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Friday, November 10, 2006
Toy-stalgia
My mom called me last night and told me that she'd been going through some old boxes in her attic and basement, and she'd come across a bunch of old toys that she wants me to sort through when I go to visit her for Thanksgiving. I got to thinking about some of my favorites, and all of the slightly destructive things I used to do to them.

When I was about 6 years old, I begged my mom to get me an EZ-Bake oven because I really wanted to be master of my own bakery and create all kinds of perfect confections. I got the purple and pink cooking contraption for Christmas, and I just knew that I'd be able to get my hustle on--bake cookies in that thing, then sell them to all my friends for a profit. Well, to my surprise, there was no heating element in the oven. As I'm sure you all have discovered at some point, the heat source is a 60-watt light bulb that you put inside the oven structure. I was really impatient with the 15-minutes it took to make one cookie, so I decided to up the ante and change the light bulb to 100-watts. Let me tell you...there's a reason why the directions say to use a 60-watt bulb. The cookies came out very crispy and charred looking on the outside, but the insides were very gooey and raw. When I ran out of EZ-Bake Cake and Cookie Mix, that was the end of my culinary discovery. See, in order to keep using the oven, you'd have to buy their brand of mix. You couldn't use Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker (trust me, I tried) because the mix simply made too much batter and it didn't cook properly. I don't think any parent was willing to go dig around in the box for the order form which would allow you to buy more boxes. Nope, the entire EZ-Bake went in the "big closet" or the attic--never to see the light of day again, or at least until you were old enough to use the real oven.

I also had a Lite Brite, and I thought this was the best thing ever. I mean, all those plastic pegs, and the possibilities to make "colored light designs"!? Are you kidding me? Not owning one was simply not an option. I didn't realize that eventually you'd run out of those templates that showed you where to put the plastic pegs. I also thought you could reuse them more than 5 times. Oops. The templates will fall apart if you use them too much, and I did run out of them after a while. So, me being the crafty child I was decided to use black construction paper in their place. Tasha, NOOOOOO. NOOOOOOOOO. The templates are coated in something that keep them from burning up. Yall, I caught my mom's dining room on fire. The light bulb in that thing (I've learned to have a healthy respect for light bulbs) burned the paper which in turn burned her tablecloth and things spread from there. Stop, drop, and roll does nothing to put out a fire when your clothes aren't what's burning. Trust me.

The Barbie Corvette was one of my favorite toys to run into walls. I'd slap the doll in the driver's seat, and I'd make her ride "fun". I wonder sometimes if Barbie had Geico insurance on her Corvette--the one that was parked in my playroom anyway. Not only could she have saved 15% or more, but she probably could have gotten PAID. I totaled that vehicle many times, so Geico would have been breaking her off some serious claim money.

My world was not complete without my Thundercats Big Wheel. For those of you who don't understand the importance of a Big Wheel to someone my age, it's kind of like the Radio Flyer Wagon to your parents or the Power Wheels Jeep to a 12 year old--it will always be that special. My Big Wheel was black and red and had Thundercats indicia all over it, so I really thought I was pimpin. That thing was the envy of the neighborhood--the Cadillac DeVille of the tricycles if you will. If it actually had a top or a back seat, then the "Diamond in the back, sunroof top..." would have applied.

No Cadillac is complete without good music, so I upgraded the sound system on the BigWheel to Teddy Ruxpin. Ok, so the bear was just duct taped to the handlebars, but let me have this one. Sure Teddy was made to tell me stories, but I was more concerned with listening to Bobby Brown. Me and that bear got along so well, after all, who else would let you shove a casette in their back and still continue to sing to you and mouth the words? Yeeeahhh, those were the days... Teddy and Louise cruising down the block in the Cadillac.

I have such fond memories of the toys from my childhood. Getting older, I'm beginning to see some of my favorite toys show up in the hands of today's children. I'm slightly upset, feeling slightly territorial, and slightly jealous when I see Transformers and Care Bears and Glow Worms in the hands of people less than half my age. Those toys were "ours", and I don't want to see a younger generation mistreat them. I guess now I understand why my it took my mom so long to go through all of her old toys a few years ago. I also understand why it's hard for baby boomers to see the things they grew up with repackaged and "freshened up" every 20 years or so. It's almost sacreligious.

Damn, are my toys really vintage already?


6 Comments:

That was one of the best pieces I've ever read on nostalgia. Hilarious. Well done.

As with ANY toy featuring electricity as it's fun element they should include a fire extinguisher (batteries sold separately).

My sisters would "treat" us all to the light bulb cuisine from the E-Z bake Oven. It all wound up tasting like Pepto Bismol because that was my inevitable "chaser"...

That was one of the best pieces I've ever read on nostalgia. Hilarious. Well done.

As with ANY toy featuring electricity as it's fun element they should include a fire extinguisher (batteries sold separately).

My sisters would "treat" us all to the light bulb cuisine from the E-Z bake Oven. It all wound up tasting like Pepto Bismol because that was my inevitable "chaser"...

Anonymous Witch King said...

That was one of the best pieces I've ever read on nostalgia. Hilarious. Well done.

As with ANY toy featuring electricity as it's fun element they should include a fire extinguisher (batteries sold separately).

My sisters would "treat" us all to the light bulb cuisine from the E-Z bake Oven. It all wound up tasting like Pepto Bismol because that was my inevitable "chaser"...

Blogger Boutros said...

I learned to use Jiffy bake mixes to keep using my Easy Bake oven. Those were small and cheap and worked okay. I was envious of those (like you) with awesome big wheels. Mine was missing a bolt and the handlebars always fell off if I turned too sharply.

Blogger Tasha said...

Boutros,
I never thought of using the Jiffy mixes! Now I want to try it. I saw a new EZBake on sale the other day, maybe I'll have to give it a shot...

OpenID tunde25798 said...

YOOOOOOOOO, I had a thunder cats big wheel...i was happy as hell.....

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