Anyone else remember...?
Today I'm feeling nostalgic for things I remember from my childhood. Not stuff that every kid had--Barbies, Legos, Tinker Toys, American Girl dolls, Baby-Sitter's Club books, Disney movies--but those things that not many kids owned. Those rarities made life special.
1. The Magic Locket by Elizabeth Koda-Callan
Generally on a long day of shopping my mom would get me a little something special if I was well-behaved. It was usually a book, Barbie clothes, Crayolas, a hairbow, etc. I can still remember being at Sam's Club looking through the stacks of books while my mom did her monthly bulk shopping. After a particularly long day (I had already gone through all the free food samples), my mom bought this book for me. I can't remember what the story was about, but it came with your very own locket.
2. Stardust Classics Dolls
I can't lie: I was an extremely girly child. I loved pink, dolls, unicorns, fairies, princesses, make-up--all the expected trappings of a young girl. I had lots of dolls, mainly thanks to my grandparents. But my mom and dad one year bought me a Stardust doll--Laurel the Woodfairy. The dolls (including a princess and time traveler) aren't made anymore, but I still have mine tucked away in storage to someday give my future child. Better hope it's a girl!
3. Cherry Merry Muffin
Maybe these aren't as unknown as I originally thought, as I found a few webpages dedicated to them. But growing up, I don't remember any of my friends having these. I was obsessed. I had every single doll (all three editions) and every playset, most of them bought for me by my Uncle Eric.
4. Popcorn by Frank Asch
Popcorn is probably my favorite book from my childhood, and it's not one that is commonly known. It tells the story of a bear named Sam who throws a costume party while his parents are away. All his bear friends bring a gift of popcorn, and they decide to pop it all at once in a big kettle. Chaos ensues and Sam is left with a house full of the stuff. He finally cleans it all up before his parents return--bearing a gift of popcorn. And Sam feels sick, never again wanting to eat popcorn. I guess the moral of the story is not to throw parties while your parents are away. Maybe popcorn is a metaphor for alcohol? Certainly a good message for toddlers.
For most of my childhood my family didn't have cable. Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel were "inappropriate" for children. Shows like Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy didn't reflect positive moral values. We were left with good ol' (free) public broadcasting. They had "great" (and by great I mean terrible) educational shows like Reading Rainbow, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, Puzzle Place, and The Big Comfy Couch. They had a few good nuggets: Wishbone, Carmen San Diego, and my favorite, Pappyland.
Pappy was an old man who taught kids how to draw. I remember everyday getting a pad of paper and a pencil, and plopping down in front of the TV so Pappy could teach me how to draw a giraffe or hippo. I still, at least a little bit, resent having to sneak over to a friend's house to watch Stimpy eat Gritty Kitty while being choked by a psychotic chihuahua.
6. Fine Artist
Before The Sims or Roller Coaster Tycoon (or a million other cool computer games) I played Fine Artist on an old IBM. On rainy days when I wasn't allowed outdoors, I would spend hours honing my Da Vinci skills. You could do really cool things like paint...and draw. You could insert noises or moving graphics. I would make my own comics. Now it seems pretty lame, but I guess compared to Minesweeper or Ski Free, it was down right amazing.
7. Rose Petal Place
You know when someone's career is down the tank when they agree to do anything called Rose Petal Place. Marie Osmond starred in this awful movie I owned and loved as a child. It's about a bunch of flower people who are kept alive by the beautiful voice of Rose Petal. But she is continuously being thwarted by an evil spider named Nastina (her theme song is "I Love To Hate") and her companion, Horace the Fly. Yes, it's just as awful as it sounds. My brother used to watch it just to make fun of it.
8. "I Always Thought I'd See You Again" and "You And Me" from Jetsons: The Movie
This movie was my very favorite from my childhood, and again, it's not an extremely popular or well-known one. The songs had tons of things I loved: neon colors, teenage romance, flying horses, Tiffany. The sad thing is I actually own this on DVD.
9. Fashion Plates
There's nothing that can make a 6-year-old feel more like a fashion designer than crayon rubbings.
This is the kind of stuff my mom devoured and regurgitated to my brother & I during our childhood. ValueTales were a series of biographies for children that featured different values. Science, history, arts--all combined with a tale of positive morals. I distinctly remember being terrified of the Louis Pasteur book because of a picture of rabid dogs. He created the rabies vaccine, by the way. I guess I learned something after all...