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The toys of our lives

As I type the Christmas letters to Santa received from the Bainbridge young students preparatory to publishing in The Post Searchlight, I find that I am totally out of touch with the currently most desired toys. I need to consult my younger co-workers as to what the child is asking for, as the words are often misspelled and I can’t begin to guess what they are talking about. Much to my amazement, I find my co-workers usually know what the items are.

Nothing makes me feel older and more out of touch.

One thing that is clear to me is how in touch with technology these youngsters of today are; and how many want their own iPhones, laptops, computer games, etc. etc. etc.

How times have changed! These letters really are a reflection of our current society. 

This made me wonder about past years and looking out to see what the popular toys were in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc.

Just when did the tech toys first appear on the scene? I was surprised to find it was mid-70’s when video game consoles entered the picture as Atari games. Also on the scene were Micronauts and Star Wars action toys. Transformers came along in 1984, made by Hasbro toys. They were the hottest items on the shelves.

Through the years girls have always loved dolls and stuffed animals, along with small kitchen toys. Remember the Easy-Bake Ovens? They appeared in the 60’s.

One toy that has maintained its popularity over the years is the Barbie doll, which came out in 1959. Two years later Ken dolls joined the scene, followed by a host of Barbie accessories from dream houses to autos. Happily, many of our students are still asking Santa for Barbie Dolls and accessories this year. Another popular doll of that era was the Chatty Cathy who talked when you pulled a string in her back. She came out in the 60’s.

The 1950’s were simpler and less expensive times for buying toys. The top toys of that decade were things like Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh and Gumby toys (whoever he was), and small Matchbox cars for the boys in the family. Without a doubt our society was less affluent during those years as we recovered from the War Years of the 1940’s.

Those were the years when I grew up. We were happy to receive one toy, and our stockings contained an orange and some chocolates.

As I continue typing the current letters, my heart is touched when a young child asks for new clothes and/or a pair of shoes.  It doesn’t happen often, but is also a sad commentary on what we like to think of as today’s affluent society. Thankfully, our community has many sources that provide Christmas for those who are less fortunate.

I really love the ones where the children ask for gifts for members of their families, and it is stated in such loving ways. One child this year said they wanted a healthy baby sister. It makes me wonder if there is an ailing child, or perhaps a new baby coming into the family.

There are many pages of letters from our young children. Some are really funny, and like I said, some are really sad; but it is fun to read them and glean the Christmas Spirit contained in them.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope you all receive the “best toys” of your hearts desire.