As I got older, I began to miss some of those toys. I did what I imagine others do: began hunting in vintage stores and online looking to replace the toys I once enjoyed so much. Over the years, I managed to find samples of most of the toys I remember as being important to me.
Last week, I was visiting a friend’s house. He proudly showed me a display case of toys from his childhood. He surprised me by pointing out that these were the exact toys he played with as a child. “Your mother saved your toys?” I asked, surprised. I didn’t know that was possible. My mother saved none of my toys -- not one. I don’t know this for a fact, but I think she took them (when she sensed I was bored with them) and gave them to our relatives or to thrift stores. (I certainly hope she didn’t just throw them away!) I couldn’t believe a mother would have been considerate enough to save them until much later.
I decided to look back at the toys I spent years finding, to replace (as much as possible) the toys I played with fifty years ago. Looking for them was fun, but now I’m sad that my mother didn’t think to keep them.
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Nabisco Rice Honeys Sea Creatures Started out as a sea creature in each box of cereal, circa 1968. They then had an offer where you could get the entire set of 12 sea creatures AND a deep sea boat for only $1. I wrote about this in more detail in a 2008 blog post. These came out at a time when I was very seriously considering being an oceanographer. I love sea animals (all animals, actually) so this really piqued my interest.
Hasbro’s GI Joe Honestly, I think I was in love with my Joe and that’s why I wanted one. The Joe pictured is not like the one I had as a kid; mine had the plastic hair; but they’re much too expensive now so I settled for one of these later ones. I distinctly remember having the Deep Sea Diver outfit probably because of my love of the ocean.
ARCO Ark and Toy Animals My love of animals continued with these free premiums available at ARCO stations when you purchased a certain amount of gas. I never got the ark; I was just interested in the animals.
Miscellany: Thing Maker and Chemtoy Film Strip Viewer Again, unable to explain my interest in the Thing Maker; I just remember hours spent on the patio making all kinds of weird bugs, animals and skeletons. I enjoyed this for a long time; I think my parents bought me several of the different add-ons over time. The Film Strip Viewer I remember only vaguely. I can’t even remember what film strips I had. They were like Viewmasters (which I also had) but you could see a whole story, not just individual pictures.
On the plus side, one thing my mother did keep were the comic paperback books I used to buy with my allowance (rather than actual comic books).