Today as I was reading the news during my usual scan of the major news producers I came across the most amazing thing. Apparently on some island somewhere warmer than Iowa they found three tiny breeds of chameleon The juveniles of one species is small enough to perch on the head of a match. Their adorableness reminded me of my own childhood and the summers I spent catching frogs and other creepy crawlies. I remember one summer when Eli and I caught a bucketful of frogs for no apparent reason. My childhood was like almost everyone’s a happy time, and although looking back on myself at the time I was slightly neurotic, I did enjoy life.
I have a few toys that I remember very sharply in my head and the first isn’t a toy at all. When I started Kindergarten I got my very first lunch box. It was My Little Pony and for the life of me I can’t understand why my parents bought it for me since I didn’t care about the toys at all. I remember making stories up about the ponies on the front of the lunchbox and sticking all the stickers my teacher gave me on the inside. I think I still have that lunchbox hiding somewhere in the house probably holding my ancient crayon collection.
Now for me my crayon collection was more than simply art supplies. In fact outside of school I didn’t care for crayons to color with at all. Instead I played house with my crayons. The periwinkle crayon was the princess and the scarlet and black the mother and the father. Of course the robin’s egg blues where evil, because I thought that color was ugly. The outside wrappers were gently slipped off of the crayons and exchanged so that the crayons could have different clothes and on it went. I don’t quite understand the obsession anymore, but I played similar games with my hot wheel cars, marbles and colored pencils.
This didn’t mean that I didn’t have dolls, on the contrary I probably had to many, like many children from my generation. This doll in particular became the focal point of a traumatic childhood memory (at least to a five-year-old it was traumatic). I don’t know how I pestered my mother into letting me get this doll, but somehow I ended up with the Songbird Barbie. This doll came with a small pink/purple bird that balanced on a fingertip and sang when it’s beak was pressed. Anyway as soon as I got the doll I went to go play with it. We were living in a small house at the time that had one closet that opened into both of the bedrooms. It was here my parents stored their sewing supplies and other knickknacks that survived moving and was a perfect place to play with dolls. There were multiple sets of drawers and crevices to make the perfect barbie houses out of. However, it was also a great place to loose doll parts into. I somehow managed to pop the head of off my beautiful new barbie and loose her head in the mess of the closet. I was devastated and ran to my mother who was with my little sister. She helped me look and since we were not able to find the head she told me to get rid of the body. The next day we found the head and I was very mad with my mother. Anyway long story short I hung on to that noisy little bird and hideous dress for a very long time afterward, probably till I was 13 or 14. It was something that reminded me of being a kid and it stayed hidden in a drawer forever.
This is a toy that I’m certain some people will recognize, it’s the original Polly Pocket! Although both Eli and I had both this version and the larger version that is still sold today. I remember sticking these in my pocket and bringing them outside for recess and playing under that trees. It was much better than tag or the playground and Eli and I made up all sorts of stories about them.