Toys We Loved as Children

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Photo courtesy of Tinxi, Shutterstock.com

Did you have a favorite toy as a child? I began thinking about toys from my past after realizing that my 23-year-old son still has his trusty Fisher Price flashlight from when he was a toddler, and it still works! He keeps it with him in his car. I, myself, love the way you can make its light switch from red to green or white. Magical.

That got me thinking about toys from my past, and the good old days of childhood spent lost in the realms of imagination. Most of my favorite toys were very domesticated — I even asked for an ironing board from Santa one Christmas, which is ironic as I now dislike any form of housework. However, I did have a doctor’s bag, complete with a real used stethoscope, and I enjoyed playing M.D., but never had any interest in the medical profession as an adult. What impact do toys have on our psyche, and do they affect the people we become? It’s hard to say.

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Following my belief that kids should not have gender-specific toys, I bought my younger son a dollhouse, a baby doll and stroller, and a pirate ship. We did take a few walks around the neighborhood with the doll in the stroller when he was little, but he soon grew tired of that game. One day, I found a battle underway upstairs. The dollhouse and its inhabitants were being sacked by a rogue pirate ship. The miniature furniture was tossed around, and the little people looked pretty upset. So much for instilling a paternal instinct. He seems to have turned out fine, though.

We have all weathered rough times when it come to our toys. Childhood is no bowl of cherries. Toys break — or something worse befalls them — as I found out when I asked my co-workers to share some memories of favorite toys. One of our sales reps said her favorite plaything was the original Barbie with the beehive hairdo and her strapless black-and-white striped swimsuit. She emailed me a photo so I could see the retro look.

Courtesy of Barbie®

“I may still have this black sequined dress,” she wrote. “My sister burned my doll at the stake for a Joan of Arc project while I was away at college. I tell her that she owes me big. That doll would be valuable now.”

As I asked around, I realized that Barbie dolls figured prominently in our collective pasts. One editor even sent me a picture of Dallas, Barbie’s horse, which she loved.

Barbie is as popular as ever, but thankfully, she now comes in more realistic proportions. In January, Mattel, the maker of Barbie, announced it will sell the dolls in a range of body types, moving beyond to its original model to tall, petite and curvy. The Barbie line for 2016 features seven skin tones and 22 eye colors.

Toys whisper to us as children when we play with them, and although we grow into adults and pack away from our playthings, they remain in a special place in our hearts. What toys are your children asking for this holiday season? Share a comment below or on Facebook. and check out how a troop of local girl scouts are helping donate toys to kids whose families were hurt by Hurricane Matthew with a new toy drive through Dec. 10.

 

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