I don’t find this trip down Memory Lane to be quite so … disappointing … as the food. May have something to do with the olfactory sense being the most acute.

Spirograph. I have a vintage set, the original #401, 1967. It has all the wheels and pins, but no pens. I use my beloved Pilot Precise V5s in different colors for this. Sadly, I am not very good at this and I have no imagination.

Loom and doom: The ubiquitous pot holder loom. Laugh all you want, but I need more of these things because, quite frankly, they’re better than any pot holders I’ve ever bought. The problem is, the good ones (metal) are freaking expensive now. $15 per pot holder? I think not. (Yes, there are less expensive ones on Amazon. Look at the shipping, though.)

Yeah, so it’s Fisher-Price. Big deal. It played Karen Carpenter and Donny Osmond a whole helluvalot more than it played Dick Wittington and His Cat, and Drake’s Tale and The Bremen Town Musicians.

Chinese checkers. My dad and I used to play almost every night before bed. I don’t know when we stopped but it was probably around the time I decided winning didn’t do anything for me and losing pissed me off. My grandmother taught me how to play gin rummy and checkers.

Except … there was Pit. Playing that game 1) was a valuable economic life lesson and 2) actually did get me pumped when I won and 3) didn’t depress me if I lost because that’s just how the market works. My mother, grandmother, great-aunt, and I would play on New Year’s Eve (my mom’s birthday) and of the four of us, I am the least competitive. It got loud. And nasty. It was glorious.

Dime store Halloween masks should not be left out. Store-bought costumes were out of our budget (because back then, sewing was more economical), but I wanted one of those masks in the worst way.

Does anybody actually know how to play croquet? There were balls and mallets. WHACK! That’s all I needed.

Trouble, Sorry! (not sorry), and Operation.

Old Maid, Go Fish, jacks, and kaleidoscopes.

Clackers. Oh, clackers. Talk about an onomatopoeia. And alternative uses.

The IceBird snow cone maker. I got this for Christmas one year. I don’t know what my parents were thinking. The flavor packets operated on the Gillette razor blade and printer ink model: Buy the toy for cheap and pay a fortune to be able to keep using it.

A Skipper doll. Barbie was a little too upscale for the likes of me.

Going back a little farther, then, we’ve got Bozo the Clown. I got this for my 3rd birthday and promptly popped a hole in him. Why? Because I had just had a vaccine shot and, because I understood the concept of vaccination all too well, thought Bozo should be as inoculated as I was. I got one of my mother’s sewing needles and carefully poked his arm. I was thoroughly bewildered by his inability to hold air after that.

And last but not least, See’n’Say The Farmer Says, and a busy doll for fine-tuning motor skills. Yes, I still remember it.

Where do we go from here?

Testers don’t break the code.
They break your illusions about the code.