Friday, November 25, 2011

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

By Laura Bradford

If you've ever seen the movie, A Christmas Story, you know that Ralphie wanted a Red Ryder BB Gun in the worst way. It didn't matter how many people told him he'd shoot his eye out. He wanted one. Plain and simple.

So Santa did what all good Black Friday shoppers do...

He obliged.

Now, for the sake of today's post, we're going to set aside Ralphie's Life Lesson (remember the incident in the back yard after he got his prized Red Ryder BB Gun???) for just a moment and take a peek back at some of the toys that had Santa rushing to the store for me back in the day (and the Life Lesson I invariably learned frome each one)...

When I was about three-years-old, I apparently wanted a baby doll of my own. So Santa obliged, bringing me one that cried when it was squeezed. I--being the placid child I was-- freaked when I went to hug my new baby and it began to cry.

Santa must not  have liked my reaction because he took it back to the North Pole, sending me a new slip in its place. (Life Lesson: Sometimes fear is best kept to one's self)

Then, when I was a few years older (I'm thinking maybe 7 or so), I wanted a Baby That-A-Way in the worst way. And how could I not?!? The commercials that played over...and over...and over again during the months leading up to Christmas made her look so cool. I mean, she could crawl!!!!  Crawl, I tell you!!

That Christmas morning, I raced downstairs to find my Baby That-A-Way waiting under the tree! I flipped on her switch, set her down, and watched her crawl across the room...sounding like a coffee grinder--as my older brother so happily pointed out--the whole way. (Life Lesson: Sometimes boys can be so stupid) 

Who could resist the idea of baking something all by yourself?? Not I, says the eight-year-old me. So the EZ Bake Oven was the request of the year that Christmas. My first concoction? A yellow cake with chocolate frosting that I slaved over for a good thirty minutes or so...only to have my grandfather eat it in one bite. ONE BITE!!!!  (Life Lesson: It's okay to have a stash of treats and not tell anyone)

And then there was Growing Up Skipper. You know, the sister (or was it, niece?) of Barbie who grew boobs with the pump of her arm. She was the "it" present when I was about 11 or 12, I think. After the fascination of watching her boobs appear and disappear began to wear off, Skipper became rather depressing over time.  (Life Lesson: Pumping one's arm again and again and again doesn't work for all girls)

Now it's your turn. What were some of your must-have toys...and the lessons you learned from them??



  1. I had to have a Chrissy know, the one who had hair that could grow to waist-length from the hole in the top of her head? Well, that hair tangled pretty quickly and I couldn't figure out how to detangle it. My cousin, Kathleen, told me to douse the doll's head with oil, which I did to disastrous results. (Life lesson: Oil should not be used to detangle hair but works well in salad dressing.) Great post, Laura! Maggie

  2. My favorite gift was a beautiful Shirley Temple doll with a porcelain head. I received a doll carriage that same Christmas. Mom told me not to take the doll out of the house. I did it anyway, pushing that gorgeous doll in the carriage. We lived on a hill and somehow the carriage got away from me and crashed. Shirley Temple's head was in a zillion pieces. Lesson that should have been learned, "Mind your mother." Unfortunately, I didn't always, though not most not with such disastrous results.

  3. Oooh, Maggie, I remember the Crissy doll! I think one of my friends had her. LOL on that life lesson.

    Marilyn, I can only imagine the tears when that carriage crashed. Yikes!!

  4. My must have was the Daisy Safari Mark 1 BB gun. The neighbor kids and I used to have epic battles in the field between our houses, complete with trenches and fortifications. It's a miracle some of those deeply dug underground forts didn't collapse and bury us.

    Lesson learned? I guess that I'm lucky to be alive and mostly intact. And that there are some things parents just don't need to know.

  5. Chatty Cathy, LOL. Forgot about her!

    And Dusty, why is it so easy to picture you running around playing war boy with your buddies. Too fun!

  6. My must-have was an electric guitar. I'd played the acoustic for a while, and wanted something that could rock.

    Within six months I was back to the acoustic. Lesson learned? For me, be it music or people, quiet and soulful trumps Fender-amp loud, any day.

  7. Two gifts come to mind: a slinky and a doll set of Snow White and the dwarves.

  8. I wanted dolls and books. Books I got For which I am forever grateful. My mother didn't approve of dolls because they didn't do anything. So when I grew up and became a child therapist, boy did I get dolls, and all kinds of wonderful things happened. By the way, my girls had dolls, gifts from everyone but their grandmother, and one "Baby Beans" went to Europe with us. Lessons: dolls make magic.

  9. I wanted a Mystery Date game. Still do. :)

  10. Barrel o' Monkeys... lesson learned? Barrel o' Monkeys is not as fun as it sounds.

    Chatty Cathy... lesson learned? Best friend + Chatty Cathy + party line telephone = Disgruntled party line sharers!

  11. Love your lesson, Joe! And Lil...based on how much my dolls meant to me growing up, I couldn't concur with your lesson more!

    Lynn, LOL. Donna, I have a feeling there's quite a story there with the chatty Cathy and the party line. LOL!!