June 25, 2014

Blast From the Past: Toys

Back in the early spring, I started a series called Blast From the Past. These posts are just a fun look back on my childhood. I had five posts thought out and I did three of them and then TCAP happened and my brain was fried and you know the rest. Ha! But, now that I'm well rested, I'm excited to finish this series. 

Today's post is all about toys! Back in the late 80's and 90's, I played with a LOT of toys. I tried to limit this post to toys that I actually owned. But, man, it was hard to limit it to twenty, I have to say... As always, all pictures are from the Google.

All right, let's do this...

1. Trolls

I don't know why these creepy little plastic dolls (?) became so popular. But, I had a TON of them! I even remember teachers giving us these as rewards and buying miniature ones at the school bookstore to put on the end of my pencil. Because, nothing says "good student" like a naked creature with a bejeweled belly button and neon hair. This was just one of those trends that really took hold and all the kids had them, including me. 

2. Oopsie Daisy

My mom and I were discussing the other day how little girls today don't play with baby dolls like they used to. Yes, some do. But, in all the babysitting I did in high school and college, and believe me when I say it was a TON, I rarely saw kids playing with baby dolls. When I was a kid, I played baby dolls all the time. Like, really, always. I took them when we went out to eat and church and on shopping trips and to my friends houses. And, I only wanted baby dolls that looked real. Baby doll clothes would not do. Fake bottles were not acceptable. It had to be real baby stuff. I think that's why I loved this doll. She crawled, y'all. And, she had a pacifier around her neck. And, she would fall down and CRY, for crying out loud! Plus, she was a big doll. I only wanted dolls that were life size, which is why I never really cared for American Girl dolls. I wanted dolls that looked like a real, live baby. Looking back, this doll is hideous. Her hair is in a bowl cut and her body was always and forever in a crawling position. But, that didn't stop me from (awkwardly) strapping her into my stroller and loving her to pieces (when she wasn't crying). 

3. Beanie Babies

This is one of those things that the adults ruined for the kids. You know what I mean. In the beginning, these were just cute little animals that were stuffed with beans. Or, something. Probably not actual beans because that would be gross. The TY company convinced us all that we had to have these little animals with the cute little names. I liked them because they were, well, cute. I had a lot of them. And, I actually played with them all the time. But then, somebody somewhere decided that these silly kids toys were, like, the IT item. And then all the adults lost their minds and were buying these things on eBay for hundreds of dollars and you couldn't take the tags off them because then they were worth NOTHING and you couldn't find them in stores anymore because crazies would go and buy all of them whenever they would get restocked. It was madness. So, let's just all have a moment of silence and remember the good times: when Beanie Babies were just a stuffed animal and you didn't even know what it meant to retire a toy. 

4. Super Nintendo

In the early 90's, video games were still fairly new. Sure, there was regular old Nintendo. You know, the original one. But, that was something my older cousins played. (Remember that Duck hunt game? With the gun? Fun times.) There were basically two gaming systems: Super Nintendo and Sega. We had Super Nintendo. And, we played it all the time. Picture two little redhead kids sitting about ten inches from the tv screen (one of which holding a baby doll, of course) and playing game after game of Super Mario Brothers. Now, looking back, I think this game caused some concerning behaviors. I mean, when we would lose a game, we would get mad. Real mad. We may or may not have developed a habit of throwing the remotes at the television in anger. (Mom, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. At least we didn't throw them at each other! Often...) Also, if a game was not going our way, we would just hit that nifty reset button.  Right in the middle of a game. Perseverance? Who needs it... But, as much as we loved Mario Brothers, we all know Mario Paint was where it was at!! 

5. Slip N' Slide

Back in the good ol' days, kids played outside every day. (When they weren't in the bonus room hurling remote controls at the most expensive electronic device  in the house, of course.) One of the best things to do outside was to play on the Slip N' Slide. This was basically a humongous tarp that children  threw themselves down head first. At the end, you landed in a pool of inch deep water. That is, if you stopped. Usually you just kept right on going until you landed on a giant rock or face first into a mud puddle. Needless to say, it was awesome!!! Now, kids aren't allowed to play on these because they're "dangerous." But, really, you can get hurt doing anything. So, go for it kids. You only live once.

