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Dust off your wish list

Thursday, December 12, 2013

We're having a lot of fun this month at the T-G offices typing up the letters to Santa from the kids around Bedford County.

A lot of the gifts requested sound like adult wish lists -- a new smart phone, the latest tablet or gaming console, plus a bunch of stuff I've honestly never heard of before.

I suppose I need to immerse myself in children's programing to understand some of the youthful demands. I'm sure their parents are well aware what the tykes are pleading for this year.

But this made me think back at my own wish lists from decades ago, and how much things have changed over the years.

* What ever happened to chemistry sets? Do they even make or sell them any more? I remember hours of experimentation in the garage, before one unfortunate smell (it was in the manual!) sent my lab outdoors.

* Do they even make Erector Sets? I remember having one, which resulted in a lot of cut fingers, but that seems to be another toy that's out-of-date.

* How about Lincoln Logs? Are those being sold anywhere? I suppose Lego has captured that market, along with the constant complaints from parents when they step on the pieces ...

* If you were a boy and grew up during the Space Race, Major Matt Mason and his pals were always nearby.

* Board games -- in particular, one called "Landslide," which taught youngsters about how many electoral votes a state has, etc. It was a product of the 1972 election, containing no talking heads, no spin cycle and the GOP was red while the democrats were blue. No third-rate burglary, though ...

* G.I. Joe with Kung Fu grip.

* Then, there was the much coveted Evel Knievel action figure and bike that was advertised on the back of every comic book in those days. Of course, when you finally got it, you learned you had to scrape your knuckles to the bone just to get the bike moving. I can't remember if it came with a trauma unit or not.

* The closest we ever got to modern gaming systems was the original boxes that played "Pong." They were followed by the Coleco Telstar and various versions of the Magnavox Odyssey. It was primitive compared to today's consoles, but it is all we had. We thought COLOR graphics was cutting edge.

* I remember one toy that took plastic dinosaurs and "grew them" inside a heated dome, but the folks took that one away after too many howls of pain due to the constant burns I received. It did have "DANGER HOT" plastered all over the thing, but this was way before people were questioning what they were giving their kids.

* For those of you with fond memories of them, they still sell Spirograph!

* Hopefully, one thing that hasn't gone out of style are science and electronics kits, helping those budding engineers figure how to build their own radios, solar powered whatever and other things we thought were neat back in the day. With today's available tech, some kid will be launching their own aerial drones and listening devices before you know it.

* One toy I got right when it came out back in the day were Hot Wheels. They still sell those little cars and tracks, and like any childhood memory from the 1960s and 70s, it also will soon be turned into a major motion picture and marketed to death.

Maybe an inventive parent can dust off some of these memories from the attic and share them with the new generation. They might find that family fun was hiding upstairs this whole time.

-- Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.



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