More toys

Last week, I asked you, my readers, what your favorite toys were as kids. It turns out this was a really fun topic for you.

Here are the first six stories you sent me (and come back next week for more!):

Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow! It has to be the weirdest toy ever created... how many kids dream of milking a cow for fun? She drinks when you crank her tail? What exactly is in this “pretend milk”? None of that mattered, though - she was so fun and made such a huge, sloppy mess on my mom's clean floors. Plus, the commercial was priceless. (Click here to watch.)

Melissa, Golden Valley, MN


Back in my day, we did not have a lot of toys. One thing my sister did that I really enjoyed were “shadow picture stories.” She would have a good-sized cardboard box that she would cut a square hole in and I think put a piece of white paper over it. She had cut-out men, women, and children and told a story about a family.

I do not remember any story, but Mom, Dad, Grandma, and the siblings would sit there watching her tell the story. There were probably five of us kids watching the story. I remember being so enthralled in the story; I never wanted her to stop.

We had a simple life; but thoroughly enjoyed it.

Amy, New Hope, MN


My favorite toy was a doll too! It was a little rubber doll that just happened to be black. I called it my favorite. And I loved it so much. Fast forward 40 years to when I adopted my two African American real live babies! Yup, they are for sure my favorites! And just like I thought my black doll was cuter than all my other dolls I also think my real live ones are cuter than all the other white babies out there! Maybe I am just a little biased!

Karen, Sacred Heart, MN


I have many fond memories of playing with my Fisher Price Town and Farm sets as a preschooler. I would take out all the pieces and put the people in different spots and create many scenarios. Even as I got older and saw my little brother come along, simply dump out the bucket of people, vehicles, animals, etc., then proceed to walk away, I would sit down and make those people come to life yet again.  

My joy now, is that I am able to watch my girls play with those same wonderful toys and create new scenarios, characters, and adventures in this classic little town. A special thanks to my mom for being willing to stash this gem away for 25+ years before it was to see the light of day again!  

Mandi, Fond Du Lac, WI


Here's Gordy's memory from 85 years ago, when he was around 5:

He says Orv (his brother), who owned the toy, was probably 10. “The best toy we had was probably Orv's steam engine.” (From Gordy's hand measurement, it was 8-10 inches tall.) “We'd light something cottony in a cup at the base that must have had some flammable fluid in it. That would heat up the water that propelled a wheel at the top. Sometimes we'd rig it up to Tinker toys to power a windmill. I'm not sure that it worked so well, but we tried anyway.”

Faythe’s memories: The Dyrud kids didn't have anything that sophisticated—except for the doll house with “electric lights” from Esther Larson. I would guess my sisters will list dolls. A ball in hand was always my favorite, even in the house in winter, although there was a standing rule that throwing balls in the house was not allowed. When one hit an Aladdin lamp, an expensive chimney (Gordy says the word chimney works with kerosene lamps, maybe not Aladdin) could be broken and a mantle (fancy wick) destroyed. Maybe that could even rise to spanking possibility.

Gordy’s memory: “We broke more than one mantle trying to light cigarettes we made by rolling coffee in a piece of newspaper.”

Faythe and Gordy (written by Faythe), Minneapolis, MN


3 words… Easy. Bake. Oven. For Christmas I would get jumbo crayons and a coloring book which I tore through in a matter of days. And of course… anything Equine.

Shantell, Corcoran, MN


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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.