of us who were younger could enjoy it.

And I did enjoy arranging the little plastic furniture in our dollhouse.  It was a really basic metal one almost exactly like this.

For some reason, I really liked cars & trucks. (Maybe that was because I slept in my brother's room so many years!) My brother had relatively large semi-type truck. You could unhook the trailer from the cab. I remember asking for Tonka trucks and having a little cement mixer, fire truck, and dump truck, as well as a road grader. Those trucks and my brother's big truck were a permanent fixture at my folks' house many years later for the grandkids. In fact, they were in a corner of the small living room when my mom moved into assisted living. After she died, my brother took his truck back and has it on a shelf in his home office. I don't remember if I kept mine.

One thing I remember playing with a lot were our blocks. We had the best set! My dad made them and they fit in a sturdy wooden crate. Three were all sorts of sizes and shapes, and I spent lots of time building houses and other things. We also had a little plastic train set that you could connect in all sorts of different ways; it even had a little turntable for the train.  We weren't allowed to have any toy guns, but my brother did have a set of the green plastic army men that we played with and made forts with the blocks.

I gift I remember getting one year that I absolutely loved was my Spirograph. I loved making all the cool geometric shapes. That Spirograph was a really good one; years later when I saw newer ones, I thought they were really cheap and cheesy.

Outside, I loved to ride my bike up and down the driveway and when I was a bit older I got to go riding around the neighborhood. We had a basketball goal & backboard attached to the garage eave, and I remember playing H-O-R-S-E. It took a long time for me to get tall enough to get a basket! I had a pink hula-hoop, and a pair of skates that had a key. You kept your shoes on, adjusted the skates where they fit around them, and then locked them with the key. I still remember the time I stepped up on our front porch to go from one sidewalk to the other and I fell and sprained my wrist really bad.

One of the most fun things we had was a chalkboard. It was on the wall in my room, and it was probably two feet tall by three feet wide. I spent lots of time playing school, drawing pictures, and other activities on that board!  I also played jacks a lot, and it was fun a few years ago to find an old metal set and teach my girl!

My parents were never ones to buy the fad toys. We had one Barbie doll - only because my sister's friend gave her one for a birthday gift. One of my aunts and uncles did generally buy the newest thing for their daughter, who was a year younger than I was. I remember a toy they gave me when it first came out, but I can't remember what it was called. It was like a hula hoop for your ankle, and it had a cord with a ball on the end. You hopped and skipped so the ball would twirl around and you could jump over the cord and the ball. I really liked that and wish I could find a picture of one.

Jump rope, hopscotch, and my pink hula hoop were other outside activities that I enjoyed. And reading my book in our big climbing tree!

One thing I desperately wanted and which I asked for every year was a doctor or nurse's kit. I wanted to play with a stethoscope and all those other fun things. I never got to have one. My mom said in later years that she just saw it as a bunch of pieces to be strewn out all over the place or to get lost; I told her that was the point of the black bag. How she missed realizing that it came with a bag is beyond me. I guess it was just part of her disbelief that I would really be a nurse!

Other toys that we never had but with which I enjoyed playing at friends' or cousins' houses were Etch-a-Sketch, plastic bowling pins/ball, and Toss Across!

We lived in such a tiny house that there wasn't room for a lot of toys.  But we were satisfied (for the most part!). And I spent a lot of my time reading!  And we loved games and puzzles, which will be next week's flashback!  Besides, we were a lot better off than my dad was when he was growing up; they were poor sharecropper family, and my dad didn't have a single toy; he played with a stick and rocks.

Post your toy memories on your blog and link up here!

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.


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Nel said...

Wow I am first! What a fun post. I loved the Spirograph too. You could make some pretty neat pictures with it. Enjoyed your answers. Thanks for hosting this every week, it is alot of fun!
until next time... nel

Jim said...

You had some neat toys, Linda.
My dad made me some blocks like yours did. I forgot to tell about them. I also had some second hand ones.

Your mom might have been very wise. There is talk about what kids do when they play doctor and nurse. I never did play but I knew 'funny things' (really NOT funny) went on.

