Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best Toys Ever!

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

Like many of you, I grew up without all the electronic gadgets of today. We made our own fun and if it was raining and we had to “stay in and watch TV”, it was like a punishment! Usually, I left the house right after wolfing down a bowl of cereal and didn’t come back till the street lights came on!

We didn’t need electronic gadgets to paint the picture for us. We had something even better; our imaginations! I remember one of the best toys I ever had. No one bought it for me; I went out in the woods and got it myself! It was a stick!

Sometimes my stick was a rifle as I rode the range out in the old West; sometimes it was the horse! It was a walking stick and a fancy cane and when I was done being a cowboy it made a neat baseball bat!

We played tag, 123 red light, red rover and the ever popular Simon says; no assembly required on any of those!

There were so many toys that required little or no money such as the coffee can for a spirited game of kick the can! You could usually get the whole neighborhood involved in that one, even the adults!

I would practice for hours with my 25 cent Duncan Yo Yo, “walkin’ the dog”, “rockin’ the baby in the cradle”, “loopin the loop” and of course “around the world”;  Didn’t even need friends to play that one.

Hop Scotch was pretty inexpensive, a piece of chalk and a flat rock and hours of fun and good exercise, don’t think I could get past two today!

Marbles could keep us occupied for hours or until someone said they were playing for “keeps” and then changed their mind after they lost.

I can remember playing “stoop ball” for hours on end, against an imaginary opponent! Still undefeated to this day and kind of amazing how that imaginary person never got tired of losing!

If you were fortunate enough to live near water, a rock was useful to throw into the water and then dive in and find it!

Tossing trading cards to see who could get closest to the wall was fun. Trading cards were inexpensive; you got four plus a stick of gum for just a nickel. They had baseball cards, football cards and I remember collecting the westerns cards! Gunslingers and all the cowboys from our favorite television westerns! Marshal Dillon from Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, Sugarfoot, you had to be careful and be sure you were tossing cards of equal value! Wouldn’t want to lose a Paladin to someone tossing a Chester from Gunsmoke!

The girls played a lot of jump rope as well as Jacks! No self respecting boy would be seen playing those! Unless of course there was no other boy around to see him, then it was okay and if you got caught “I’m baby sitting her” was usually a good out!

Kick ball was another good one that could be played inexpensively and even the younger kids could compete. Bases were usually things like a fence post, the neighbor’s car, a tree, or whatever was near where we needed a base!

In those crazy, exhausting, carefree summer days only two things could ruin our fun; rain and street lights!

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Robert said...

Let's not forget Erector Sets, the ultimate in building toys of that era. I had my own set, and 50 years later wrote a picture book about the inventor, one Albert Carlton Gilbert. The name of the book is The Magic of A.C. Gilbert. It's available on Amazon or my website:

Guy Sharwood said...

I'm glad I was a part of those days. One of our favorite things to do was take Mom's dishtowels out of the drawer (she had a surplus of them so it didn't matter), draw "S's" on them, put them on our backs and run out to the backyard and either head for some imaginary planet or beat up an imaginary mad scientist.

Great blog, Paul!