And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Think About It

How many of you out there ever had toys that you would never, in a million years, allow your own children to play with?

My Bro and I were talking at the traditional holiday eve dinner about a "toy" my dad made for me when we were little. Do you remember the potholders you could make with loops that appeared to be socks or nylons cut into rings? Usually there was a loom that went with the whole thing, made of metal. It looked just like this, actually:

Well, my bro and I had one once upon a time, but we broke it or bent it or something. My Dad, bless his heart, built us a replacement using a scrap piece of board and a bunch of nails. You would think that he would have used a headless finishing nail, but no. My dad just pounded 6 penny nails all the way through the board, leaving the VERY SHARP nail points sticking out for us to attach our loops. You would not believe how many times we cut ourselves on that darn thing!

I loved it, truly. It was something I could do that was useful. I could make my Mom potholders that she actually used. I was so proud. I would spend hours figuring out which colors would be best. I worried if it wasn't perfect.

The funny thing is, we are all worried about some lead in our kids' toys, and if you think about it kids have been sucking on lead paint for years.

Of course, I am not saying lead paint is GOOD for kids, I am just saying that I think it is a little strange how the things we would never think of doing to our kids now were pretty normal just a few years ago.

Anyone have any stories of "deadly toys" they had as kids? I think it would be fun to share. I remember being entertained for hours just pounding rocks together to make dust (I thought I was being "caveman-ish" and making things). I also remember many, many pots full of "mud soup".

So, do you have a story to share? Please?


Lisa said...

We used to get those rolls of paper and gunpowder for cap guns and lay them out on the street. A rock, some smashing, and a few burnt fingers later, we were havin' fun!

jenny said...

We used to live near a dam and there was a little creek that would either trickle or rush, depending on how much water they let out from the dam. Anyway, my sister and I used to walk in the creek barefooted and would be out there pretty much all day. I would NEVER let my kids go in a creek barefooted now, what with all the trash and broken glass and stuff. Which is a shame really.

My dad made a wooden frame and nails to make a yarn weaving thingy... It didn't make pot holders but made a long "sheet" of woven yarn and then you could sew them together to make a patchwork blanket or sweater. I remember the nails sticking through the back too, but it was more my sister's than it was mine. She was wayyyyyy into crafting back then.

barefoot gardener said...

Ha! That's good. I remember we used to throw them at each other and boy would our parents SCREAM at us! I still get those for Big Sprout, but I make her do it right. Of course, she thinks it is great fun to pile them up under car tires so that the car "pops" them when it drives over them :-)

barefoot gardener said...

I hear you about the creek. We have a little drainage ditch that we used to be able to actually fish in when we were kids. Now I won't let the Sprouts anywhere near it.

Good stories!

Kati said...

ROFL I remember using my swiss-army-knife to make a spear for one of my dolls. *grin* How's that for dangerous toys. Or, my dad teaching us girls to shoot our bb-guns in the family-room, laying on the floor, using a targe taped over the open side of a box, up against our front door.

How about the races we'd have around & around the couch in the family room, slip-sliding on the bare floor in our socks, and the one time a younger friend didn't make the turn & smacked face-first into the front door, knocking out both of his front (baby, fortunately!) teeth.

Yep, those were the good (and dangerous) days!!!

Of course, the irony of all these lead-laden toys coming out of China is that chinese parents are buying non-lead-contaminated toys from European countrys, with American $$ that we send over there for Chinese made toys, while we're shelling our our $$ for these same toys the Chinese folks are avoiding like the plague.

Deb said...

Heck, I grew up in houses that probably were coated in lead paint. I remember my dad melting lead sinkers in a soup can over the stove to add some weight to my brother's Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car! And we played lawn darts, and I even smacked my brother in the head once with a horseshoe.

My Dh's parents let him take his small boat with 5 horsepower motor out along the shore of Lake Erie, and up a river OVERNIGHT! No cell phone calls every hour to give a progress report.

barefoot gardener said...

Pbbbfffft! :)
I had one of those Commando Barbies, too! She used to really kick GI Joe's butt when they got into fights, and she could beat him any time in a survival situation. LOL

I remember those lawn darts! My grandparents had a set, and boy did they get mad when we threw them at each other. Now my folks have these wimpy foam flowers that you are supposed to get to hook on a stake in the ground. Not nearly as much fun!

I totally forgot about the sleep-outs! Now THAT was fun. Going out in the woods and pretending to be an early explorer, living off the land (and the PB&J that you had stuffed in your pack), wandering around with no one knowing where you were or what you were doing.

You're right, it would never happen today. As a mother I shiver at the thought!

Wendy said...

My parents were pretty cautious. We used our seatbelts (back in the '70s when no one else was), and my father didn't even let us drink from cups with straws in the car - just in case he had to stop quickly and we ended up jamming the straw down our throats. I think my parents would have been mortified if they knew I climbed on (and fell off of) the roof of our house. There was a man-made lake near my house growing up. During the summer the lake was drained, but during the winter the lake was full. We used to cross the dam, more when there was no water, because it was less scary, but no less dangerous. The drop was about 40 ft and ended on rocks. I think my parents would have been horrified if they had known.

My husband allows my ten year old to use the maul to split wood. I think we're probably not as cautious as my parents.

barefoot gardener said...

Heck, _I_ am horrified that you fell of your house roof! My goodness.

I remember riding in the car (my folks made us buckle before it was fashionable, as well) sitting on taped phone books. They didn't have the nice booster seats and such that they have now, so my folks took duct tape to the yellow pages and made their own. We had them for booster seats at the kitchen table, too.

Ah, memories.

Kati said...

*grinning at Wendy's story of falling off the roof* Now, mind you my dad lives in a single-story home, but I remember us girls going up on the roof with him during the winter when he'd shovel off the roof. A couple of times the snow piles were almost to the eaves of the house and he didn't care if we jumped off the roof. Sometimes, of course, we slid off into the snow. What fun!!!!