See You In Hell!

Saturday, June 07, 2008


There are many toys from my childhood that, for one reason or another, I find extremely memorable. So, I decided to start a list. Amy & Em, please tell me if I'm leaving any out. Everyone else, add your own, or tell us if you had any of the same toys.

  • Star wars figures and ships (along with every other kid in America).
  • Matchbox cars. my particular faves were the yellow Renault Le Car, and the obnoxious "moon mobile", which actually resembles many of today's SUVs. We used to play with them in the kitchen because the embossed patterns in the linoleum would make the cars go on crazy random paths, as though they were steering themselves. The object of the game was to push them towards the forest of table & chair legs, and see if the car could "steer" itself around them without crashing.
  • Plastic dinosaurs. Ours were 2 colors, tan & light green. I think that the green ones were the herbivores.
  • Honey Hill Bunch dolls. One of them had a little removable coat which our cat Paddy liked to play with. They had Velcro on their hands and you could hang them from curtains and shit.
  • Jacks. I never remember actually playing with them, just leaving them as "traps" for people to step on. Sorry, dad.
  • The Lemon Twist: It had a loop on one end, and a plastic lemon on the other. You spun the whole thing around with one foot, and jumped over it with the other. I loved that goddamn thing. Someone gave it to me when we were visiting my aunt & uncle; all the adults went out on someones sailboat, and I was not allowed to go. The lemon twist stopped my tantrum. I think this was pre-Amy, and could have been in Madison or Milwaukee.
  • Barbie dolls. I didn't play with them so much as I created an entire city for them in the basement playroom out of wood scraps that I collected from a cabinet shop junk pile. The buildings were multistory & elaborate, rising almost to the ceiling, and connected with ramps. Then the basement flooded, and the "city" became waterlogged & moldy and dad chopped it up and carried it outside.
  • Roller skates. There was some company that made snazzy new roller skates with high-tech polyurethane wheels attached to festively-colored vinyl boots; quite superior to the old shitty metal kind. We had a couple of pairs, one for me and one for Amy. Later I asked for and received a rather expensive pair of roller skates with a toe stop. I also had a skateboard, but it was kind of crappy. I vividly remember every time I hit a piece of gravel and went flying. UPDATE: The brand of roller skates we had was "Roller Derby Fireball", as shown in the pic above. Mine were white, Amy's were blue like in the picture.
  • Hockey sticks and a plastic street hockey puck. One of my all-time favorites. When not using them to play actual ice hockey at the neighborhood rink, we would shoot goals in the basement against the concrete wall (the goal was a masking tape square).
  • Baseball cards. Inspired my my father's story of his baseball card collection and Mickey Mantle-autographed program from the 1957 World Series, I became a rabid card collector. The fact that my grandmother threw out my dad's collection at some point just served to deepen my resolve. My prize card, even to this day, is a Rickey Henderson rookie card.
  • The Scooter doll (you know, Scooter; the orange bespectacled character from the Muppet show). I don't know if this belonged to Amy or Emily, but the Scooter doll became the weapon of choice in sibling skirmishes. He was made of cloth, except for two things. His black plastic glasses, and his shoes, which appeared to be made of vulcanized rubber as deadly as hockey pucks. When wielded, one held scooter by the head and swung his feet of death at one's opponent.
  • The little professor. Looked like a calculator, but it actually was a math game. I LOVED this.
  • Superballs. 'nuff said.
  • Marbles. I had a SHITLOAD of marbles. We used to give them to our cat Bianca to play with. She would bat them all over the house and down the basement stairs. Then she would come back to us later meowing and begging for another one. We thought it was hysterical that "Bianca lost her marbles". Stupid kids. Later, the washing machine overflowed, and when dad tried to see what in the hell was clogging the laundry room floor drain, he found it crammed full of marbles. Over 200, in fact. Ah, Bianca. We finally found her marbles.
  • Perfection. A sadistic board game, where you have 1 minute to fit different-shaped pieces into their corresponding voids before the board springs up and sends the pieces flying.
  • UPDATE: Per Amycita's request, the game "Run Yourself Ragged". I can't believe I forgot about this one!!! It was so fucking awesome!!! Here's a pic:

  • UPDATE: Also, how could I have forgotten Battleship, Stratego, and Dungeons and Dragons!! I used to cheat horribly when I played Battleship with Amy. My 3 fave strategies: 1) Move my ships around constantly 2) Stack all of my ships on top of each other, in intricate patterns. 3). Put absolutely NO ships on at all, and watch Amy freak the fuck out until she finally figures out what I've done and hurls her board at my head (TOTALLY worth it, by the way).
  • UPDATE: Pulsar, the Ultimate Man of Adventure. Provided that your definition of "ultimate man of adventure" is a senior citizen whose organs are visible through his translucent chest, and whose face is removable. Perhaps one of the weirdest toys I remember BEGGING and PLEADING for. He looked cool, but didnt get much play time, and eventually I just removed his face altogether and made him shack up with Johnny West. Here's a pic:

  • UPDATE: Lawn Jarts. Toy of death if ever there was one, which is why they were so fun. We never actually HAD these (mom & dad would NEVER allow it), but I played them at a family friend's house in Wisconsin when the adults were otherwise occupied. I just discovered this tidbit of info:"Lawn Jarts have been banned for manufacturing and resale in the United States. The government of the United States has asked that all Jarts be destroyed. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, lawn darts are lethal, and have been responsible for the deaths of at least 3 children. The CPSC further estimates that between 1978 and 1987, Hospital Emergency Rooms treated 6,700 lawn dart related injuries, three-fourths of which were sustained by children." SEE? I told you they were fun.


