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!!
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!!