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11 October 2013

Another early Friday night question! What long-lost childhood possession of yours would you like to see again?
I would love to be reunited with my spin art machine! It was a little red plastic box with a sharp stick in the middle where you impale a piece of paper (once you run out of the provided papers with holes) and you turn it on and splatter paint all over.
So much fun to watch the colors spray out.

I also had various rock collections at different points in my life and I wish I had made sure my parents didn't throw them out. Maybe if I had labeled them...
posted by rmless2 11 October | 14:01
Some of my junior high-school textbooks, i.e, the literature anthologies. Some great short stories, and they don't seem to be on the web anywhere.
posted by Melismata 11 October | 14:14
My old Bunty annuals. I used to spend hours and hours poring over them. I loved The Four Marys and Moira Kent stories. Most of the books I had as a kid were second-hand, other girls had grown out of them before I ever got them. But I never minded. I loved them anyway. My 9-year-old self would have given anything to have been sent away to boarding school like so many of the girls in those stories.
posted by Senyar 11 October | 15:41
My dolls! My grandmother collected dolls for me as souvenirs from her travels. I had dolls from China, Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Venezuela, all over Europe, etc. They were gorgeous dolls, I loved them dearly. As a child, I had a dedicated shelf next to my bed that held my ever-growing collection of international dolls.
My grandmother started traveling late in life once all of her children were raised, and her husband prematurely deceased. To this day, she is still the most well-traveled person I ever knew personally.
My dolls are gone now, lost in the Great Purge my mother undertook when I was in grad school. I miss them so much.
posted by msali 11 October | 15:46
Well, before she met my father, my mother was a teacher who spent a year as an exchange teacher in Wales. That was the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation and she came to London to be in the crowd on the parade route and buy souvenirs. A lot of small trinkets are in the Family Boxes I inherited, but there was one LARGER item I glommed onto as a child - a cricket bat. That cricket bat successfully stayed with either me or my father until after my wife and I broke up and everything we had went into a storage unit.

From later, when I grew up and went to work for a company that, among other things, made famous trophies: I didn't get to bring this one home (just pose with it), but when they cleared out a display case they no longer had room for, I got to use a Golden Globe* as a paperweight on my desk. When I left the job and packed up my desk, of course I got away with it.

When my father died, I decided to consolidate everything from my storage and his and bring it all up to S.L.O. I let my former mother-in-law pick out stuff on behalf of my ex-wife (who had taken permanent residence in a mental facility and was not communicating with me directly) and I suspect she took 'em both. Just a reminder to me not to hold onto old memories too hard. (*yes, I wrote this piece AFTER I could not find the trophy)

Of my childhood toys, my most beloved were a talking Cecil the SeaSerpent puppet, the didn't-do-much-but-looked-cool Mr. Machine and my favorite construction toy, Kenner's Girder and Panel. I was a dull kid.

I also had one of the first cassette tape recorders made... with the brand name CRAIG (It did look like this) One of the few times I liked my original first name growing up.
posted by oneswellfoop 11 October | 17:05
For years, I wanted to be reunited with a toy dog my Mom bought me on a whim at the PX in Okinawa. It was a white dog in a blue clown suit with a brown patch on one eye, and it had a rattle in it (so it must have been a toddler toy). I named him Muffin. He disappeared from school one day (I think bratty blonde Jennifer stole him) and I was crushed for years. I thought it was a Gund toy so I looked for years on eBay with no luck. Then one day in Ocean City, NJ, I saw Russ toys and thought, huh, maybe that's it. One search for "russ dog toy" and BAM, there he was. He's mine now!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 11 October | 17:13
I did several purges of my possessions throughout my childhood, so even though I love my mementos I'm at peace with the ones I no longer have. I guess the one that I would have back is a fine brushed-brass compass. It must have been my father's. I held on to that for years, especially when I actually used it in high school. It had such a nice weight to it.

