Child hood toys


Toys I still do or wish I had: Times Past

Toys I wish I still had or do have. Child hood toys.

I grew up in the 60s & 70s so dolls that looked like me or reflected my heritage were rare, far and few in between. However my parents and aunts found Black dolls so I would be proud of my race and skin color. Keep in mind during the 60s the Civil Rights Movement, protests, demonstrations and such were going on and race relations were undergoing great change in America. Mom and Dad were constantly reinforcing positive Black images for both my brother and me. We were raised to be proud of our culture.

Baby Boomer: New York, USA

Have you kept or still wish you had any childhood toy?

I still have Baby Suza/Susa. She is a Black baby doll that my Aunt Helen Garcia gave me when I was around 8 years old. Have to admit after all this time she is one battered baby doll!  I don’t think comic books count as toys but if I had known back then that old-time comics would become collectors items/big business (Comic Con) I would have held onto them and been a rich woman!

New York Comic Con

Did you have a favorite toy as a child?

Yes the four foot Black doll that was my size and would walk with me around the house. With my help of course!! LOL!!  Another favorite was my Julia doll. Julia was the spitting image and likeness of the African-American actress Diahann Carroll who was I believe the first African-American Woman to star in her own TV show!  This was a big deal back in those days because Blacks were very seldom featured on any TV shows much less having a TV program of their own. Diahann Carroll in her role as Julia played a nurse raising her son solo after her husband was killed in Vietnam.  My Julia doll also spoke phrases from the TV show until I pulled that string one too many times or too hard. After that poor Julia was silent. I do wish I still had her!!

American sitcom
Julia is an American sitcom notable for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role.Wikipedia
First episode date: September 17, 1968
Final episode date: March 23, 1971

Fast forward to the mid-1990s when my baby cousin Roni was born. I made sure that I always gave her Black dolls. By then a company called American Girl enabled buyers to create and order dolls based on the hair, skin tone and race of your child, so I bought a doll that looked exactly like Roni. She was thrilled!!  Repeating history for one Christmas I was able to locate and purchase a 4 foot child sized Black doll which Roni also loved mostly because she was the same size as the doll and they could exchange clothes!

Also enjoyed my Easy Bake oven because I could eat whatever little cakes I made. My Mom & brother Stephen also enjoyed eating my culinary creations. Dad. Well Dad would never eat any of my small tin pan wonders but What the heck?!! More for me, Mom & Stephen!!

Did you have a lot of toys or only a few?

A lot!! Dolls. Teddy Bears. Board games. Tea sets. Bikes, etc… My Dad did not make much money but we always got toys for Christmas and special occasions. Lay-A-Way when you choose your item, put down a starting payment then keep paying on your selection until you can get it out. My Dad did not have any credit cards until the 1980s by which time I was an adult.

Were your toys gender determined?

Yes. As a girl Baby Boomer I got toys that reflected perceived female roles ie dolls, Easy Bake oven, etc… However much to my brother Stephen’s consternation I was constantly “borrowing” his Matchbox cars and Tonka trucks for my “Town!!”

As I got older I also received arts & crafts toys, art supplies, sketch pads, craypas pastels, paints and so on because my family felt I had a talent for art. As you know from my previous posts I work as a museum security guard and that as close as I’ve come becoming an artist!! LOL!!  My parents both in Heaven are probably having a good laugh about this outcome!!










15 thoughts on “Child hood toys

  1. Pingback: Toys I still do or wish I had: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  2. You are so lucky that your parents brought you up to be proud of your heritage. I had one black doll called a golliwog which is now seen as being racist. I had no idea when I was a child of this concept and had a white doll called raggety Ann who was a white version of the same type. Your dolls sound fantastic. I have never seen a 4 foot doll and know I would have loved to have had one. Your niece was lucky that you could find her one. Could you actually cook your biscuits in your easy bake oven? I didn’t have one but I have heard of them. Cooking toys were one thing my mother didn’t give me (I think that was her protest against gender oriented toys and she hated cooking herself). Thanks for joining in Deborah. I had to laugh at how close you stayed to art although not in the way your parents imagined.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share: July 3 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

    1. Yes. My little cousin Roni thought so too for as soon as I handed the doll to her that’s exactly what she did!! Kids! Gotta love them! Of course now she’s a grown woman in her 20s.

  4. What a wonderful post! We must be close to the same age. I was born in 1965 in South Carolina. In some ways, I was very sheltered because I wasn’t aware of a Civil Rights movement at the time it was happening. Schools were integrated and I had friends of both races (there were only two races in the area that I grew up- black and white). However, I grew up with racist family members. I determined as a little girl after I was threatened for liking Bernard that I was never going to be like that. When you’re 8 years old and your daddy threatens to kill you and the boy you like just because he’s black, that makes a mark on you. The racism buck stopped with me. I was not going to raise my children like that. They don’t see color. They see people.

    I had a doll that was as tall as me (not hard to be!) that walked with me, too. I don’t remember the TV show that you mentioned, but some of my favorite sitcoms were The Jeffersons and Good Times. I just loved Florida Evans and I loved Florence’s sass on The Jefferesons. 🙂

    The American Girl dolls are great and have opened up so much for little girls of today. I never had an Easy Bake Oven, but it seems like my girls did.

    It sounds to me like you have a great job. I love museums. 🙂 Have a blessed day!

    1. Almost. I’m a bit older. I was born in 1959 in the Bronx, New York. Despite New York being in the North schools were not integrated until 1968 when busing began. NYC’s idea of integrated was to bus Black kids way out of their neighborhood into white schools. Was not an easy transition. Racism exists as much in the North as the South. YouTube has full episodes of the Julia TV show. Here is a link:

      Julia Starring Diahann Carrollin in I’m Dreaming Of A Black Christmas 1968 Part 1 Of 3

      1. Thank you for sharing this video. Something seems vaguely familiar about it to me. Maybe I saw it as a young child after all. I just can’t remember.

        I think racism is all over the world, against all races. No one is immune to it. We all just have to get to a point of not looking at color and just seeing people, regardless of our race. Heavenly Father created all of us. Everyone on this planet now descends from Noah after the Great Flood, so we’re all brothers and sisters or cousins. We’re all kin. 🙂 Have a blessed day!

      2. Thanks for your reply. I suppose if more thought like you things would be different however after this week’s events I don’t hold out much hope for this country. To the rest of the world we are barbarians. Yes there is racism everywhere but if one group is singled out for genocide, for destruction and for extermination the story is very different. I might have had some respect for the police before but not anymore. For many white Americans videos of Blacks being shot by white police is entertainment for me it’s personal. For the first time in my life I’m ashamed to be an American. I also know my military service was in vain as was my Dad’s during Korea and my Great, Great Grandfather during the Civil War. Black people are still seen as other. In fact for the majority of whites we are not even seen as human. We have bulls eye targets on our backs. Realistically I cannot leave America. I have neither the funds nor the resources but if I had the money I would. Not that elsewhere would be a utopia but maybe, just maybe I’d be view as a person not as a color.

Comments are closed.