I re-posted this from my own Puppatoons.com puppetry blog.
Oh, my stars. Here is me, in the very early 80s, with messy unwashed weekend hair and my old bifocal glasses, playing with my giant horde of cheap plastic toy horses.
My dad made us kids a sort of hobby table in the basement—my brother and his friends used it to race slot cars for a while, then once they grew out of that, I came in and added a fake “grass” mat to it and it became my “ranch”. The table was technically in my brother’s section of the basement, and I just sort of took it over. In these pics you can not only see me and my toy horses, but a great batch of old 1970s toys in their boxes stacked along the wall.
I collected and displayed these horses in a way that you can see I obviously didn’t know the structure of horse families, haha. You can see I have a lot of little family groups, many of which match.
I’ll get to those toys back there in a sec. First, for the horsey folks, a closer look:
When I was about eight years old,in maybe 1978,I went with my grandmother to North DeKalb Mall. This was a grand mall, not very big and built in, I think, the 60s. It is barely a shadow of its former self now, but I have an enormous backlog of memories from a lifetime spent of visiting it. Back then, North DeKalb Mall still had a supermarket attached to it—I think it was a Big Star. Anyway, it was Christmastime, and near the registers there were the usual stacks of holiday cookies, crackers and candies. And there was a GLORIOUS display of these giant suckers, flavored lime and cherry,colored green and red, the colors sparkling in the sunlight through the store windows. Each one was different as the colors/ flavors blended together in individual patterns on each sucker.The festive lollipops were beautiful, and I had always wanted one of those giant things—-these were about six inches in diameter.
They were $5.99, which back then was a lot, and although my grandparents spoiled me, they were still cheap. Still, y grandmother relented when I asked for one of the suckers. Joyfully I started unwrapping it as she paid for her groceries, and once we got outside the store, I had the wrapper off, anticipating the first taste…
…..and it broke into a hundred pieces. Somehow I couldn’t tell it had been shattered inside its wrapper and it simply crumbled into dust in my hands as Grandmother fumbled around in her purse, not even seeing the disaster unfolding.
I am embarrassed to say I burst into tears. Once Grandmother saw the demolished lollipop at my feet, she quickly assessed the situation and hauled me back inside. The next part is a blur—I don’t think she blamed the store, as it wasn’t their fault that some schmoe had busted up the suckers, but she somehow did convince the store manager(?) to give me another one. She made me wipe off my face and thank him, and off we went, me happily unwrapping a new, unbroken lolly and Grandmother probably very relieved that she didn’t have to deal with a crying kid on the way home.
And oh what an amazing lollipop it was. It took me three days to finish it, but it tasted AMAZING.
Friends, I have something SO special to share with you.
When I was a young and of course very odd little kid,I loved drawing as much as I do now, and I would devour with my eyes any books about drawing that I could get my hands on. And books such as those by Ed Emberly, one of my artistic heroes, were some of the best. Through drawing simple shapes and lines, Mr. Emberly taught us kids to really have fun, use our imaginations and explore once we had mastered the basics of his adorable little drawings. Some of these books featured things that were all one color, such as the Big Green Drawing Book, the Big Red Drawing Book, the Big Purple Drawing Book, and my favorite, the Big Orange Drawing Book.
The Big Orange Drawing Book shows you how to draw a lot of orange animals, such as tigers and foxes,characters made out of oranges(yes, the fruit!), and–best of all—Halloween characters.
Meet a delightful old 1970s toy of mine (which I actually might have stolen from one of my older brothers, now I think about it), a jolly little pumpkin horn! It’s pretty much a bicycle horn, and even after all these years, the rubber that makes up the bulb is still like new and it works great!! Beep Beep!