I really enjoyed reading about this aspect of your growing up.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Great post. You have such an intact memory. Is that an adjective? No, it is not. But it is 6:52 am. I think that unnamed toy is the "Skip It," but I'm not sure. I enjoyed my skates with a key, too, and hula hoop. Also, I had that exact metal dollhouse. Very fun meme, Lid. Don't know how you come up with these every week, srsly.

Kathy said...

I enjoyed your post very much. I always wanted one of those metal dollhouses, but never got one:( I had one of those large dolls that would stand by itself. I called her "a 3yr old doll", today she's known as "Patty Playpal". Good memories, thanks for doing this!

sara said...

I LOVED my spirograph!!!! And spent many hours working with it!!!

I was also the queen of Jacks. one of my favorite family memories is my whole family (dad included) sitting on the kitchen floor playing jacks with me!!!

Robin Lambright said...

I loved playing JAX!

I had skates just like that!

And Spirograph!!! was one of my all time favs!

Great fun remembering all the fun things for back in the day!

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I had skates like those, too. My sister and I would race on our skates in the basement ... talk about a recipe for disaster: 2 kids on skates, circling around the basement of a 700 s.f. house, jumping over furnace & washer drain pipes, grabbing the support poles to whip around those corners to take the lead ... it's a wonder that no one was hurt.

Thanks for hosting this ... so much fun!

Cindy Swanson said...

Your post reminded me, Linda...I did play jacks sometimes...and I loved Etch-a-Sketch (still do, whenever I encounter one!)

Also, my brother had tons of army men....which presaged his future in the US Marines! My sister used to absentmindedly bite the heads off them while she was watching TV.

Barbara H. said...

I loved my Spirograph, too. I didn't care for the ones I got my kids, though -- maybe it was cheaply made, I can't remember.

I never did skate very well and never had the kind with a key. Maybe if I had skated at home I would have gotten better at it and not embarrassed myself at skating parties as a teen!

I don't remember wanting a dollhouse as a child, but I really did as a grown woman! I couldn't justify it then, though -- I hope to someday have a granddaughter and have an excuse to get one.

Kay Day said...

I had a doctor's kit and it was fun, but what I desperately wanted was a Spirograph! :)

Cathy said...

Reading yours reminded me of a lot of things I had forgotten. This is such a fun post Linda.

Also, that toy you described, I think it was called SkipIt. I loved playing with one of those and a hula hoop.

Oh and anytime you're ready, let me know and I'll take you on in Jacks. lol

Have a great weekend.

Teresa Dawn said...

I also had the spirograph and Skip-It (the thing you jumped over )

bp said...

I enjoyed your post, I haven't written mine yet. I"m thinking!

CeeCee said...

Wow, I remember the Jacks tournaments we used to have! I remember also exploring in the woods without permission, skipping rocks, and climbing trees. Those were the good ole days when you didn't have to worry much. We just had to be on the porch before the street lights came on.

bekahcubed said...

We always had several sets of jacks, acquired from who-knows-where, but I never remember anyone playing with them. I do remember my mom teaching us how to play--but somehow it never caught on.

We had a chalkboard too, and I remember drawing maps of imaginary lands on it. We always had a great story to go along with the map, of course!

Great memories.

quilly said...

I had a Cheerful Tearful Doll! It is the only toy I remember my dad buying for me. Mine had a knob in the back to turn and she would make crying noises and rock back and forth! I got her with a whole layette and crib. I loved her so!

Anonymous said...

Oh...I loved the Spirograph!! In fact, I played with mine through my teenage years! I loved using different pen colors and watching the effects!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, do I love this post. I remember all of these, right down to the metal house! I write a lot on my blog about days gone by (the 60's for me). The ice cream man, shows, summertime in the 70's etc. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Nice memories! I had a doll house like the metal one shown. A chalk board on the wall in my room. (I later became a teacher!)Chatty Cathy doll, the tall doll that stood alone, those roller skates with the key, the Barbie with the hairdo (I made a house for her with books and used my brother's GI Joe as a husband for her ha ha )
The thing like a hoola hoop on foot was called here a Footsie. I loooved it!! They still make them here and there.
Thanks for this site!
Rosemarie from Montreal, Canada

Anonymous said...

I just found these same skates cleaning out my parents garage. Says Venco Peadrol Made in Canada Pat. pending. They don't look like the kind that needs a key. They must be 65 years old!