6. Lite Brite

I was kind of an artsy kid. I liked to make things and draw and cut things out with paper. So, I was ALL ABOUT the Lite Brite. I thought this toy was soooo cool. The idea is to stick little colored pegs into a black screen with tiny holes in it. Then, when you go to bed at night, you'll see this cool picture in your room. Or something like that. I never used it as a night light, but I remember spending hours at a time designing pictures on this thing. And, mostly, I remember finding the little colored pegs all over the house and trying them to keep them away from my brother. All in all, probably one of my most played-with toys. And that's saying something.

7. Pogs

Yeah, I don't know. I don't remember why we all started trading and collecting these little cardboard circles. But, I do remember that it was all about the slammer, they cost way more than they should have and we had hundreds of them that we kept in little circular tubes. So, yeah. Pogs. Good times, apparently. 

8. Barbie townhouse (with an elevator)

An elevator, y'all. This thing had an elevator. And, it was taller than I was. Hands down, the best toy I ever had. I had a lot of Barbies and played with them daily, so I feel like this was a good purchase by my parents. I mean, it kept me happily playing in my room for hours. Which, I do believe, is the main reason any parent would ever buy any toy, right? I had some Barbie furniture, but not that much. I mostly would make furniture out of any and everything I could find around the house. I also remember being annoyed when my friends came over and started whipping the elevator up and down really fast. I was so scared they were going to break it! (Apparently, I was more concerned about my Barbie townhouse than I was about the television.) 

9. My Buddy/Kid Sister

The creepiest dolls ever! But, you remember my criteria, right? I wanted my dolls to be big and look real. And, these kinda did to my four-year-old self. Plus, I had a redheaded Kid Sister, so that was fun. She looked like me!

This is an actual picture me of me and my Kid Sister from 1989. And, my actual kid brother. 

10. Polly Pocket

I loved me some Polly Pocket! These were the PERFECT toy to take to church because they were tiny, quiet and fun! I remember sitting in my dad's lap at church and using his tie as a slide for my little Polly dolls. Also, one Christmas I wrapped up one of my Polly Pockets and gave it to my cousin Lauren as a gift. And, the next year, I was totally insulted when she gave me it back as my gift and didn't even remember that I had given it to her the year before.  Ha!

11. Puppy Surprise

They had Puppy Surprise and Kitty Surprise back in the day. These were basically pregnant animals and you unvelcroed their tummies to discover how many puppies/kittens were inside. I think they had between two and five and you had no way of knowing how many were in there unless you bought it! It was just totally random. (Oh, I get it now!) But, I just feel like it's sort of weird to be yanking puppies out of this dog's stomach and then putting them back in there to yank out the next day. But, as a kid, I thought it was awesome. And, who doesn't want to play with a bunch ( or two) pink little puppies? 

12. Super Soaker

I feel like water guns were more popular back in the day than they are now. We played with our water guns almost every day. We had pretty big fights with all the kids on our street where we teamed up and had strategies and traded guns and all that. And, I'll never forget going to church camp and having raid night. It was my first year and I was woefully unprepared for such an event and the seriousness with which it was taken. Because, you see, the boys didn't just load up their Super Soakers with water. Oh, no. They loaded them with all kinds of fun things. I will never forget, as long as I live, turning a corner and getting absolutely creamed in the face with grape juice shot out of a water gun that was four inches from my face by a kid in my Sunday School class. I swear I temporarily lost my eyesight. Such good, clean Christian fun, right? 

13. Tamagotchi and Nano Pets

For a while there, these digital pets and digital babies were all the rage. I'm pretty sure they came from Japan and were, actually, the most annoying toy ever. Because, they weren't just toys. They were responsibility disguised as a toy! I can't tell you how many of these poor little things I let die in a pile of their own waste, starving for food and sorely lacking exercise. Sorry, little guys. It turns out that kids aren't really ready to be parents yet. I know, I'm shocked, too!

14. Sit N' Spin

I can't really remember if I actually owned one of these or not, but I'm including it because I played on one everywhere I went. Mostly at church and the neighbor's house, I feel like. But, the point was to sit on this thing cross legged and use that middle bar/tube/thingamajig as leverage to spin yourself around. But, that's just what the innocent, well-behaved kids did. We, however, would spin so fast we were dizzy and then unhook our legs and propel ourselves across the room at top speed. (I promise I wasn't a bad kid! Although this post kinda makes it seem like it...) It was the kind of toy that you certainly didn't spend three hours playing with, but it was a good way to ease your anxiety in the church nursery until your parents came back to get you. 

