By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
When I was three years old, my Christmas present was a Raggedy Ann Doll. My Mom had made her, and two years later, Raggedy Andy joined her. I loved those dolls so much that I took them to college with me!
Another great Christmas present was the doll sideboard and table with wings that my Dad made one year. Still have those, too.
Stumbling across a list of best-selling Christmas toys on the Internet recently caused some reminiscing. So, this reporter decided to call a number of mature adults to see what their favorite Christmas presents were way back when.
Elna Johnson said a family friend who was a carpenter made her and her sister doll beds when they were between five and 10 years old. He also made them doll houses, which Elna’s girls and grandchildren played with.
Max Hoffmeister said a pair of chaps was a favorite present, as was a set of lead soldiers made from molds. He couldn’t understand how Santa could get everything into his sled!
Gladys Hoffmeister said she was disappointed one year because she got doll clothes her mother had made, but not the doll she wanted. Another year, she wanted a doctor kit but didn’t get it until the next year, when she was no longer interested in it.
Gladys said when she was in about first grade she explored the attic, where Christmas gifts were hidden. When her mother came home, Gladys was wearing the boots she was to receive for Christmas.
Marvin Large said a Red Flyer wagon was his favorite present when he was about five years old. He remembers riding it in the house and his mother getting tired of him hitting the door with it.
Arlene Large believes she was about four years old and still believed in Santa Claus when she went to the Christmas Eve service at church, then returned home to find that Santa had visited! She received a beautiful baby doll. When laid on its stomach the doll said “Mama,” and when it lay on its back it said “Papa.”
Arlene still has the doll, but it doesn’t talk anymore.
Monna Milner treasures a Bible she received from her parents when she was about 10 years old.
Evelyn Mitchell remembers a fancy baby doll she received from an aunt in 1932. The aunt was the only one in the family with money to purchase such things, she said.
Dean Mitchell still has the teddy bear he received from his grandmother in 1929 when he was two years old. It was saved from his burning house when he was five, and then again from a fire at his house on West 5th Street in Imperial in 1975.
Roger Moline was delighted with a spring horse his Dad made for him one Christmas. It was made from a flat buggy spring and could be sat upon.
Jean Moline was about seven years old when she received a big baby doll she’d seen in a department store window. It had a blue dress, and Jean’s sister received the same doll, but with a red dress.
Jean also still has a tea set and doll house furniture she received another Christmas.
In a time when toys seem to be disposable or easily broken, it’s fun to talk with people about cherished gifts that they still retain. They bring back good memories.
Through the years, here are some of the most popular toys:
- 1929—Yo-Yos (Duncan).
- 1930—Mickey and Minnie Mouse Handkerchiefs (Waldburger, Tanner & Company).
- 1936—Monopoly (Parker Brothers).
- 1943—The Slinky (Poof-Slinky).
- 1952—Mr. Potato Head (Hasbro) first toy advertised on t.v.
- 1959—Barbie (Mattel).
- 1975—The Pet Rock (Rock Bottom Productions).
- 1977—Slime (Mattel).
- 1978—Hungry Hungry Hippos (Milton Bradley).
- 1980—Rubik’s Cube (Ideal Toys).
- 1981—The Smurfs (Schleich).
- 1982—BMX Bikes (Schwinn Sting-Ray, Others).
- 1983—Cabbage Patch Kids (Caleco).
- 1984—The Transformers (Hasbro).
- 1985—Care Bears (American Greetings/Kenner).
- 1989—GameBoy (Nintendo).
- 1990—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Bandai).
- 1991—POG (World POG Federation, Others).
- 1992—Barney Talking Doll (Playskool).
- 1993-1994—Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Bandai).
- 1995—Beanie Babies (Ty Inc.).
- 1996—Tickle Me Elmo (Tyco).
- 1997—Tamagotchi (Bandai).
- 1998—Furbies (Tiger Electronics).
- 1999—Pokémon (Nintendo).
- 2000—Razor Scooters (Razor USA).
- 2001—Bratz Dolls (MGA Entertainment).
- 2002-2003—Beyblades (Hasbro).
- 2004—RoboSapiens (WowWee).
- 2005—Xbox 360 (Microsoft).
- 2006—Playstation 3 (Sony).
- 2007—iTouch (Apple).
- 2008—Elmo Live (Fisher Price).
- 2009—Nook eReader (Barnes & Noble).