Momma Told Me: Objects of Everyday Wonder: Childhood Nostalgia

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Objects of Everyday Wonder: Childhood Nostalgia

My Little Pony
Momma Told Me: Objects of childhood wonder...

There are some images, sights, and sounds from childhood that remain just as vivid as yesterday. They not only remain at the front of my memory archive, but surface uncontrollably at random to remind me of lessons and emotions otherwise forgotten. Even though I'm classified as a Millennial, my childhood feel on the cusp of electronic revolution and the end of simpler times. When Momma was but a little lass the majority of her toys were cloth and wood, today, most toys featuring these materials are marketed to a 'green consumer,' or the baby boomers that bore them. It boggles my mind to think that I now have to pay more for toys that encourage imagination and bypass batteries. And, in an attempt to recapture some of my childhood, and simpler times, I'm often found dusting off old memories in the garage and sharing meaningless (to anyone but me) tales of my childhood.
Little Tikes Little People
I was,by no means, a spoiled child. Most of my toys were hand-me-downs form my cousins, or forgotten thrift store finds from another era. Like myself today, Momma enjoyed acquiring mementos from her own childhood in an attempt to connect with me on that level. I recall once she discovered the 6 am re-broadcasts of the Lamb Chop show (black and white) playing on local cable television. For the better part of a year this was our obsession. It was Momma's logical alternative to Barney, which was in my target age range at the time- unfortunately, Lamp Chop merchandise wasn't exactly being manufactured and selling off the shelves. Momma had to make all of my Lamb chop toys (good thing this little lamb was already a sock puppet, by character!) I still have my 'sock' Lamb safe in my Toy Chest at the foot of our bed, and have no doubt the tender spot in my heart, for this childhood character, is mainly due to my Mom.
Astro Pop
When it comes to games of my childhood, I've already recounted several fist fights that broke out among friends and I over that glorious silver (plastic) Pretty, Pretty, Princess crown. It's no wonder this game has subsided in popularity since my own childhood; teaching young girls to rank and value status isn't exactly a wholesome board game lesson. Other games from my childhood? When Aladdin came out on VHS I remember watching it so many times, back to back, we had to buy a new cassette within a week. We also acquired an Aladdin board game, that reminded me of Mouse Trap, I never quite understood how to play, because it was several years ahead of me. That never stopped my friends and I from making up our own rules, though! And, believe it or not, my favorite family game was Checkers....But with a Hershey Kiss Twist. My pop and I would play with Silver and Striped Kisses (Hugs) for edible pieces that made sweet memories even sweeter.
Creepy Crawlers
Speaking of things that are edible- two confections have long incited valuable childhood memories; Bottle Caps and Astro Pops candy. Bottle Caps, the little cap shaped sweet-tart-esque soda flavored candies, usually only appeared in fun size candy bundles during Halloween. I recall I would always spend the week following the holiday desperately trying to trade my chocolates for any leftover packets of Bottle Caps. Then there were Astro Pops, which had the same twisted childhood thrill of sharpening a candy can into a shank, but pre-pointed. This three colored lollipop was shaped like a 'rocket' and had a little dollup of wax at the base of the stick. We'd pick these up 3/$1 at the craft store each week, today the resurrected 'nostalgia' brand sells for $4 each! Of course my mention of childhood wonder, and tasty treats wouldn't be complete without the Easy Bake Oven, which I, personally, never saw under my tree from Santa (despite asking 9 years running).
I did, however, receive something called a Creepy Crawlers molding oven, which is exactly the same thing, save the 'baked' creations aren't edible. This 'oven' operated on a very hot, but basic bulb light and utilized cast iron plates with squeezable 'Goop' bottles that baked into wiggly little bugs and monsters. This was Mommas way of joining my interests (crafts) into my best friends interests (he was a boy, enough said). As it turns out I loved this little creative toy, and spent the better part of two years obsessed with running home to try new colors, patterns and molds for my Creepy little Crawlers. This unique mini oven also came in handy when I later went to the State Science Fair showcasing my home-made Lava Lamp (another nostalgic childhood fave).
From time to time I open up my old Toy Chest and pull out my old stuffed animals. It's something I like to do with Jay or Sabrina around, because both are from 2 completely different childhood eras than me. Many of my plush toys are 80s staples, like the all-together haunting 'Chubbles' bear. These little interactive white bears wore hoods of varied colors and remind me of Jawas (Star Wars), which, in truth, terry me. And, since we're being honest, this wasn't really one of my favorite plush toys as a child. I spent most of the time throwing various clothing over him in hopes of avoiding the motion sensor sound and flashing eye response. And, it's because of this he holds a very special, dark, place in my childhood memories.
There are a few of these childhood mementos I keep out and around simply because they hold significant sentimental value, or are a true collector's item. My View-Master collection is something I am particularly proud of; as these little cartridges easily tore, stained, and got lost among small hands. All of my little story discs are in Mint, and complete, condition. This includes my personal favorite, Popeye Adventures, and Flinstones shorts. Of course I have the obligatory 'educational' Viewer discs, and cheesy 'vacation' style destinations discs. I only wish I had more Disney branded View-Master collections, which would add monetary value! This is one of those toys, like the Etch-A-Sketch, I think will live long through many generations, with it's simple battery free wonder.
cabbage patch doll
 Perhaps two of the most significant childhood baubles in my mind are the ones I've had longest. The above red-headed Cabbage Patch doll came home with me the day I was born, as a gift to Momma. I later inherited it when I began learning how to read; as it had come with a personalized story-book bearing my name. I have the doll, her original clothes, the book, and the audio cassette that came with it, all still in Mint condition. I wish I could say I had more of a connection to this tattooed butt baby, but this remains the only Cabbage Patch Doll I ever owned; and near 3 decades later, it still reminds me of my first memories with Momma.

