Times Past: Childhood Toys

This is my response to Irene Waters prompt about Childhood Toys

I’m a “Baby Boomer” and live in the city of Adelaide, South Australia.

The theme set me thinking. The only toy I could remember having was a doll I called, “Kelvin”. I insisted it was a boy doll simply because it had very little hair but I don’t remember playing with it much. My Nana also gave me a knitted black doll with multicoloured stripy body and wild woolly hair. I feel reticent to say it but they were very common and called, “Golliwogs”. In Adelaide at that time we never saw anyone with dark skin and to me it was like a cute alien and much cuddlier than the bigger, less pliable doll. I did find a very posed photo of me with some toy rabbits but they look pristine and I’m sure they were never playthings.

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My grandfather made us little wooden carts but they were kept at his home.

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I’m one of five children and when I couldn’t think of any other toys I asked my brother about it, he agreed we didn’t have toys. There was a model steam engine which Dad would occasionally bring out and show us how it worked but no one actually got to play with it. Probably just as well or we’d have been burnt.

When I was a teenager Dad went to Japan and brought home a colourful rooster which he loved, I think it crowed and pecked but we didn’t play with that either. He kept it in his room and would bring it out to show it off, everyone got a laugh out of it……. except maybe Dad’s grand-niece who doesn’t look too thrilled in this photo.

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In reality I don’t think we missed toys, we found too much to do outside.

13 thoughts on “Times Past: Childhood Toys

  1. So true. We had too much to do outside, but also games we created from out imagination. But I was one of three girls, and we did love our dolls! We each had at least two each during our childhood.

  2. I agree that we didn’t have many toys. Two of mine were at the grandparents and only one did I really play with.It was amazing the games that we used to make up that would keep us occupied for hours on end. I think that it made us a creative generation. Quite different to the present generation who seem to like to be entertained. Love your Dad’s rooster. Thanks for joining in.

    • I think the creative ability depends on personality. My grand-daughter has heaps of toys because she’s the youngest child in her mum’s group of friends and she’s acquired all the outgrown ones but I’ve watched her
      “nurse” a truck and talk to it lovingly as if it was a tiny baby. I’ve also seen her with tiny, square ceramic tiles giving them names and making them interact with each other, she’s 3. The gigantic difference I see is the influence of TV. Some of the programmes I loathe but others are brilliant in the format and environmental information they impart. When there are dedicated channels though it’s too easy for little kids to just sit for hours watching TV.

      • Perhaps if not given gender specific toys the gender is given to them by the possessor. It sounds as if your granddaughter is very much displaying the feminine gender as I was taught it in psychology. Good communication skills and nurturing. I agree TV is a huge influence – in both good and bad ways.

      • I have to admit I strongly resisted gender stereotyping when choosing toys & clothes for my own children but especially in the case of my daughter it seemed to have no effect at all. My son has excellent language and communication skills and is also brilliant at caring for his little kids. The nurture/nature conundrum is alive and well in my mind!

  3. Pingback: Toys I still do or wish I had: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  4. Although I spent a great deal of my time outside playing as a child, I can’t imagine not having toys. Did you have a lot of books?

    Our youngest son is stationed in Japan now, in Okinawa. Was your daddy in service, too?

    Have a blessed day!

    • We did have some books but not many and the only comics were ever saw came from church fairs jumble stalls. We sometimes went to the Children’s Library in the city and my sister was a bookworm but really the rest of us were always outside playing.
      My dad was in the south Pacific during the war, he was an aircraft mechanic.

      • I was a bookworm, too. My husband, myself and our children are all voracious readers.
        Playing outside was great! I loved to ride my bike and play ball and all sorts of childhood games. What was your favorite thing to play?
        My daddy didn’t get to serve in the military due to a back injury, but all of my uncles were in service as are both of our sons. Have a blessed day. 🙂

      • We did so many things outside – made flutes out of bamboo, slingshots with wire and bike tube, made lead sinkers, perfume etc. My brothers made a Jalopy and we had a big yard so there was always plenty of space to do things.

      • Oh wow, that sounds like a ton of fun! We didn’t have bamboo anywhere near the house where I grew up. We had a decent size yard. One adventure that we often had was retrieving our baseball from the neighbor’s yard. She hated us and would come after us if we went into her yard to get our ball back. She was mean and scary. She would fuss at us for riding our bikes on the sidewalk in front of her house, even though she didn’t own the sidewalk. We weren’t allowed to play in the street, so the sidewalk was the only place we could ride. No matter what we did, she squawked about it. But, we were kids and just kept on playing anyway. Daddy convinced her to leave us alone once he learned what she was doing.

        I bet making the Jalopy was great fun! Have a blessed day (or night!) 🙂

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