I remember this toy fondly, though it seemed to stay in production for many years so I figured I could get another if I wanted. But it seems to be out of production now:

≡ Click to see image ≡

I remember having one of these, too:

≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by halonine 11 October | 18:55
My leopard print one piece bathing suit that only covered one boob. I was 1.
posted by chewatadistance 11 October | 19:49
2 books, Pickle for a Nickel, and The Prince Who Learned to Smile, and a large Barbie collection. My Mom scooped up these things for a church rummage sale. The Barbies (and Kens, Skipper, Midge) were pretty beat up, as we used to make them skydive, go whitewater swimming after a big rain, etc., but I had a Barbie car and the 1st Barbie Dream House. I thought they'd be valuable one day. oh, well.

After college, I got rid of lots of stuff. Wish I'd saved a few papers.

I let my son save whatever toys and books he really wanted. They're in 'Memory Boxes' for someday. He just got married and I found the baby bonnet/ hankie his great aunt Ruth made for him, and which his bride carried. Sometimes I'm a sap.
posted by theora55 11 October | 21:00
My Lite-brite set, my stuffed German Shepherd, all of my Legos,

...and the little man who crept from the pentagram every evening at sundown.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 11 October | 21:59
I had a sturdy round wooden plaque about the size of my (adult) fist with a structure on top carved in the shape of a sentry post, with two wooden peg soldiers standing at attention on either side of its central door. It was painted in basic colors, without much detail. The base and the walls of the post were off-white, the roof was red, and the soldiers where light blue with pink faces, black hats, and gold belts and collars.

It was originally the hub of a mobile that hung above my crib, and there was a musical mechanism inside that played the Brahms lullaby, "Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht." While the lullaby played, the sentry post and soldiers would slowly spin. Presumably if it were hung by a string whatever else was suspended from it would also spin, but I don't remember back that far.

Every night before bed I would turn the key five times and drift off to sleep before the song wound down. My father told me never to over-wind it, but one night when I was six I lost count and felt the snap of the spring breaking and I knew I would never hear it again.

Which brings me to a public service message: parents, never tell your six-year old "I told you so" when they ruin their security blanket. They're upset enough as it is. Losing things we value is part of life, and the lesson is learned at the moment of destruction. Extra recriminations are unnecessary and can engender guilty feelings that we sometimes never fully process.

It is surprisingly hard to find a music box movement that plays the piece correctly. Most skip the first iteration of the second theme and jump right to the end. I'm sure this makes for a smaller drum and a more compact movement, but it's thoroughly disturbing to someone who listened to it several times a night throughout his nonage to hear the truncated version.

Anyway, I don't know if I would really want it back now, but I still remember exactly how it felt in my heart when I broke it and I still wish I hadn't been so careless, even though I no doubt would have stopped listening to it at bedtime at some point not long thereafter.
posted by Hugh Janus 11 October | 22:08
spin art machine!

I had one of those too. It was a pretty awesome toy that I remained fairly interested in through early adolescence, when I could think of it as art.

Bunty: one of my friends has a big set of bound Bunty for Girls on her shelf. I think she grew up with it, but I had never heard of it. It seems like a cool thing.

The first things that came to my mind were things I lost in a house fire when I was 11. The fire started in my room (I wasn't there), so everything I had pre-age 11 pretty much got burnt. I had a brown stuffed bear with a sweet plastic nose that I wish I could get back - he was my bear since I was a baby, but he was lost. Also, I had a full set of Bobbsey Twins, a full set of Nancy Drew, and a full set of Hardy Boys that my grandmothers and aunt had purchased for me on subscription. I'd get one new book every month or so, read them over and over, and by the time I was 11 I had dozens. What a shame to lose them all.

