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March of the Retro Toys

by Eva Pasco 

Eva Pasco - March of the Retro ToysJust as we’d dashed through the snow o’er the hills of adolescence in the Sixties, my sister and I entertained visions of sugarplums in anticipation of the toys we wanted for Christmas.  Whether cruising the aisles of Sears Roebuck in Providence during its heyday when the store giant boasted an entire wing for toys, or the entire floor of American Toy Co. in Pawtucket, we composed our lists and checked them twice before rattling off items from memory, sitting on Santa’s knee.  The forward march of Marx, Ideal, Remco, and Mattel had begun in earnest.


Though my sister and I never requested Ken under our tree, we did lay claim to some of the Retro toys popular in the Sixties:


Easy Bake Oven- amazing how the oven bulb actually baked a chocolate cake fit for consumption.


Colorforms and fashion paper dolls were right up my alley.


Miss Echo- who needed to pull the string on Chatty Cathy for verbage, when you could record your own voice and hear it back.


We drew the line at Wooly Willy, not amused by dragging magnetic whiskers over his chinny chin chin, or having our way with Mr. Potato Head, the tater extraordinaire.


Both of us passed on Sea Monkeys or an ant farm, unduly influenced by our mother.


I don’t recall either of us playing with Clackers, two plastic balls on a string with a maneuverable ring which enabled the balls to make a “clacking” sound.


I remember my creative limitations building picnic tables and benches with my Lincoln Logs.

My sister had a collection of five inch tall Trolls which she lined up along the backseat of the car—on her side of the imaginary boundary line we drew to delineate our territorial rights.


A hoola hoop, Slinky, and Silly Putty were part of our Sixties toy arsenal.


Various board games achieved popularity in the Sixties: Operation, Calling All Cars, Ben Casey, Candy Land, Clue, Go to the Head of the Class—but my favorite was Monopoly. You’ve already been privy to the mayhem which such a mild mannered game spawned in “A Sixties Summer.”


In retrospect, Retro toys were not that exciting, but somehow marching them out during the holiday season reminds us how imagination is the spark of fun, entertainment, and adventure.


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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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