Blogger dawn said...

Oh! I still have my Scooter doll. Neither of my kids is at all interested in it but they also haven't figured out how to use him as a weapon in a fight. Some day soon I expect feet marks to start showing up on little bodies...

Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 3:19:00 PM PDT

Anonymous Dad said...

Drawing on our years of helping others generate insight into their behavior, I think I see a reason (then unconscious) for our selling your Star War figures in a garage sale: getting you back for strategically strewing those jacks where they'd be most likely to be stepped on by bare or stockinged feet.

Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 9:06:00 AM PDT

Blogger Jege (Jen) said...

DAD!!! Your first blog comment!!! YAY!!! I'm just glad I didnt have to fess up to some of my more evil deeds (other than the jacks) to get you to comment!

Uh, I mean, WHAT other evil deeds? Heh-heh...joking! I kid!

Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM PDT

Blogger amycita said...

Run yourself ragged AKA the mouse trap game was great--I'd love to find pix of it, also Cabbage patch dolls if course, and Strawberry Short Cake and all of her other big scented head friends. And I think jacks is the source of my AWESOME hand eye coordination actually it is probably what all excellent violinists should do in their spare time. Jacks RULE. There are hierarchies of rules so intricate I have forgotten most of them, but suffice it to say that you should not let their childish sounding names fool you: double-bouncies are no joke!

Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 7:03:00 PM PDT

Blogger amycita said...

Snap shot of the math teacher as a child: I didn't know what "subtraction" meant; I didn't get that it meant "minus" so on the Little Professor I rocked the addition, multiplication and division games but I got a 3 out of 10 on subtraction and I was thinking that was pretty good because hey, "subtraction" is this crazy shit I've never even HEARD of. Don't know why I remember this so clearly, but I'm pretty sure I even remember WHO I was telling my scores to: Jenny Durocher's mom who was at our house that day for some reason.

Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 7:09:00 PM PDT

Blogger Crystal said...

those perfection pieces pissed my pops off just as much as the jacks!

and i have't thought about the little professor in years!

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 8:48:00 AM PDT

Blogger Mike Lopez said...

Dude, where's the Slinky?

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 2:04:00 PM PDT

Blogger Jege (Jen) said...

Slinkies were a source of great disappointment to me. Rarely did those fuckers successfully walk downstairs (alone OR in pairs).

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 2:09:00 PM PDT

Blogger Mike Lopez said...

I could never make that shit happen, either. Any one that I ever had ultimately wound up a tangled, overextended mess.

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 2:47:00 PM PDT

Blogger Jege (Jen) said...

And once they're all tangled up, the only thing they're good for is slinky fights. Of course, they won't do shit if your opponent is wielding a Scooter doll.

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 2:48:00 PM PDT

Blogger eM said...

I want to play Run Yourself Ragged. Right. NOW!!!!

Scooter is a weapon of mass destruction if I ever saw one :)

Monday, June 16, 2008 at 10:32:00 PM PDT

Blogger Floyd's Lists said...

All Floyd ever got was a fucking rock.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 11:32:00 AM PDT

Blogger kari said...

monchichi, monchichi, so soft and cudd-a-ly!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 3:16:00 PM PDT

Blogger amycita said...

I honestly cna't belive you found pix of teh EXACT same roller skates I owned in the 80's and also the crazy lemon thingy--I had totally forgotten about that. That was a flash in the pan. Are we the only people who ever bought one?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 6:28:00 AM PDT

Blogger John Hughes (Not the director) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 4:24:00 AM PDT

Blogger John Hughes (Not the director) said...

Besides lawn darts, my choice for most dangerous toy ever was the Star Trek tracer gun:

The plastic discs are about the size of a nickel, and they came out of that gun fast.

How my friends and I didn't blind ourselves is beyond me.

P.S. I took the other post down because I noticed a typo ... and that's just something I can't condone.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 4:27:00 AM PDT

Blogger Kato said...

I had that Brontosaurus (or is it an Apatosaurus?) seen in the picture above.

I believe I have a Don Mattingly minor league card someplace.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 12:49:00 PM PDT

Blogger Lisa said...

First of all, did anyone really PLAY the mouse trap game? It was so lame. All we did was set it up and watch it go. My favorite was that grandpa who got flung off the teeter-totter into the bathtub.

Secondly, my favorite toy as a very young tot was my Mrs Beasley doll. I LOVED her.

And lastly, You let your dad read your blog??? What with all the swearing and shit? I at least tell myself that my parents don't know where my blog is and will never read it.

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 1:47:00 PM PDT


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