This week at Mocha with Linda, the Flashback Friday topic is childhood toys. I've got lots of these memories...
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?
One of the earliest toys I remember playing with was a ride-on inchworm. It was green and accordion-like, bent in an S-shape. I think it had a yellow seat, and the critter had yellow antennae and big eyes. I also had a dark brown toy box with white plastic piping that I always took off and put back on. The "lid" was made of two sliding chalk boards that I could take out (or leave in) and write on. And I remember a little metal "stove" and a tea set.
When I was older, I loved playing with Barbie. I only had a few "Barbie" dolls, but that's really all I needed. I had a case with tons of clothes in it. My grandmother would make them for me. One year for Christmas I got the Barbie townhouse. Daddy was too busy to put it together for me, so I finally got the instructions out and did it myself. I had more fun arranging the plastic inflatable furniture in the rooms and riding Barbie up and down the elevator.
Some other great toys around that time were my Easy-Bake Oven and Fashion Plates. I actually made a few things with the oven. I remember making a little cake and decorating it with tiny pink icing flowers. Another time I made a pan of brownies. Fashion Plates was great, too. There were several plastic plates that had raised tracings of shirts, pants, skirts, etc. You'd choose your style, lay the plates in the inset area, lay a piece of paper on top, close the lid, and use the length of a black crayon (in a cute little plastic holder) to make the pattern. Then you could flip the plates over and use the textures on the back when you colored in the clothes. I spent many hours designing a paper wardrobe for Barbie.
When I was a preteen and a young teenager, I loved playing with Merlin and the Atari. Pac-Man was my favorite game, with Breakout running a close second. (We always liked to watch Mama play Breakout because she'd sit on the coffee table and slide from one end to the other while moving her paddle around to stay under the ball.)
When I was alone, I'd entertain myself with books. When I had friends to play with, we'd do all sorts of things. We'd swing in someone's backyard or ride bikes from one house to another. We'd run into the pasture nearby and climb on the hay bales, then go home itchy. We'd pretend we had houses under the low-hanging limbs of the magnolia trees or the wisteria bushes, and we'd hide there and watch what went on in the neighborhood. We'd play beauty pageant (and I always lost). Sometimes we'd paint rocks with clear fingernail polish or watch our crayons melt in the sun. Or we'd play jacks or hopscotch or jump rope.
When I was in junior high, we moved out to the country. Then I started entertaining myself a lot more. I didn't have friends my own age to play with. The boy next door was older and was into heavy metal. He was nice, but we didn't have anything in common. No one else close to my age lived on my street, so I shot hoops in my driveway, read books, or played Trivial Pursuit by myself. (No one wanted to play with me after I had started memorizing the answers.) My social life existed at school and at church.
My sisters are a lot younger than me. Back then, I was the bossy babysitter and they were the annoying kids I couldn't get away from. We had our good moments, though. I'd use their LEGO Duplos to build a rambling course of a game board. We'd each choose a person to represent us on the board. Lindsay's person had black hair and a red shirt; Melissa's person was blonde; mine had reddish-brown hair and a green shirt. We'd take turns rolling a die and moving around the board. They thought that was the best game ever, though there wasn't any object to it but to move from one point to another. There were no hidden dangers or cards to draw that might tell you to move back three spaces. Just the fact that it was made with LEGOs made it exciting.
It was when my sisters were little that Cabbage Patch Kids became all the rage. They had several each, and they came with names like Xavier and Rupert or something similar. I think they each had a look-alike.
The only thing I remember wanting that I never got was a Mousetrap game. I'd see the commercial for it and think it looked like the greatest game ever. I don't know why I never got one for a birthday or Christmas gift. Nor do I know why it stands out in my mind so much. It's apparently something that's been brought up several times, though, because my sisters bought me a Mousetrap game from a garage sale a few years ago. Most of the pieces were there. I think the only things missing had been replaced with similar items that worked in a pinch. The boys and I set up the game and tried to play, but we found that if things aren't set up precisely, the trap gets set off accidentally in the middle of someone's turn. We were all a little disappointed. I think the newer versions are better constructed, but the boys aren't interested in getting one, and I don't need one.
What were some of your favorite childhood toys?