Tag Archives: nostalgia

Memory Lane: Build Your Own Birds

Don’t be fooled by these unprepossessing little pieces of plastic. Sure, it looks like the easiest model in the world to assemble. But wait, there’s more!

This is the parakeet from Bachmann Birds of the World, vintage 1959. And if you can do a good job of following the instructions for hand-painting it… voila! See the source image

I kept my finished model parakeet at Grammy’s house–mine was painted blue and white instead of green and yellow–and it never failed to turn heads, sitting on its perch in the living room. It was very realistic!

I kept my scarlet tanager at home. There were many birds in this series, but I didn’t get into collecting them. I sorta wish I had, though.

Toys for kids, featuring the development of manual skills, learning to follow directions, and patience in working toward a goal–yeah, tell me you can get that with “Zombie Apocalypse.”


Memory Lane: A Summer Night

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Our back porch wasn’t quite as fancy as the one in this picture, but it did have a glider, a grass rug in the summer (rolled up for the winter), and was completely screened in; and we loved it.

One of the things I’ve been remembering lately is those summer nights when I was in bed and my mother and father relaxed with friends or family on the back porch. All the windows were open; hardly anyone had home air conditioning back then. So I would lie there in bed and listen: the peaceful rumble of conversation, punctuated occasionally by a laugh, and the soft clink of glass on glass–it was the grownups on the porch, doing what grownups do. I never could quite make out what they were saying: grownup stuff, probably, of no interest to a five-year-old.

But the thing I remember most about it now was that it made me feel safe. And secure. It was the sound of things being as they should be. The adults were as they ought to be. It kept the monsters at bay. The boogie-man wouldn’t come out of the woods as long as grownups were out there on their porches, or in their backyards, upholding peace and sanity.

I kind of miss that feeling.

But there is a higher and even more reliable guardian: Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4).

Memory Lane: Tetherball

You don’t have to be human to enjoy a game of tetherball. See? Even dogs can play it.

Tetherball was one of the fun things we had on the playground in the summer, way back when. I couldn’t find any video of the kind of tetherball we had–small ball on a cord, and you hit it with paddles. Now they’ve made it more like volleyball.

One thing about growing up next to a playground–there was always something to play. Tetherball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, volleyball, badminton, swings, merry-go-round, sliding board–uh-oh: no electronics! You actually had to get up off the couch to play these games.

I do miss them!

Bonus: Sweetest Cat Video You Ever Saw

Patty found this on Facebook this morning, and I couldn’t wait till evening to share it with you.

Do you sing to your cat? I do. “Walk like a peep, talk like a peep” I sing to Peep the cat. This cat’s name is Bailey, and the little girl is Abby; and the song she sings is You Are My Sunshine. My father used to sing that to me if he had to walk the floor with me at night because I had gas or collywobbles–one of my very earliest memories, and one of the sweetest.

Abby, you are a glimpse into Heaven.

Memory Lane: The Barylambda

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You’ve already asked yourselves, “What’s a barylambda?” It’s this animal pictured above, which exists no more. I love that picture, though. I’d swear it was shot in Edgar Woods, the way it used to be before Democrats paved over every square foot of it. That background does take me back!

This is one of my favorite prehistoric mammals. That long, powerfully-muscled tail looks like it ought to be on a dinosaur, not a mammal. I can’t think of any mammal today that has a tail to match it.

I was always delighted when my Free Prehistoric Monster in a box of Wheat Honeys or Rice Honeys turned out to be a barylambda. Like this one:

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*Sigh*  Even if we could get the barylambda back, we’d still need a woods to put him in. Our local Edgar Woods was just perfect, but it’s gone as surely as the barylambda.

I hope God remembers to put it back when he restores all things.


Memory Lane: The Game of ‘Schmo’

Just in case there isn’t another Democrat “debate” for a while, here’s something very similar to tide you over–the game of Schmo (http://www.craycraygames.com/?p=800).

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Remco produced this game in 1959. How well I remember those commercials! “I’m a schmo, and that ain’t good…” The object of the game was to see how could be the biggest nincompoop, or schmo. Events within the game featured forgetting one’s pants, stepping into wet cement, and other schmo-like misadventures.

I expect I’ll be sitting in a doctor’s waiting room while you read this.

Schmo, anyone?

‘More Memory Lane: “Fury”‘ (2016)

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This is the toy that served me when I played “Fury”

A 1950s American middle-class childhood–I wouldn’t trade it for gold.

Fury was a long-running TV show about an orphan boy, a horse nobody wanted, and the healing power of love.


If you showed up in Hollywood with a script like this today, they’d think you’d lost your mind. Or they’d buy it and then find some way to make it dirty.

But for those of us who knew and loved this show, way back when, the memories are sweet.

Another Fantastic Gag That Didn’t Work

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Comic books in the 1950s advertised for all sorts of incredibly cool things you could send away for–X-ray glasses, Sea Monkeys, this little doohickey you could put in your mouth that would let you throw your voice like a professional ventriloquist… genuine authentic foot-locker full of these pitiful flat plastic soldiers…

And the Joy Buzzer.

Image result for images of joy buzzer

This little treasure, you wound it up and hid it in the palm of your hands, and when your victim shook hands with you, he’d get a loud buzzing shock that’d make him jump a foot in the air. We thought it might’ve been electric, but when my brother and I got our Joy Buzzers, we quickly discovered there was no electricity involved. In fact there wasn’t much of anything involved. If you and the victim really tried on purpose, you could get it to buzz. But usually nothing happened.

At least these things weren’t expensive.

To this day I remain skeptical of the worth of goods and services advertised in comic books.

Bonus Song, ‘A Wooden Heart’

I was absent-mindedly whistling this song today, not knowing the title or any of the lyrics. My step-grandfather, John, who’d been a merchant seaman for much of his life, and was born and raised in Holland, used to play this on his harmonica. Once his brother Jacob came across the Atlantic and they played this as a duet at a family gathering. Something about the tune clung to my heart for all these years.

I never expected to hear it again, but as I whistled it, Patty exclaimed, “Oh! ‘A Wooden Heart.'” And she sang a few bars of it in German. It’s a German folk song, although John and Jacob probably knew it in Dutch.

John was a good man and he had some great stories of the sea… and I miss him. I miss them all.

But I’m sure they know this song in Heaven, and I hope to hear it there–on John’s harmonica.

A Relic of Awfulness

I feel whimsical this morning. I’m convinced God gives us that so that we don’t burn out. A good laugh is part of God’s stuff, too.

I don’t know why this antique ridiculous commercial popped into my head today. Vintage 1979, it was for Revlon’s “Charlie” fragrance–I have no idea who gets to name perfumes, or how they go about it–complete with supermodel Shelly Hack and her 64 teeth and Mel Torme roped into singing the jingle.

Lyrics of enduring, persevering brainlessness: “Kinda young, kinda now… Kinda free, kinda wow…” It takes a special talent to write such drivel.

Mel Torme was one of the leading singers of his era and also a championship-caliber quick-draw expert. Interesting man! Great raconteur, too. They were going to do a feature on him for Sixty Minutes once, he says, but dropped it once they’d found out he had no history of scandal, adultery, alcoholism, or drug addiction. “I was too dull,” he admits.

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