Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random Things From My Childhood Part 8

Random Things From My Childhood
Part VIII

1. Fisher-Price Little People Merry-Go-Round



This was one of the sweetest Little People sets. It played music, it moved, and (if grouped with the Ferris Wheel and the Swing Ride) it could give your Little People a pretty decent carnival experience. Both this and the Ferris Wheel were operated by an angry-looking little boy with a baseball cap who was basically stuck to the device, doomed to operate it for all eternity (hence the angry expression, I imagine.) Mine eventually broke, but I still have it. If you wind it up it spins around maniacally and plays the song super fast. Which is actually kind of perfect because I'm thinking of starting a Little People Carnival Of Doom.



2. Domino Rally



So the commercials for this line of toys made them seem AMAZING:

But in actuality, Domino Rally kind of sucked. The dominoes would fall down easily, plus they could break off the track if you played too roughly, and by the time your Christmas tree was put out to pasture and the last cup of egg nog was consumed, you typically just had one large plastic disaster.

But those commercials... oh, they were epic....



3. "I learned it by watching YOU!"



So they used to play this anti-drugs PSA during the commercials of Saturday morning cartoons. So imagine me, probably 4, watching Flinstone Kids or whatever was on back then, and seeing this commercial weekly and not knowing what drugs even were.  Just knowing that the dad was angry about something in a box. But today I view the commercial with a certain amount of fondness. Check out Dad's epic mustache! Plus, it's a great thing to shout when someone questions your actions.

Mom: "Ugh, why did you have to go and track muddy footprints through the house..."
Me: "I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU."



4. Play Dough


Play dough was fun and all, but the thing I disliked about it was that if you forgot to put it away properly -- and let's face it, I usually did -- it would dry up and have to be thrown out. And quite frankly, I don't think that's a good quality in a toy. Toys should be durable. They should last the night, at least. (You hear that, helium balloons?)

There are just a handful of other childhood toys that I remember "going bad" through my own neglect. A Little Golden book I left out in the treehouse, which got rained on and warped. A Sweet Secrets toy that played music -- again, left out in the rain and killed. A Spiderman toy I dropped over the fence and never saw again. Yes, these instances were all sad. But not as sad as the fact that every time I received play dough, one of the following would happen:

*I'd mix colors and it would have to be thrown out.
*I'd neglect to press the lid on tightly and it'd have to be thrown out.
*I'd get it everywhere -- under my fingernails, in the carpet, etc., and every last container would be thrown out (or donated to poor farm animals in third-world countries, I don't know.)

Sorry, Play Dough, I wish our memories together were a little happier!



5. Tin Can Stilts



I hesitate to even try to claim these as part of my childhood, because even 100-year-olds can claim them as part of their childhoods. But as I don't know any 100-year-olds who blog, I guess I'll take one for the team and say that these were super fun -- and fairly easy to make -- assuming you could get a hold of two big old coffee cans (not so easy for a kid whose parents didn't drink coffee, but hey), a couple of nails, a hammer, and some string.

Then you could go clomping around, feeling all tall and important.



6. Christmas Ornaments That Did Stuff



Christmas ornaments were always fun to look at, but as a kid -- and, oh heck, even now -- ones that had moving parts or that did something were the very best.

I'm talking about those bubble lights full of delicious mercury.
Those Hallmark ornaments that played music.
Ornaments with little doors or mailboxes that could be opened.

Once I started becoming aware of the existence of awesome ornaments, the rest of the ornaments could just be left in their box, really.



7. Tomy Wonderful Waterfuls Basketball


Remember the Waterful toys? They had all sorts -- ring toss, tic-tac-toe, rings-around-the-shark-nose. We owned the Basketball one. You'd press the blue buttons and a jet of air would propel the little ball through the water into/through one of the two baskets. There were also dials for keeping score but I can't remember ever keeping score. I can remember getting sore thumbs. A good prep for Gameboys in later years.



8. Soft As A Kitten (Book)



My brother and I loved this book because it was one of the only books we had that offered tactile experiences. I guess the subtitle tells it like it is: there was a scratch & sniff page, a page with a warped mirror, pages with stuff you could feel, and our favorite page -- one that let you pull back two tabs shaped like leaves and discover bugs hiding underneath. We would literally fight over who got to "open" the leaves.

Who is hiding here? Peek under the leaves and see.

Then one day, my cousin and I had the book while we were riding in the backseat of the car, and one of us decided to try reading the book backwards. (We were probably seven.)

See and leaves
The under peek
Here hiding is who

And then the Underpeek became a thing, and it induced many, many giggles.

Thank you, Soft As A Kitten!



9. Tinker Toys



Tinker Toys were around throughout my childhood, though they were always kept in a special cupboard and brought out only once in a while. We had the wooden ones, and they were easily broken. Sometimes you couldn't get the sticks into the holes and sometimes you couldn't get them out of the holes once they were in, and in the end you might be able to make some kind of Ferris Wheel -- or you might not have enough pieces of the right size to do so, so you'd end up with a lame windmill, but hey. Like I said. They came out only every once in a while. So they were special.


10. Piñatas


Let it be known that the only thing I like about piñatas is eating the  candy.

I don't like waiting my turn.
Don't care to be blindfolded.
Not a fan of being spun.
Ain't keen on trying to hit something I can't see while everybody laughs.
Not particularly fond of watching a donkey lose its head.
And then the aftermath: Candy falls and everyone jumps in a pile trying to grab what they can and you get an elbow in your eye and when all is said and done you end up with a fistful of licorice-flavored toffee and a lollipop, the latter of which you have to fork over to a crying 3-year-old who "didn't get any" candy because she was too meek to get in said pile.

Gee, you would think I had a childhood full of bad piñata experiences.

AND YOU WOULD BE RIGHT.

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