Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas Toys I Loved as a Child

It is getting ever closer to the most wonderful time of the year.   And I have a small problem.   Smallest Boy cannot write yet.  Hence no letter to Santa.   Also, he is quite laid back and easy going and has requested “stuff” for Christmas.

“Stuff” sounds easy, right?   But seasoned parents recognise “stuff” for what it is: your worst 

Santa nightmare in the run up to the most wonderful time of the year.

*What the jangles am I is Santa going to get him???

Christmas was a very big deal for me and my siblings many moons ago.    Not for one minute am I suggesting it is anything less than that for my own boys, but for us, Christmas was the perfect opportunity to request proper “stuff.   “Stuff” that we really wanted, lusted after and couldn’t sleep due to the expectations of receiving the “stuff.”

Our parents ensured my siblings and I always got what we asked for.   Without fail.  And there were a few lovely surprises thrown in for extra squeals of joy and delight.   As much as I loved my First Love doll, the poster paints, my many, many books and the bookcase I still have, the bulging stocking was what I loved going through and always kept till last.  If I could hold out.

This is how it looks in the boys' bedroom

This was filled with items including a toothbrush, a pair of socks, some pencils and school stationery supplies, toiletries as we got older, notebooks, and other odds and ends, little knick knacks that only the young can really enjoy.  It was like a giant, satisfying party bag after the party.

But one Christmas gift from Santa stands out far and way above everything else and when Sinead from Bumbles of Rice invited the Irish Parenting Bloggers to join in on her nostalgia post on a favourite toy from Santa, I knew immediately which one I was going to write about. 

My Petite 990 typewriter.

Even the ad on the telly filled me with fizzing joy. 



I am fizzing with joy thinking about it more than three decades later.  

I loved it!

I spent many, many happy hours banging away on those keys.   It must have driven my parents mad.  But I learned valuable typing-with-two-fingers-skills on that machine.  I had lots of words a minute.  

A couple of years ago, on our annual trip to Rosslare, we stopped off at a café absolutely buckling under the weight of its retro objects.

And there, in a little alcove close to where we sat, was a typewriter.   Not my beloved Petite 990 but a real, honest to god, typewriter all the same.

The boys were fascinated and hadn’t a clue what it was.    One of them hazarded a guess at it being an old computer.  He wasn’t completely wrong but when I explained to them how it worked, they were disbelieving and full of “but why?  What’s the point?  All the mistakes you would make. It would be too slow.”

But those were the times we lived in, boys.  And years after my Petite 990 was laid to rest somewhere, I went on to learn to type properly on one of those old-fashioned typewriters. 
  

*stuck and desperate for desperation we did the only thing we could do with such a short time before The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year:  we took them to Smyth’s Toy store and let them loose.  I photocopied everything they liked the look of and told them they could make one small alteration to their Christmas lists.    as luck would have it, Smallest Boy happened upon the one toy he spotted on the channel Pop over a month ago.   Much joy!  We’re sorted.  And I bet none of their “stuff” will last as long as my book shelf did.   But that’s not the point really, is it?

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