Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Home for the Holidays
When it comes to Christmas memories, I blush to admit that so many of mine are toy related. I grew up in a warm, happy family. My parents knew the value of play and sacrificed to make sure we had what my mother called “the tools of childhood”– good toys. During the week before Christmas each year, we’d go through our toy box and choose about half the toys to give away. We spent hours laundering and ironing doll dresses and spiffing up toys. Mom would pack up the babies in a buggy (ours was a pre-adopt foster home, and we always had a sweet crop of babies), and we’d walk down to Sanchez Street in San Francisco to deliver our toys to the firehouse Toys for Tots drive.
And then we’d wait for Santa Claus.
I always asked for one thing– a doll. One year it was a Magic Skin baby. Another year it was Betsy Wetsy. And then Chatty Cathy. Once it was the fabulous Patti Playpal. And then, as I got close to my teens, Barbie.
I don’t know what it is about toy memories, but they form the framework of childhood. Remember the famous sea monkeys? They were advertised in the back of comic books as “instant pets.” The illustrations looked so engaging that my brother and I saved our pennies and sent off for them.
I knew I couldn’t be so lucky as to get a real monkey or a sea horse, though I half dreamed that’s what we’d be getting. What arrived instead was a box containing eggs guaranteed to grow Sea Monkeys. No one told us Sea Monkeys were more akin to brine shrimp than mammals. We learned an important lesson in Buyer Beware from Sea Monkeys.
One of my brother’s favorite toys was a little submarine that was powered by baking soda. He played for hours with that little sub. Can you imagine how delighted I was to find reissued Sea Monkeys and a replica of that little sub? I bought both for my brother this Christmas.
Many of the skills I use in business were developed in childhood, playing with toys.
I’m so thankful that my family valued “tools.” We still do. Tools are important at each stage of our lives. My grown-up kids got appropriate tools this Christmas as well. My two daughters got Kindles, and my son received a new laptop– all considered the toys of adulthood, but all that will enrich life.
What about you? Did you receive important “tools” as a child? Did any of those give you a hint as to what you would do (vocation or avocation) as a grownup? What kind of writer’s tools did you receive as a gift recently?