Posted by Juliana Szucs on September 18, 2014 in Ask Juliana, Website

Family-Christmas 1971Now that my daughter is off to college, I’ve been doing some heavy duty house cleaning and going through some of her old toys that for some reason I’ve hung onto. I guess I figured if we hung on to them, we could hang on to some of her fleeting childhood. But it’s time to go through some old boxes that have been stored and determine what’s worth keeping and what we should donate. As I reminisced over some of her toys, I was thinking back to some of the toys we had growing up, so that’s the topic for this week’s Throwback Thursday post.

Growing up in a home with three sisters, dolls were a big part of playtime. We had Barbie dolls, cupie dolls and other assorted baby dolls, including some that talked or cried when you pulled a string. Then there was the Crissy doll, whose hair could be lengthened or shortened with the push of a button. That feature could have come in handy for those of us who did a little hair styling of our own. I cut my hair once with pinking shears. Not the best tool for cutting hair.

We also had a Doctor Doolittle doll. When you pulled his string, he said, “I talk to the animals.” My sister hated that doll and we might have tortured her a bit with it. We got in trouble for that.

With the Barbie dolls came accessories, like those tiny shoes that would somehow always find their way into the soles of your bare feet. Like socks disappearing in the dryer, we could never find a matched pair, so our Barbie dolls typically just went barefoot.

We had a lot of stuffed animals too. One of the early favorites was a Cuddly Duddly doll,that came complete with a cardboard house. I slept with him so often that eventually all the stuffing in his neck was gone and his head just drooped to the side. The black poodle in this picture was a later favorite. I named him Frenchie.

One of the more unusual toys we had was a Roulette wheel. Don’t remember where we got it, but it seems strange in retrospect. I guess it was an effective tool at discouraging gambling because we learned at an early age how impossible it was to actually pick the number that came up.

We also had a pet rock the year they were all the rage. We had to share though. I seem to remember my dad not being thrilled with us spending money on a rock.

One of my favorite pastimes was working on jigsaw puzzles. I had one of a Venetian painting that I worked and re-worked so many times that I practically knew it by heart. Since family history research is often compared to putting together a jigsaw puzzle, I guess it’s not too surprising that I was (and am) drawn to them.

What about you? What toys did you play with growing up? Did you play more indoors or outdoors? Share your memories with us, and more importantly, write them down and share them with your family.

Juliana Szucs

Juliana Szucs has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 19 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Crandall

    Smiling at your comment about jigsaw puzzles. Me, too. I wonder if this could be a test for the potential of children to like doing family history research? =)

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