Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Toys that Define Us

Another reposting.

I finally wised up and realized I could Google for the toy that's been driving me crazy for years. When I was a little girl, I had a diver who floated up from the bottom of a tub of water via baking soda power. I've hunted antique stores high and low for one of these divers and the best I got was "Yeah, I remember those. No, we don't have any." But here are a bunch, and I don't recall which one I had, though I do recall my diver had a single tank on his back. The site looks like a lot of fun for my fellow baby boomers looking for a bit of playful nostalgia.

So of course, that has me thinking about favorite toys. I loved my Slinky, metal, of course. It made the greatest noise going down the brick steps of the stoop in the front of our house and on the tiled stairs leading down to the basement. I had a plastic (reds and blacks, as I recall) Jacob's Ladder, though I didn't know what it was called back then. There was Silly Putty and Jacks and Pick-Up Stix, too, but I also found household items fun to play with, especially my parents' collection of glass swizzle sticks. I hope my father still has them; they're probably collectors' items now.

I had a pink Spalding ball of course, to play stoop ball and punch ball with (punch ball was a challenge because we used manhole covers and car bumpers for bases and it wasn't unusual for third base to drive off in the middle of a game). See Streetplay for info.

I had dolls, too, Tiny Tears and Chatty Cathy, and of course, Barbies. I had the black haired, ponytail Barbie with the black and white swimsuit and blond Ken with actual fuzzy hair in a crewcut. They were the old type, the type that should never have gone swimming in chlorinated water. But I took them into the pool with me and their fingers eventually eroded enough to fall off. I had blonde Midge and redheaded Alan (he of the plastic hair), and Barbie's sister, Skipper, too, and Midge and Alan still adorn my shelves. Skipper apparently skipped during our move back in '69.

And I had a little homemaker set, with a stove that had a crank. And when you turned the crank, sparks would shoot out of the "burners." I'm thinking that this toy would never pass muster by today's standards, but back when I was 5, this was pretty uh, hot stuff.


  1. Shelly I would have played with each and everyone of those toys you mentioned. Sound good to me indeed. That diver sounds really cool.

    I had a little doll that had it's own tub and shower. It was battery operated and all I had to do was add water.

    Also I had this fashion oriented toy. It was sort of like a template where you could lift the cover and insert different arrangements of fabric and once the cover was closed you'd get a doll (who's face was on the template) with a brand new outfit everytime. I LOVED that.

    Also my smurfs and my most cherished toy, my doll house. Oh my goodness, the hours I spent on that.

  2. That's a great dollhouse, Chelly. I had a tin one and found a pic of it on eBay. I'll try to remember to post it. I think I saved it to my hard drive.

    And that fashion toy sounds intriguing.

  3. Shelly, by all means post it. I'd love to see that pic!

    I wish I could remember the name of that fashion toy. I searched for it but came up empty.


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