With some creativity, simple Christmas toys can still bring cheer

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We grew up in the shadow of a girl so incredible that she had everything we wanted and then some. She had a full-size Chatty Cathy doll.

I thought I wanted one in the worst way until I stayed overnight and that doll sitting on a chair like a real person gave me the shivery spooks.

Just the basics

When I got up in the morning, those blue eyes followed my every move. At our house, we had the limited, run-of-the-mill toy selection. We had Tinker Toys, a Slinky or two, a small doll baby and puzzles.

The Slinky usually had been messed up a time or two so the metal spring-like coil wasn’t perfectly poised and pretty for long.

The puzzles might surprise you and have all the pieces, but don’t count too hard on that. Count on surprises, and not in a good way. I went to visit the Chatty Cathy house, a dream world of toys.

Creepy Crawlers

As Christmas was nearly upon us one year, this friend told me she was wishing really hard for a Creepy Crawlers laboratory. It would mean that she could actually make all the slithering worms and eyeballs and horror-laden goopy pieces and parts that most children only received in small doses.

“And they taste great, don’t they?” this friend said to me.

I blithely nodded my head as if I was over the idea of tasting just one. What I was really thinking is, “these rubbery worms are edible?”

I knew I could count on one thing for sure. I would not be opening a gift of anything resembling a Creepy Crawlers laboratory.

A gift

My friend must have picked up on my silent whine. She went to her ballerina-themed treasure chest and plucked out the first thing that appeared.

“Here, I don’t want this any more. You can have it.”

It was a bracelet with a tiny little old-fashioned telephone on it. The detail was so amazing that the dial part of the phone had tiny colored crystals, and the ear piece actually hung by the finest, shortest chain ever made. There was a place to hook the ear piece back up on the side of the phone charm when you were done talking in your imagination.

It would be perfect for Barbie dolls if I only had one. It would be amazing in a Barbie Doll house, but that was too much to even dream about.

That holiday season, I opened a brunette-haired Skipper doll, Barbie’s younger sister. The most amazing thing is that my sister opened a similar gift, only her Skipper had blonde hair, like mine.Without a word said, my dark-haired sister and I traded and smiled from ear to ear.

“I have a telephone they can use!” I said with enthusiasm.

My sister drew up plans and we made a house using cardboard boxes and a few tinker toys. On a wish and a prayer, a few dollars had been spent, our creative imagination soared, and we realized we lived in a dream world, too.

Together, my sister and I created our own Barbie Dream House, and it was pretty amazing. And one more thing: No Creepy Crawlers were allowed in to the Barbie world that my sister built.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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