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Dec 19

Christmas Memories–Toys

What was under the Christmas tree for a good little girl back in the 1950s?

I believe I can answer that. I still have some of my old toys that I received as Christmas presents over 55 years ago. Yesterday I gathered them together and arranged them around the Christmas trees in our basement.

Karen's Toys from the 50s.

Karen’s toys from the 50s.

The whistling top is one of the first toys I can remember. It is a little rusty now but it still works fine. A chalkboard with the alphabet and numbers was also a gift years ago.

Whistling top, chalkboard, mop & broom toys.

Whistling top, chalkboard, mop & broom toys.

The clucking chicken was a pull toy. I showed it to Chloe a few weeks ago and she didn’t quite know what to make of it. One year I received a set of small metal luggage, shown to the left of the chicken.

Clucking chicken pull toy.

Clucking chicken pull toy.

I received the little metal stove for Christmas when we lived in the house across the road from where I grew up. That would have been before 1959. The stove has an electrical cord and the little oven really worked. It came with tiny cake pans and tiny packages of cake mix. What fun! The little iron sitting on the stove is also electric. I have a little ironing board, too, somewhere… I don’t remember using the iron so I don’t remember if it got very hot.

Toy electric stove.

Toy electric stove.

Can you imagine a small electric stove or an electric iron for a child today? Electricity with sharp metal corners to boot! We have rules and regulations against that sort of thing today. Somehow we survived those dangerous toys of the 50s. I received some other domestic toys, too–a small mop and broom.

In the back of the top photo, standing in my old doll buggy, is Betty the Beautiful Bride. One year I wanted a bride doll more than anything and I received Betty for Christmas. She was truly beautiful in her satin and lace gown. Her box describes the doll as Betty—the Beautiful Bride with the most exquisite bridal gown ever made! Soft all-rubber body; Washable rooted hair. Comb it! Brush it! Curl it! Complete with bridal bouquet, colorful wall plaque, Bing Crosby’s recording “Because.” Unbreakable from head to toe.2 ½ feet tall.

Except for her yellowed gown, Betty looks just like new because I was not allowed to play with her. She was always stored high in my closet, safe in her box.

Betty the Beautiful Bride

Betty the Beautiful Bride

I did play with my Saucy Walker doll, however. She was a walking doll who turned her head as she walked. She still looks good and is dressed in her original dress. I believe she may have had braids at one time–before I decided she would look better in a ponytail.

Saucy Walker doll.

Saucy Walker doll.

One of my very favorite toys was Matt Dillon on his horse. I loved horses when I was a child and I unsaddled and re-saddled that horse over and over. The pair is in good condition and Matt still has his hat and gun, like a good lawman should.

Matt Dillon on his horse.

Matt Dillon on his horse.

Over the years I received several other boy-type toys, which I no longer have. I remember getting a cap gun and holster and a remote control police car.

I received the pink doll cradle from my great-aunt Clara (Miller) Reef. Clara was my grandpa Miller’s sister and she lived down the road from us.

Cradle from great-aunt Clara.

Cradle from great-aunt Clara.

Grandma Schumm gave me the Monopoly game one year and the Bird Fun game was a gift from my parents. Bird Fun was a game I could play by myself. The idea was to put the correct bird head on the correct bird body. The names of all the birds were included, too. I enjoyed the simple game and I learned my birds from it. Perhaps that game sparked my interest in birds, which I still have today.

Bird Fun game.

Bird Fun game.

I ventured up to the attic to get a photo of my old doll house and barn. I still have most of the plastic furniture that came with the doll house. At one time I had a lot of animals and fencing to go with the barn, but those are long gone.

Metal doll house and barn.

Metal doll house and barn.

I probably have a few more old toys stashed around here. I know my old Viewmaster-type stereo viewer is still around here. Maybe it is stored away with my little ironing board.

Those were the good old days, with classic toys, where you could use your imagination.

After Christmas I’ll put my toys away again.

7 comments

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  1. Patricia Ancil

    Karen,

    I enjoyed your post of your old Christmas toys. It brings back good memories of my past Christmas toys from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Love the Hartland toy of Matt Dillon and his horse. My brother and I have Roy Rogers, Dale Evans with Trigger, Buttermilk and Bullet.

    I am related through the Bryan family. My great grandfather is Peter Louis Bryan, a brother of John Bryan.

    Hope you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas!!

    Take Care, Pat Ancil

    1. Karen

      You have a nice Roy Rogers collection yourself. I thought my Matt Dillon w/horse was the best gift ever. It is funny because Gunsmoke is my husband Joe’s favorite western. Good ol’ Marshall Matt. Thanks for letting me know about our common ancestors. The Bryans are a very interesting family. We need to get together and share information. Thanks for writing. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Brenda (Stetler) Johnson

    Thanks Karen for the memories!! My sisters and I had similar toys, I l have all of my original child hood dolls!
    I am still am avid doll lover and collector. Nancy and I saved all one summer for our Linda Williams dolls! It seemed like forever until they arrived in the mail! I believe the order form was on the back of a cereal box, maybe corn flakes? I also have a tiny Gerber Baby Doll, and Happy and Nappy twin dolls, and tiny tears, who has no hair! Havea Merry Christmas!

    1. Karen

      It sounds like you have a great doll collection, and so many from your childhood. Love the Gerber Baby! I used to collect dolls myself and still have a few, but these from my childhood are among my very favorites. The Saucy Walker and Betty the bride are the only ones I still have from back then. Thanks for reading and writing! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  3. Mary Goodwin Haddad

    Wow, Karen, what a wonderful bunch of toys you have from your childhood! Were you an only child? Since you mentioned your great Aunt Clara Reef, I was wondering if you are related to Cindy Reef? She was a year ahead of me at Willshire. She was in the class of ’58. Thanks so much for sharing. Loved the photos, too. And you probably know all your toys are now worth a sizeable amount of $$.

    1. Karen

      Yes, I am an only child and that is probably part of the reason my toys survived so well. Yes, Cindy lived across the road from us for many years. I was even the flower girl in her wedding. Thanks for reading!

  4. JM

    WoW-this is a great trip down memory lane-I have a Betty Big Girl & most of my dolls from the 60’s. Yr right-the good ole days.

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