Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Favorite gifts





Did you have a favorite gift as a kid?? I sure did! There were my stuffed horses (which sadly my kids accidentally gave to Goodwill in a toy clear-out and I didn't find out till too late), my Breyer horses (mostly from Grandpa), things for my doll house which ALWAYS came from Marshall Fields and were all were very carefully debated and chosen by my big brother. Later there were records--classical, jazz, the Beatles and yes a few my brother didn't like such as Elton John and John Denver! But the most enduring of all were my stuffed animals (not only the horses). I was a sickly kid and my mom understood that I also hated school so she let me be sick more than I should have been!! My world as a little kid was Mom reading to me or playing with my animals. One of my favorites DOES survive to this day:

The guy on the right needs no introduction to anyone growing up in the 60s! Snoopy's "friend" on the other hand may not be too familiar to you whippersnappers who grew up never watching a black and white tv while holding the "aerial" (as rabbit ears were often called!) He's BERNIE BERNARD, a talking Saint Bernard (waaaaay before Beethoven became synonymous with the breed). Horror of horror to today's safety squirrels he carried a cask of brandy on his collar!

Imagine my delight when I found me dear friend on an "iconic toys" web site!


Here he is--brand-spankin' new! (Top Vintage Toys has tons of stuff I fondly recall--remember those let's annoy the adults-CLACKERS? They're there!) Sadly, I almost didn't recognize the poor guy--he didn't have his sweater on! Yes MY Bernie was so beloved he got permanent possession of the blue sweat my mom knit for our poodle! And, there were no "remains" from his broken leg cast either!

Bernie today in his sweater, minus his brandy keg (long ago fell off his collar) and with the remains of his cast on his "arm." He doesn't talk anymore though--P pulled the string once years ago and that was it. Still, he's been enjoyed by basically 3 generations: Me, my 30/late 20-year old niece and nephew and my own two kids. Pretty nice life for a guy most kids tossed at some point. Not me. Never. You just don't "toss" a true friend!

I will say "Smokey Chief" and "Little Joe," my horses from the Western Horseman magazine WERE more precious (after all my grandmother played blacksmith and gave them new "shoes" [actually "hooves"] out of felt every time the wires broke thru), but I don't have any photos of them.

I'll always remember that wonderful, wonderful Christmas when Aunt Jeanie sewed HORSE BLANKETS for them!! Out of nice dark plaid flannel (probably from old shirts my Uncle or Grandfather had discarded). Oh how I loved THOSE! No stupid doll clothes--HORSE BLANKETS!! Imagine!! Presents like that, so personal and thoughtful, are rare. (Later Aunt Jeanie would try to help me into real womanhood by sewing me an amazing Barbie trousseau that included a wedding dress and a snazzy 70s velvet jumpsuit! For a chemist she could be creative when she set her mind to it.) I'm guessing Goodwill "recycled" my beloved "Smokey" and "Little Joe," but I haven't given up hope of someone selling off a stash of them found in a warehouse somewhere, someday. I'd love to have them back. I'm like that. Never really grew up when it comes to animals!

1 comment:

Susan said...

Love this! Bernie is so cute and looks quite familiar ... I'm wondering if we had one at our house, or at least if I watched the show. And I can relate totally to not wanting to be rid of a 'friend.' Despite the many, many childhood toys I still have, they do feel like friends. Even good ol' Santa whose costume is a bit mildew-stained from time in my growing-up basement. Thanks for the memories!