I'm taking a short break to enjoy some memories of my favorite childhood toys. I did this with favorite books not long ago, because not only do our memories of books shape who we are, but they also influence how we develop our characters and how they feel about the world around them. Your toys do the same. Here are five of my favorite childhood toys.
Creepy Crawlers (no wonder I'm a King fan)
There was the machine where you baked these hard, rubber squares in an incubator of sorts and you would watch this creature unfold. It could be a spider, a scorpion, or snake. I can't remember what it was called. When all your creatures were fully formed, you'd then have to shove them into this gadget and turn a crank in order to press them back into squares.
Something similar came out years later. I got my son the Creepy Crawlers for Christmas to disguise the fact I wanted it for myself. New technology meets bug making fun. You would squeeze this gooey ooze into molds in order to make your creatures, and the mold would "set" and form solid, rubbery bugs. It was so cool.
My absolute favorite toy was Nesting Dolls. When I think about these dolls, I realize that my O.C.D. was present even back when I was four and five years old. I remember one of the smaller dolls had gotten lost. The whole toy was ruined! Devastation! My mom put all the dolls back inside to show me everything was fine and that the doll still "looked" the same. But it wasn't the same.
You don't truly understand the meaning of void, not until you've been through this sort of trauma. At such a young age, to have an adult explain to you that everything is fine (when you know they are full of shit) is even more traumatic. Why? Because now you realize you don't even have an advocate who understands and empathizes with your problem. I don't have to see that it's not there. I KNOW it's not there. Don't treat me like a dummy!
Rock Em Sock Em Robots
First, let me just say, here is another example where I was always the blue and my sister was the red. She was the first girl and I was the second, so Sis got all the pink stuff. My parents created this policy so as to not get our stuff mixed up. I would get blue, or one of the neutral colors like green or yellow. The only time I ever got to be the red robot was when I was playing against my dad.
I'm telling you, if children were able to bring a law suit against their parents at such a young age, I'd have sued my parents for discrimination. No lie!
Shape O Ball
This never went out of style for young kids. I had mine for years. I was pretty good at it from the very beginning. After I knew all the shapes, I would further challenge myself with timed, stress tests. I'm never one to leave myself bored with old toys. This was another reason this toy stuck around for so long, until I became obsessed with numbers and started writing them out as described in this blog article.
Even when it wasn't Halloween, I would always search for my Casper mask. The plastic masks were very durable back then. I'd keep them for months after the All Hollow's Eve. Whenever the stretchy string that went around my head to hold the mask in place would break, mom stapled it back on. The only thing she couldn't fix was when the plastic edge of the mask would get a small crack in it. There's no fixing plastic cracks, I know.
She put scotch tape on the crack, but that didn't help. Much like the missing nested doll, you knew it was broke, and with time, the crack in the plastic gets bigger and bigger, until it splits into the open eye or mouth areas. Then, it's no longer a mask.
Thank goodness there was always a month or so before the next Halloween. Mom would then buy me another Casper mask.
What were some of your favorite childhood toys?