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Throwback Thursday #11 – Toys and Pastimes


I am in charge of this week’s walk down memory lane. Lauren and I rotate posting this challenge every Thursday. Participation is easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Toys and Pastimes

The global toy market in 2020 raked in revenue in excess of 94 billion USD, with the US alone accounting with over 24 billion of the total. Pretty crazy when you think how many children do not have many toys and how many have an excess. Looking back, I know why we no longer have many of our childhood toys – we wore them out!

Consider some of these questions when you write:

Did you have a lot of toys? What was your favorite? Were your toys seemingly gender-specific? Did you make toys out of household objects or things you found? Were you required to share your toys with siblings? Was there a toy you longed for but never owned? Did you ever save your own money to buy a special toy? Do you still have any of the toys from your childhood? If you did not have a lot of toys, what were your favorite pastimes that served as playtime? Have you or would you ever, purchase a vintage toy or a replica of a toy you adored? Include pictures if you have them!


We did not have an abundance of toys growing up. Birthday celebrations rarely included gifts, but we received a few on Christmas. We each got our own, but we all shared until we got older and gifts were more clothing related.

I did receive a Chatty Cathy doll one year for Christmas. She had a velvet like dress with a white lace pinafore over top. Her hair was auburn – not red. I loved her. She spoke when the string at the back of her neck was pulled and I had every phrase and her inflection memorized perfectly. “I’m sooooo tired.” “Will you play with me?” May I have a cookie?” “I hurt myself!” My daughter and her wife bought me a refurbished Chatty Cathy doll for my 50th birthday. She is in a drawer, in the box, sleeping. 😊 Click here to see the photo of my original doll.

Honestly, with the exception of my Chatty Cathy doll, I enjoyed other toys just as much. One of my favorite games consisted of pulling all my grandmother’s hard-backed books out of the bookcase. I stood them on end, fanned out, edges touching cover-to-cover. I created a castle that consisted of a maze of rooms. One slim book would become the drawbridge and my father’s chess pieces were the king, queen, and loyal subjects!

My brother received a Kenner Girder and Panel set one year. We had the best time piecing the beams, girders, and snap on panels to create homes and high rises. It was one of my favorite toys even though it was not mine. Here’s a link to a photo of the set.

One year my dad bought us an electric football game. The players moved by vibration on the big metallic football field while one player carried a cotton ball football. The pieces often spun around and moved in the wrong direction! Click here to see one posted and sold at auction.

When my grandmother was cleaning the closet under our steps I happened upon a brand new cardboard circus that had been given to my father as a child. Adult me wishes I had not been given permission to play with it, but I was. It would be nice to still have it today. Anyway, it was a full circus, printed on sturdy cardboard stock and full of vibrant decorations. There was a clown that actually climbed a rope, animal cars with cardboard animals, and all the circus performers. I have never again seen anything like it. It was fascinating even for me as a child. I punched out all the cardboard pieces and with painstaking steps, pieced every individual piece together

We had a few old rubber-like dolls. Once worn, they became patients for our dental practice. I would take straight pins from my mother’s sewing box and push them into her gums. Then up on a chair stacked with books and placed by our pole lamp with three adjustable lights. Add a pair of pliers from Dad’s toolbox and the process of extracting teeth could begin!

The one item I still have is my grandmother’s stereographic viewer. It gives a 3D-like image from two identical photographs slightly offset from one another. Here is one similar to my grandmother’s for sale on Etsy. Mine is in much better condition. This was not really a toy but it occupied me for more hours that you can imagine.