Tuesday, October 20, 2009

20 October: Playtime

It's that time of year when answering the doorbell after dark is likely to lead to an awful fright, with a knot of masked ghouls, witches and devils (some of them adult-size) demanding a trick or treat.

There was a time before Hallowe'en was invented, when children used to construct a figure and ask for a "penny for the guy", but poor old Guy Fawkes seems to be out of fashion.

Not that I was ever able to gather such pennies when I was a child, having no access to any materials for an effigy, nor the transport to get it to a suitable begging-spot. Either old clothes or a sack was needed, plus straw or similar for stuffing, and these things were not available. Nor were the wheels - indeed the possession of a go-cart of any sort was way beyond my wildest dreams as a child.

Anyway, my mother wouldn't have let me.

In fact, I find it quite hard to remember what toys I had when I was small. There was a set of wooden farm buildings, made by my father (my brother had a much more desirable cowboy fort); and there must have been some farm animals, but I remember more clearly the plastic cowboys and indians from the cornflake packets. Spacemen too, about 2 inches tall.

There were paints and painting books, and when I was older I had a Bayko building set; pocket money went on extra pieces for this, and I was able to construct a variety of 1950s houses, mostly with bay windows and crazy paving. Actually, I still have the Bayko, as well as my Dan Dare jigsaw puzzle.

When I was at grammar school I had a tennis racket, and spent hours in the summer hitting a ball against the wall of the brick out-house. I also had a bike (Dad got it from a local auction sale), which I painted myself - red, gold and 3 shades of blue, I seem to remember.

I don't remember any dolls, though I loved my stuffed rabbit, Bunny - it was a real rabbit skin, too, and eventually I stroked it clean away.

At primary school, there were crazes; skipping, jacks, hula-hoops, conkers.

But I don't remember any toy that needed batteries, or was connected to a TV programme or a film. How on earth was I occupied all the time, never being bored?

1 comment:

Granny J said...

Curious -- there was never such a thing as "trick or treat" when I was growing up. Costumes, yes. Usually a school carnival, also, as an occasion for dressing up. As for toys, I still have Julius Otto, my teddy bear. My mom, who did a lot of sewing, made several stuffed animals, often to match dresses that she made. I also recall being very, very fond of paper dolls.