Sunday, 5 August 2012

A stroll down memory lane

A friend of mine has started getting all nostalgic on Facebook lately and finding pictures of all the old toys and gadgets from her past. Given that she is of a similar age to my mother, I didn't think that I'd be able to remember a lot of the things that she could, but it turns out that either I have an awesome memory for things that were made before I was born, or once upon a time things were made to last, and last they did.

But she in turn has got me thinking of all the things I loved as a child, and miss now that I am an adult and it is no longer acceptable to have a room filled with toys and shiny things just because they are pretty. So with that I'd like you all to take a stroll with me down memory lane, as we go back twenty years to my childhood. (Man that is a long time ago. Now I feel really old.) Below are some of the toys I played with and loved as a kid.


This is a Barbie knitting machine. For anyone who never owned one of these, it was great for knitting an entire ball of wool into a pointless tube. Apparently you were supposed to be able to make it into clothes for your Barbies, but I could never figure out that part, so I spent many an hour making long woollen tubes. I don't think I ever looked as happy as that girl on the box while I was using this machine, mainly because the only thing it did really well was tangle up, so I spent more time yelling at it and crying in frustration than smiling at my tubes. 


This lovely lady here is a Cupcake Doll. The point of this one was you could turn her skirt inside out, and she would turn into a cupcake. This one pictured is exactly the same as the one I had as a kid, I can't believe I can still remember what colour Cupcake Doll I had, but as we've already covered, I have a mind full of useless crap. The problem I found with this doll was that for some reason the skirt and the hat would never quite meet up once her skirt was turned inside out, so my cupcakes always looked like the icing was about to fall off. 


My cousins had this board game when I was a kid, and even back then I hated the maths questions the most. I don't think I ever won this game as a child, but when my big sister bought it years later when we were all adults, I was surprised to find how much smarter I had gotten over the ten years since I had played it last. I was now able to answer the questions in a kids board game with relative ease. Yay me!


Ah Koosh balls. I don't know anyone who didn't own at least one of these in their childhood, these pointless balls of elastic. They didn't even hurt when you threw them at someone, but rub them in their hair and it was pure agony. I know this because my sister decided to teach me a lesson. a painful, hair ripping lesson.


I had forgotten about these until I started getting all nostalgic earlier this week. Magic Diaper Babies were little plastic figurines, whose nappies changed colour to pink or blue when immersed in cold water. I can't remember how many of these I had, but they were a very coveted item for me as a child. I can remember begging mum to buy me more any time we went to K Mart. 


Who here has never played with a Spirograph? I pity your sad life if you've never had the pleasure of making pictures with this awesome toy. We got one when my dad owned a second hand store in the early nineties, and I remember the huge fights we would have when someone wasn't sharing one of the discs, or even worse someone lost a disc. I think I'm going to have to find one of these for Miss K when she gets older, as it is an awesome way to kill a couple of hours.


Now I don't know many little girls who didn't own at least one of these sewing machines as a child. I had to wait until my big sister outgrew hers before I could inherit it, but I remember staring at it enviously when it was hers and wishing I was old enough to be able to use it. Once I owned it I realised that I was a terrible sewer, and the only thing I could make was crooked, clumsy tissue pillows for my Barbie dolls.

Speaking of Barbie dolls, this was one of my favourite dolls as a child as it is the first one I can remember that was bought especially for me, and not a hand me down from my big sister. She came with a special bottle of sparkly hair gel which smelt lovely, so I think I spent more time smelling this doll than actually playing with her (I never said I was a normal child) but I do remember her hair was an absolute monster to keep neat, and my mum spent many hours de-tangling her hair for me when it got really bad. 


I have saved this one for last because this was my absolute favourite toy as a child. This is a Lil Miss Singing Mermaid doll. I don't know exactly how popular she was when I was a child because I didn't have any friends who owned her, but I loved her more than anything else. When I was six I went through a real mermaid phase, partly because The Little Mermaid had come out on video and it was my favourite movie. My parents bought this for my sixth birthday, and I also had a cake decorated with plastic mermaid figurines. This doll sang when you pushed her stomach, and her tail would change colour if immersed in hot water, so she became my favourite bath time toy too. I even slept with her for a while. I actually tried to purchase one of these dolls on eBay a couple of years ago, but apparently it is a real collectors item these days because the one I was bidding on eventually got sold for over $70 and I wasn't prepared to pay so much for a doll.

So there you have it, my childhood in one tidy little blog. I'm sure there were other things going on at the same time, but when I think back to being a kid, this is what I see in my mind. If anyone else out there had a favourite toy in the eighties or nineties that they want to share with me, please feel free, I love nostalgia in all of its forms.
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