When I Was Your Age...

The older my children get, I find myself...with increasing frequency, starting sentences with a phrase I thought I’d never say: “When I was your age…” Yup, nothing says you’re old like those words, which have been uttered by old people since the Industrial Revolution.

Usually, “when I was your age” serves as a cop-out for my cheapness. I say things like, “When I was your age, I only had two shoes” (commonly known as one pair), or “When I was your age, we only had four channels, and one of them was in French.

But there is one statement that I wish to shout from a roof top. It is: “When I was your age, the toys were better.” If you look at some of the top toys on this years Christmas wish lists, you see cheap plastic crap that I am loathe to buy for Lochlan.

I miss the toys of my childhood, all of which I wish my parents still had. Yes, with five children, had they kept our toys, they would now have a moderate-sized toy collection, a Narnia closet leading to Fisher Price Land, that would be renowned in their community. If this closet existed, it would contain classic, quality toys that last...even beyond 40 plus years at this point. Most of those toys would now be vintage Fisher Price; in other words, they were manufactured before the company was bought by Mattel, who brought it into chic millennium style by downgrading the toy quality to cheap plastic crap.

So, without further ado, I present a few of my favourite vintage toys from the 1970's...

The Little People
First they were made of wood and then durable plastic (which actually isn’t an oxymoron). You can still buy Little People today but, you guessed it, they’re cheap plastic crap; they’re also the size of a mini-football so no kid will choke on them. While I loved the black and white dog, my favourite out of all the Little People was the angry boy. Who didn’t like that freckly kid who always looked like someone took his last piece of candy? I even chewed off his orangey red cap in my own fit of anger. We both survived. That was in the bygone era when parents childproofed their kids instead of childproofing their homes. Back then, experience taught us important lessons, like not to lick ashtrays. My parents both smoked when I was a kid and I had older siblings who I'm pretty sure at some point dared me to lick the ashtray. I can neither confirm nor deny if I followed through on said dare. 

The Parking Garage
Even though no child uses the middle level, the garage is timeless. I spent hours putting the little gas nozzle into the little cars’ gas tanks. The pièce de résistance, however, was the elevator. It would carry the little cars up before releasing them down the slide. The entire garage was absolute fun, unless you got one of the Little People’s heads jammed between the elevator and the ground floor, but those guys were durable. Like Wile Coyote indestructible.

The Village
Two items made the village legendary: the mail truck and the mail, six pieces of Flintstone era letters, all deliverable through the door slots of different businesses. I loved the mail so much, I graduated to bigger postal dreams: using my parents’ slotted milk crates...which we always seemed to have a stack of...to sort various papers and envelopes into. Who needs an iPad when you have Fisher Price and empty milk crates?

Play Family Camper
The camper was the 1970 kid’s Russian doll set...first the truck, then the camper, finally the boat as the crowning jewel. It was finely accessorized, with a picnic table and a toilet. I loved  that you could shove all the Little People inside and quickly cram the camper shut without getting one of their little heads caught. 

So, to all those born after 1980, I say...

When I was your age, the toys were better.


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