Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanks, Santa

What do you remember? Games, toys, presents from Santa. What do you remember?
Yesterday I wrote a blog for A Grandparent’s Voice and was drawn back to a memory of the Cootie game we had when I was a kid. There weren’t a lot of games in the Loxley house. Uncle Wiggly, checkers, pick-up sticks, Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head. Card games filled the drawer in the desk. Canasta, Authors, the old cards from the game PIT with the bull and the bear. Brenda had a Carrom game we loved to play, and the Riffel’s had my favorite, Stadium Checkers. More than likely these were all once toys from Santa or some loving adult who scrimped and saved so a child would find something special beneath the tree.
There were several dolls that found their way to our house on Christmas. I’m not sure who bought them for this once little girl. My favorite was Amosandra. I found her by the tree in a grey baby carriage. Mother had made a yellow hat, gown and blanket for her. Later Terri Lee, my Tony doll and Tiny Tears would join her in my room. Aunt Bess bought wonderful gifts. I remember finding the yellow, wooden horse in my grandparents’ front room. I could sit on it or push it. Aunt Bess also gave my last doll to me. Evidently someone had told her how much I loved Emmet Kelly the clown, because the doll arrived back the lane when Aunt Bess came to visit.
Noise from the basement filled the house. The youth group kids were roasting hot dogs. More than likely Mom laid out her usual fare of potato chips, potato salad and her cherry delight dessert. Popcorn balls would be stacked high in Dad’s popcorn pan. It was Christmas in the Loxley house.  
As the merriment carried on downstairs, I sat by the tree in the living room with my newest toy. I think my sister, June, was with me. The little plastic bells were lined up in a row with the colorful music propped up behind them… my first experience with music before I would someday sit at my first piano lesson.
I attribute my love of the theatre to a toy set from June. Surely she didn’t know that I would spend hours and years playing with the toys of the Disney TV Playhouse. I went online to see what my set would be worth now. The complete set depending on condition ranges from $200 to $518. The stage alone in mint condition is worth $165. My set isn’t worth much. A little girl played with it until the characters were worn and the stage bent. There is no price on memories, those memories from Christmases past.
I still have three of the plastic bells. My granddaughters love to ring them. The old stage is in a box in the garage along with the surviving characters and props, some broken, some not.
Old toys, old memories. Priceless pieces giving us glimpses into the past. Just the thought of a Cootie Game or a brand new Potato Head under the tree are enough to bring back memories of the days when we waited for Santa.
The toys are mostly long gone, but still the memories remain for the girl who lived back the lane on Neff Road.

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