March of the Retro Toys
Just as we’d dashed through the snow o’er the hills of adolescence
in the Sixties, my sister and I entertained visions of sugarplums in anticipation of the toys we wanted for
Christmas. Whether cruising the aisles of Sears Roebuck in Providence during its heyday when the
store giant boasted an entire wing for toys, or the entire floor of American Toy Co. in Pawtucket, we composed
our lists and checked them twice before rattling off items from memory, sitting on Santa’s
knee. The forward march of Marx, Ideal, Remco, and Mattel had begun in earnest.
Though my sister and I never requested Ken under our tree,
we did lay claim to some of the Retro toys popular in the Sixties:
Oven- amazing how the oven bulb actually baked a chocolate cake
fit for consumption.
Colorforms and fashion paper
dolls were right up my alley.
Echo- who needed to pull the string on
Chatty Cathy for
verbage, when you could record your own voice and hear it back.
We drew the line at Wooly Willy, not amused by dragging magnetic
whiskers over his chinny chin chin, or having our way with Mr.
Potato Head, the tater extraordinaire.
Both of us passed on Sea Monkeys or an
ant farm, unduly influenced
by our mother.
I don’t recall either of us playing with
Clackers, two plastic balls
on a string with a maneuverable ring which enabled the balls to make a “clacking” sound.
I remember my creative limitations building picnic tables
and benches with my Lincoln Logs.
My sister had a collection of five inch
tall Trolls which she lined up along the backseat of the car—on her side of the imaginary boundary
line we drew to delineate our territorial rights.
hoop, Slinky, and Silly Putty were part of our Sixties toy
Various board games achieved popularity in the
Sixties: Operation, Calling All
Casey, Candy Land, Clue, Go to the Head of the Class—but my
favorite was Monopoly. You’ve already been privy to the mayhem which such a mild mannered game spawned
in “A Sixties Summer.”
In retrospect, Retro toys were not that
exciting, but somehow marching them out during the holiday season reminds us how imagination is the spark of
fun, entertainment, and adventure.
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