15. Little Tikes Kitchen

Kids today have it so easy. There are play kitchens coming out the wazoo. They are everywhere and people on Pinterest are even converting old furniture into play kitchens! But, way back in 1987, that was not the case. My mom still talks about how she searched high and low for a kitchen for me for Christmas. She couldn't find one anywhere and ended up having to buy one at an expensive toy store downtown. This is the one I got. I was two years old and loved this thing! Because, there is nothing more fun than cooking and cleaning the dishes. Unless, you know, you actually HAVE to cook and clean the dishes. Blech. 

16. Little Miss Makeup

You know how I said I only played with dolls that were lifelike? Well, this doll was not. She was a "teenager" doll with a magic wand that put "makeup" on her face and then you got to wash it off! What's more fun than a skin care routine, am I right ladies? I got this doll for Christmas when I was three. Long before I developed an aversion to dolls that couldn't wear real baby clothes. And, plus, I got one and so did my two cousins, so it was kind of a package deal. They had seen the commercials for Little Miss Makeup and wanted her soooooo bad. And, well, I just wanted whatever they got. I can vividly remember opening these on Christmas morning and all three of us breaking into a chorus of "I've got Little Miss Makeup! I've got Little Miss Makeup!" I don't remember actually playing with her too much, but I'm sure I did because she ended up looking as rough as the one pictured above.

17. Big Wheels

These are the quintessential 80's toy. They came in all colors, boys and girls. They were basically a giant, colorful tricycle made out plastic that sat low to the ground. Probably in order to keep you from serious injury as you went tearing down the driveway at lightning speed into the road. Just me? I'm sure the parents enjoyed these bad boys too because I would have to think that all that pedaling  would wear a kid out! I'll never forget the feeling of driving with your knees up over your your head and your view obstructed by the steering wheel that sat unreasonably high. Ahhh, memories. 

18. Perfection

This toy gave me anxiety. Lots of it. You would have to put all these little yellow shapes into the matching holes before the timer goes off and the game board pops up and literally throws the pieces across the room. I don't really like pressure. I don't like that feeling of " Do it! Do it now!" So, for me, this game was absolute torture. But, I guess in a good way because I kept playing it and playing it. After a while, we lost some of the game pieces (probably because they were repeatedly shot out of the game like a cannon, I'm thinking) and so it was a lot less stressful to fit 26 pieces in instead of 35. You may say cheater, but I say strategist. 

19. Gak

you remember when Nickelodeon was the greatest thing ever? The made the best tv shows and then they decide to get us where it counted, in the pocketbook. They started selling all kinds of cool toys, one of which was Gak. It was a slimy, gooey silly putty type thing that had a horrible smell! But, the best part was that you could push it against the edge of the container and it would make farting noises. I know, I know. So fun! I had lots of different Gaks over the years, but I remember one time in particular that I dropped it into the mulch. And, since it was so sticky and pliable, it immediately picked up about 60 pieces of mulch. And they wouldn't come out. So, I got the great idea to put it in water, and well, I'll spare you the hysterics over ruined Gak. But, I will say, not my best idea. Ha! So, don't drop your Gak in the mulch kids. It won't end pretty. Believe me. 

20. Fisher Price Magic Scan Checkout

Guys, I saved the best for last. This was the COOLEST toy ever!! It was a supermarket checkout complete with a moving conveyor belt and scanner. Y'all. The scanner would light up and make a beep whenever you scanned something. I know! We were all fascinated by the scanners at the store  as kids (just me?) and so it was so fun to get to be the one scanning all the food items for once. And you didn't even have to pay for it! But, if you wanted to pretend to pay, it did come with two little credit cards. The waffles won't buy themselves, people! 

Honorable Mentions: Mr. Potato Head, Doodle Bear, Mouse Trap, Sorry, Water Baby and Guess Who. 

Hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past. Stay tuned for the last one!


SillyLittleMe said...

Really enjoyed this post. Polly Pockets were brilliant! Don't get me started on Super Mario Bros. stress! I wrote a whole blog post about it!


Angela Hevron said...

Oh my goodness. I LOVED this post! I LOVED my Big Wheel and my Sit and Spin. Those were my favorites! I also loved Color Forms. Those were the good old days!
Southern Fried Teachin’

Katie said...

This post seriously made me LOL! I could remember almost every single one of those toys and I played with them too! The way you described them was totally me! Especially those cardboard circles!!! LOL! So fun! Thanks for the good laughs tonight!!

Katie @ Building a House of Love