Here are some of the toys that were THE toys for me. I don't own any of them anymore, but I still love them, and should any of these find their ways back to me, I won't ever give them away to the Goodwill store ever again.
It took me forever and a thorough Google search to find the name of this game. Gribbit. But now that I know it, I feel stupid for having forgotten, because this was the board game to end all board games. Three frogs sat Hungry Hippo-style on a frame. A crank allowed you to spin a little yellow bee around and around, and the frogs tried to eat it. I never understood why it was a bee and not a fly. The frogs had a death wish perhaps. Anyhow, my cousins and I played this so hard that the arm holding the bee was all bent and floppy. Take that, bee! Little rubber bands held the frogs' mouths open, and when those broke, I used the tiny orthodontist's rubber bands my mom had for her braces (she wore braces in the 80s. It was awesome).
|You were the first, Seawee. That Ariel is a total biter.|
More than anything else, I played with dolls. I called it "Playing babies," even when the dolls were obviously teenager-ish girls like Kimberly. Oh, Kimberly. I wanted to BE Kimberly. Her hair was thick and well-rooted, which meant I could comb and comb and comb and not have to pluck blond hair off my legs. Her face was just so pretty. And she was a cheerleader. A CHEER-FREAKING-LEADER, which, obviously, rocked my face off as a kid. Also, her name was Kimberly. Like Kimberly on "Different Strokes," who I also loved. I vowed I would have daughters and name them all Kimberly. This did not happen. I had a daughter and named her after Penelope "Punky" Brewster instead. (Maybe I didn't name Penny "after" Punky Brewster, but, you know, go with me on this one).
Then there was Annie. I had the doll, my aunt made me the red costume, my mother bought me a curly, red wig. I watched the movie until the VHS tape got fuzzy. I know the whole film my heart, every line, every gesture, every tap dance. And, be still my heart, Penny has really gotten into the 80s "Annie," too, and loves to sing "Hard Knock Life" and "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," and I am SO DELIGHTED ABOUT THIS TURN OF EVENTS, I CAN'T EVEN.
I am happy-sighing over here as I write this. I was a lucky and well-loved kid, I can tell you that. And it wasn't just the toys that told me so, but the other kinds of immeasurable, unbloggable signs of love that have everything to do with family, and big abrazos and besos, long nights tending to a nasty cough, applause at school events, yellow-tinged portraits still hanging on the wall, and memories like these, of well-loved toys; and there, in the background, watching me open gifts, my mom and grandparents smiling and cheering and asking if they could play, too.
Happy holidays, everyone. May they be filled with the love of family and friends, and, if you've been good this year, THAT TOY.
p.s. Which were THOSE TOYS for you? I'd love to know!