But the other thing I'd love to have would be my grandma's set of Warner Brothers character Pepsi drink tumblers. We loved those growing up.

posted by Miko 11 October | 22:50
That's tough. Probably my rabbit skin. I remember my uncle bought it for me at an A&P show when I was 3-ish, and I used to put it on my pillow and rub it every night until I fell asleep. I rubbed the fur right off the skin and like any good blankie it wore down until it was a little shred of stuff.
posted by gaspode 11 October | 23:06
The cotton stuffed Raggedy Ann and Andy that were chewed up by my brother's dog because the housekeeper neglected to shut my bedroom door. All that's left is one of Ann's arms.
posted by brujita 12 October | 01:25
That's a poignant story Hugh. As an early age pure form nucleus of feelings of regret/guilt/loss that's very relatable.

The story reminded me of a little doggy with a muziekdoos inside that played the same wiegelied. The doggies head would slowly wag with the song. But I guess my elder brother had been rough because the head was partially torn and would loll in a macabre fashion as the musicbox played. It also happened that the music box would slow down as the spring unfurled. The combination of the flopping partial decapitation and the wiegelied going slower and slower until it stopped midsong made me feel very sad.
So to me it was not an emblem of reassurance to fall asleep to but and emblem of death and loss.
posted by jouke 12 October | 02:06
I've thought about this question since it came up yesterday but there's nothing that comes to mind other than some of the people I miss.

The closest thing wasn't my possession, yet my grandmother always stated that it would be mine someday since I played with it relentlessly when I was at her place: it too was a music box of sorts. I was transfixed by this ballerina who would spin, pulsing up and down to the music (I cannot recollect the tune).

It went elsewhere at some point in time. I know if I did have it, it wouldn't bring back that feeling of childhood innocence.
posted by mightshould 12 October | 04:56
I used to build plastic models; ships, vars, trains, airplanes. By the hundreds. I can't remember now where I ever got the money to do so, but I must have scraped by somehow.

Testor's paints and plastic cement in its orange tube were my companions as a weird, geeky kid, friendly familiar totems in what turned out to be an innocent time. I'd give a lot to have those feelings of accomplishment again.

The models? I honestly have no idea. Lost in moves, relegated when I discovered real cars and real airplanes and girls (both real and fantasy!). I'd like to see some of then again just to see how well my memories of them match up the the realities.

posted by pjern 12 October | 19:46
My Cindy doll. It was a pillow doll my mom made for me. Over the years, she sewed extra covers on it to cover up how grubby it got. I slept with it every night, even after it split in two around the waist in a pillow fight with my niece. My mom repaired it with stitches around the middle -- FrankenCindy.

I called her Cindy thinking it was Cinderella, but it was actually Alice in Wonderland, I realized later. No matter. She was Cindy to me. I've google-searched for it, but no luck. I don't remember what happened to it in the end.
posted by Pips 13 October | 09:38
I wouldn't mind an evening with a Creepy Crawlers set and 6 or so colors of goop.
posted by Ardiril 13 October | 16:19
The summer I was eleven I learned how to knit, and knitted like crazy until school started and I got sidetracked. My tour de force was a pair of donkey mittens with floppy ears and red tongues. I think I gave them to one of my cousins, but no one remembers them. I wish I still had them, because not only were they donkey mittens, they were great donkey mittens.
posted by tangerine 13 October | 23:06 favorite construction toy, Kenner's Girder and Panel.

I loved playing with my Girder and Panel set a heck of a lot more than my Erector set. Several years ago, I was digging through a box of old junk and found one lone green base plate, and enough girders to build a 5-story tower. Sadly, there were no skins. So, I have this square red skeleton sitting on my side-table, reminding me of my childhood.

As for what I'd love to reclaim...It would have to be either all of my Major Matt Mason sets, or my gold Stingray bike. I still have all of my original Hot Wheels, and those mean a lot to me.

The 60's were a golden time to be a kid, I think.
posted by Thorzdad 14 October | 06:45
All Is Fair in Love and Twitter || Verily magazine doesn't use photoshop in its models.