Toyland, Toyland…

I hope everyone had a great Christmas; if not fantastic and exciting, at least, one filled with peace.

We’re reminiscing about our favorite gifts/toys as kids, and since it is Christmas time, that’s where I’ll go.

Dolls. We girls got a new baby doll every Christmas. It was such a ritual that when I smell anything made of the type of plastic used in older dollies, my mind is immediately transported to Christmas, no matter what the item is, no matter where I am. That smell is very uncommon anymore, but even though my last doll was given to me about 47 years ago, one whiff and it’s Christmas.

Outgrowing dolls was a milestone. I remember my sister’s first non-doll Christmas; she carried mine around all day. When I decided I was too old for a doll, my mother asked me several times over the few weeks before Christmas if I was sure. I said I was. But I will now admit that I had a feeling of loss that Christmas morning and I understood why my sister carried my doll around when she had what I guess we can consider ’empty nest syndrome’.

I never had a Barbie; I just never got caught-up in the whole scene like most of my school pals, but my sister and I received one of the first types of fashion dolls ever: Coty dolls. I was too young for one; I cut the hair almost all off on mine. My mother was unhappy.(They’d probably be worth a fortune now). Not surprisingly, some years later I wanted a “Tressie”, whose hair could be pulled out to be longer or wound back into her head to become shorter. However, they were the BIG HIT of that Christmas and they sold out quickly; I never got one.
One year in between the Coty dolls and the Tressie desire we girls got ‘Tammy” dolls. Chunkier and younger-looking than Barbies, they were, anatomically, more realistic. I sometimes see one at doll shows or antique (!) shops, but I know it would not feel the same to buy one now. (I even ran across a Tressie, but….)

Stuffed animals were another huge favorite. I even got them for Easter. I kept many of them as long as I could, but things happen. I have one plaid dog in a tam that I have had for as long as I can remember and I can remember back to at least age 3; (it’s my short term memory that is bad!) I also have a small, flat, floppy, corduroy bunny that an aunt-by-marriage made for me when I was about 6.
(Who am I kidding? I have most of my sons’ and even received a few to me from my husband over the years. They aren’t just a “childhood favorite”.)

Another toy that I don’t know if anyone else knows were blocks, or wooden shapes, rather. I have no idea what they were called, but they seemed to be odd pieces from furniture makers. They came in bags of differing knobs, dowels, triangles and blocks; there were cylinders or flat round pieces,(some had drilled holes in the middle), wooden pegs and screw-shaped ones. They were all natural wood, except that sometimes, for some inexplicable reason, rectangle blocks about 3″x2″x1″ were often painted, and usually red or sometimes, yellow. It was hard to actually construct anything with them, but I was always fascinated by the different shapes, grains and textures and I loved them. I saw the last bag of them around 40 years ago.

And, of course, books! Picture books I memorized and made my own captions for and books I made my mother and aunt read over and over again when I was very small; “The Tawny Scrawny Lion’ was one, and I apparently caused some friction between my mother and her sister by getting upset when my mother read ‘Jenny Wren’. I told my mother that did not call the bird by the ‘right’ name. After some ‘discussion’ between them, my aunt realized that she had been transposing letters and calling the bird “Jenny Wern”, and laughed until she cried. (As you can imagine, any small , brown bird was afterwards referred to by them as a ‘wern’)
Later ,the series books started becoming regular gifts where I would get Bobbsey Twin or others that I did not have or could not find in the school or bookmobile.

(And again, who am I kidding. Books are not just a childhood favorite! My house IS a library!)

Would anyone else care to share their list? Does anyone else remember the wooden shapes?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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5 Responses to Toyland, Toyland…

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Ah, yes … BOOKS.
    That’s quite poignant about reaching the Christmas with the “last doll” — would make a good story premise.
    As our daughter was growing up, she collected stuffed animals. I personall bought her maybe a dozen and my wife at least that many. She prob. had 50 or so when she left our house and later married. I remember feeling quite sad that she gave (to charity) about 3/4 of her stuffed animal collection. But I understand the need to downsize and shed the things of youth. But it still tugs at my heart.


    • Amazing how attached we get to the fake furry friends, huh, Jeff? The one I had from my very earliest memory my mother threw out accidentally and it broke my heart,(I was about 20 at the time). Others were ruined by being stored unclean in a hot area…I learned always wash those things before putting them away.I have a number of holiday-themed ones, many for Christmas, some for Easter, a few for Thanksgiving and Halloween, which I put around the living room and dining room and entryway.(Yes, the Christmas ones are still out!)


  2. Big fan of books here as a kid, too. And I was always a fan of stuffed animals. Man, I loved those things. Still can get a bit crazy in that department at the store, petting them all and ahhing over the cuteness.


    • As I said to Jeff,it’s amazing how we all seem to feel about stuffed toys. It is like they are ‘this side’ of the real things. I know you have a new (live) furry-purry at your house; I know how exciting that is.COngrats!
      (I can’t imagine anyone of us NOT liking books as kids!)


  3. I love the Little Women series! But mostly I got sparkly things and clothes and I still do, ha ha!
    Happy New Year!


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