Beside her, on our record hutch, is a curious contraption I have tirelessly hunted for since childhood. It's been my intention to find a more updated, but equally simplistic, unit; though the concept has eluded me. Consider it a cross between a mobile and light projector. The narrow light bulb housed within heats the air and creates a rotation for the tiny mosaic screen of shapes resting on the frame around it. The plastic dome around it, at one time, cast the tiny images on the projector screen out around my room, spinning in wonder. Unfortunately, the plastic dome has corroded and become scuffed (in wiping) from years of use, it no longer projects crisp shapes, but colored blurs. None-the-less, it still brings back content feelings of comfort and whimsy from my childhood.

What smells, sounds, and objects take you back to your childhood?

What Daughter Says: Objects may come and go, but the most magical memories never fade.


  1. I've always loved the Fisher Price Little People but the Viewmaster was amazing too!

  2. Oh my goodness! You are showing so many toys of my childhood! The little people were a huge hit! We had the farmhouse and old fashioned 70's doll house that went with them. And I had Ponies, and popples and Super old fashioned from the 60's doll house with dolls and furniture. No brand name. I had the best toys as a kid. I think kids now get too spoiled with electronics and don't get enough freedom of the older toys.

  3. This will show how young I am but the one thing that brings out the most nostalgia is the original Poke'mon games :)

  4. Oh I remember this when I was young! So fun!!!! Brings me way back to my childhood!

  5. We are children of the same era. Loved the Little People and recently found a house at a yard sale with the people, cars, and all accessories for $5. Snatched that up so fast. Also I found the vtech robot at a yard sale that you have to have the cards for it to read, with green buttons on one side and red ones on the other. The boys don't really think it's nearly as cool as I do. Hard to beat an iPad I guess.

  6. All of those were so fun! I loved my Viewmaster. My mom, actually has a collection of Cabbage Patch dolls...she tries to get one that looks like each of her grandchildren.

  7. Such a trip down memory lane! I got my daughter an Easy Bake oven a few years ago. She used it exactly once.

  8. Smells = Bread making, my mom always waited until we got home from school to pull out the bread from the oven, Sounds= the noon whistle in our town. Toys= Barbie!

  9. The adobo that my mom makes is wat brings me back to my childhood.

    Jade of
    Diva Fabulosa Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

  10. What a great walk down memory lane. I had forgotten about Astro Pops. I used to love those.

  11. We had all of of them. I wish I had them to share with the kids.

  12. Those photos definitely brought back some memories. I used to jones for Astrop Pops like someone would for crack when I was a teenager. I didn't know someone could still purchase them. I'd almost (just almost) pay $4 just to have one and be flooded again with sweet memories of when I used to eat them.