From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Christmas toys
Our children and grandchildren have grown up, and our great- grandchild isn’t a year old yet, so Lyle and I really don’t have any idea what might be on a kid’s wish list this Christmas. However, our guess is that it is a product with a connection to technology. Just a couple of days ago, one of the television news channels featured a story about a toy that moves according to the sounds of voices — the louder the noise, the faster the toy moves. When I compare today’s toys with those I had as a kid … well … the differences seem incredible.
I don’t remember what I put on my wish list to Santa, but I do know I was happy no matter what I got. One of the first toys I received when I was very young was a stuffed toy called Snow White, not to be confused with the storybook Snow White. I still have the toy, though it is anything but white.
Another Christmas toy Santa left was a barn made of cardboard and assembled. I was very young when I received it, too, but I do remember the barn and a few animals that went with it. I don’t know what happened to this toy. I wish I still had it, because I like barns. How different it was from the barn we sent Brian, our great-grandson, this year. His barn set, for children 12 months and older, is made of plastic, with big doors that open and close, a windmill that moves, and a rather large farmer and some animals.
One year, my siblings and I got a sled that was propped up by the Christmas tree. We always got paper doll books (which provided hours of imaginary fun), games, books, doll clothes and play dishes and pots and pans, doll bedding, and puzzles, but what I remember most were the dolls.
One year, there was a baby doll made of heavy rubber, with a hole in her mouth so I could feed her a bottle. She was a special doll that year, because she could also wet her diaper. I still have the doll.
One of my favorite dolls was Plenty Sparkle. She was made after the character in the Dick Tracy comics. Plenty Sparkle was made from some kind of lighter-weight rubber and had yellow yarn hair. How I loved the doll. I remember my sister Charlotte and I got in an argument over her one time, each us pulled on her, and part of her arm came off. The supposed experiment with the rubber was just that — an experiment. The doll’s rubber body deteriorated, though her face and hair are the same. One day, I hope to have someone make her a new body.
In later years, Charlotte and I received Toni dolls for Christmas. I don’t remember Charlotte’s doll, but mine has shiny red hair made from synthetic fiber. The hair was a real improvement over yarn! She came with a box that looked just like the adult Toni permanent box ladies purchased at the drug store to put permanent curl in their hair. There were probably curlers in the box — I don’t remember — but the doll’s hair could be washed. I still have this fancy doll.
Times have certainly changed, but I hope today’s kids appreciate their toys as much as we did.
Stories enrich our lives. We tell them, listen to them, read them, repeat them, write them, watch them on TV, enjoy them in theaters. Stories teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, ease our social situations, and cement our friendships.