Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Still Trying to Write that Family History

In my continuing saga of writing the 'story of my life', I purchased Lois Daniel's How to Write Your Own Life Story.  While this is a very good book in its fourth edition, it is still challenging for someone with either a poor memory or huge part of her life that she has blocked out.

The second chapter that she proposes you write (after talking about the details and significance of your birth) is about toys, first memories, and so forth.  So, I've tried to remember toys that I had as a child and, for the life of me, I could not think of any except the Barbie doll that my sister bought me in 1963, when I was 16 (I know, pretty old for a doll, right?). She was so tickled to be able to buy me a nice doll with her own money.

It is times like now that I really miss my sister, Christina, because in this situation I would just call her up and she would rattle off all the toys I had.  She was ten years older than me, don't you know, so she would remember so much more about my early years than I could ever start to, at least up until she left home.

I tried asking my brothers, but they could only remember toys that they had, and just barely that.  Roger remembered getting a bow and arrow one year and we all had memories of the cars and trucks we used to drive up and down the hillside beside our home in Garden Valley. Roger also thought he had a BB gun at one point or maybe a western gunfighter set.  He did finally mention that he thought I had a baby doll that you feed water and it wet its pants (Betsy Wetsy??).

Our family was really poor (and big) with my father's job cutting trees in the national forests only being during the summers and money being short in the winter time when Christmas came around.  So of course we did not get a lot of gifts at Christmas time.  And you would think, with a father that was around trees all the time, that our Christmas trees would be full, beautiful ones - not so.  Here's a picture of one of them that was pretty typical of our trees and not many packages for 8 kids (and about the tree selection, maybe he wanted to save the nice ones so they would grow into lots of board-feet for future cutting):

Well, anyway, back to my memories of toys - my last resort was to go to the internet and check for toys of the 1950s.  There I found a bunch of toys that I remember we had a one time in our home, whether they were family toys, brothers' toys or mine, I don't know.  The list includes the slinky,

Wooly Willy Magnetic drawing toy,

Pic-up Stix,


Thumbelina doll,

Tinker Toys,

and the hula hoop.

My husband shared that he had several Daisy Air Rifles sent to him over the years by his aunt (his father's sister Reta) who worked for the company in the Bentonville, Arkansas area.  He was the oldest of three kids, having a younger sister and brother so there weren't as many kids for which to buy toys.

Do you remember any or all of these toys?  Many of these are also toys my children were still playing with in the 1970s and 80s.  Not so today.  With the booming of the technology/electronic age, kids today would be bored to death with jacks or pic-up stix (unless it was a DSL, Wii, or XBOX game). 

I think I've mentioned before that my first memory was sitting on top of a chest freezer, gazing out the window at my brothers playing, confined to the house because I had measles, chicken pox, or some other childhood illness.  Other memories are jogged by looking at family snapshots taken of me during these times, but I don't recall a picture like this so it must have been an impressive memory.

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