Reader Friday – Turn Back the Clock

Reader Friday - Santa's BagTake a trip back through time. You’re a little kid–maybe in the 4-6 year-old range. Santa (or Hanukkah Harry, or St. Nick, or whoever is in charge of delivering presents for special occasions) has arrived with his bag, and he’s brought you the one gift you explicitly asked for. The one you’ve been dreaming of. That you’ve tried so hard to be good for.

This is “The World Revolves Around Me” time. Pure selfish, unadulterated greed. What did you ask for?

And whatever you celebrate, I hope you get what you want this year!




41 thoughts on “Reader Friday – Turn Back the Clock

  1. Honestly? I don’t remember. But I’m sure I got it. My mother always made me give her my Christmas list months in advance, and the advantage of being an only child with an early shopping mother is that you get lots of presents that you actually want. I was never saddled with underwear or socks or anything practical. While I can remember some of the gifts I got (Dancerina doll, Mickey Mouse watch, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe box set), I can’t remember my equivalent of the Red Ryder BB gun. Maybe it’s because I fell on my head as a young child.

    • The Hubster said the first time her really felt like a father was when he was up late at night putting a tricycle together in the garage. Hope you got your bike!

  2. The latest Nancy Drew release. Spent Christmas Day devouring the new book.

    Maybe the best gift ever was in 6th grade: a Hermes Rocket portable manual typewriter in seafoam green. Instead of writing stories longhand, now I could type like a real writer.

    Wish I still had it–they’re selling on ebay for hundreds of dollars.

    • Books are always good gifts, although this year all my grandson asked for was money so he could build his own computer.
      Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. I’m sure my parents wished they hadn’t gotten rid of my brother’s Lionel train set, and that they’d kept those pictures of Pluto and Donald Duck a friend gave them…he was an illustrator for Disney and those were throwaway cels. We had them framed in our bedroom until we ‘outgrew’ them as decor items.

      • Yes, I don’t remember if it was Christmas specifically, but my parents always made sure there were LOTS of books. Even though I don’t remember young age well, I must have loved reading/being read to even then.

        We had these huge, thin 11X17ish size hardcover books featuring different fairy tales. Then there were the teeney-weenie little books less than 4X6 which I think were ironically called “Big Little Books”–in addition to the stories themselves, you hurriedly flipped through the pages and the images in the upper right hand corner looked like they were in motion as you flipped.

  3. Memory is a weird thing–I can quote you lines of dialogue from favorite TV shows and a few movies but ask me if I remember such and such an event or time in my life and often I don’t.

    I don’t know whether it fit into the 4-6 age range specifically, but my asks were typically about animals. Two that I did receive were: A large, almost life-sized stuffed Lassie (and it’s as hard to keep a stuffed Collie’s hair combed and nice as it is the real thing!), and a poseable Lone Ranger and Silver action figure set. And I still have the Lone Ranger & Silver packed away here in my apartment.

    That made up for the fact that, being the youngest of 3 daughters, my parents assumed that, like my sisters, I liked dolls and would get those for me. I hated getting dolls. Never have I seen a more useless toy. But it’s okay. I still have Silver so all is well. ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    • I always wanted another horse statue for my collection, but I was probably around 10 at that time. Glad Silver is still around for you.

  4. A BB gun. I probably got it because my father was tired of cleaning the “white wash” off his car all the time. The many sparrows in our barn really took a beating that winter.

  5. When I was in first grade, I got the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. It was 6โ€ long and had to be stored in the dining room. I also had 2 fighter jets and an Apache helicopter parked on the deck. It was awesome and the crazy thing is when I mentioned this gift to other grown men of my generation, they express a mix of awe and jealousy.

    Since this is a writing blog, I should mention my best birthday gift which was a Canon ES3 electric typewriter I got when I turned 12. Talk about efficiency. It was a huge improvement over pencils and loose leaf paper and it had the most important feature: correction ribbon.

    • That GI Joe Aircraft Carrier is the Red Ryder BB Gun of 80’s kids like us. And yes, I hate you for getting one.

      • It was as great as you think it was, believe me. Whatโ€™s sad is I have 2 sons now and thereโ€™s no more GI Joe. No idea why. I guess itโ€™s not politically correct or some other nonsense. Me and my brother used to commingle the GI guys with the Star Wars guys because they were the same scale, as you must remember. This was my first writing because weโ€™d make up backstories to the battles.

    • I was in high school, I think when I asked for a typewriter. My parents wanted to know if I wanted automatic tabs (otherwise, you had these little pegs that you stuck in where you wanted tabs to go). I pleaded for automatic ones, and imagine my surprise when I got an ELECTRIC typewriter!

    • Now see, I would have preferred an Aircraft carrier and fighter jets to dolls any day! That’s why I was so grateful when my little brother came along. When he started getting Tonka Trucks and such, I could play with his toys! (he didn’t want my dolls, however.) ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  6. When I was 4 or 5 I wanted white majorette boots. Which I got and then promptly lost one of them when my babysitter took me to the movies to get me out of my mom’s hair.

    • And you were wearing them? Nobody noticed you were wearing only one boot? Some babysitter!

  7. Honestly, I don’t remember. Probably a new furry friend. I was always asking for new pets, and Mom caved every time. As a result we had multiple dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, fish… lots of work, tons of fun. Plus, Mom babysat pets for those who left on vacation. One time, someone’s opossum stayed for months. We never thought he’d leave. LOL

    • I remember raising 4 tiny possums when their mother was hit by a car and someone brought them to the zoo where I worked for the Zoological Society. Somehow, I got ‘volunteered’ to raise them because they were too tiny and required round-the-clock feedings. Abercrombie, Bertha, Charlotte, and Desdemona. They had to be tube fed at first.

  8. I don’t recall that far back either as far as gifts. My memories were of family, good and bad. Since my parents were traditional and it was the Fifties, I’m sure dolls were involved although I never cared for them. The best gift I ever received was at around ten. Horse-back riding lessons. Family tradition is that my first sentence was “I was a horse” so the lessons were awesome. When my parents announced I was going to have a sibling and how incredible it would be to be a big sister, I blurted, “I wanted a horse.” I got the horse in my early teens.

    • The closest I got to a horse (aside from the figurines) was riding lessons with my scout troop to earn a badge. One of the lessons was calculating how much it would cost to have a horse.

      When I was pregnant, my son asked if we could have two babies because his friend Jake already had a little sister and his mom was pregnant again. So I gave him twins. (Wasn’t the plan, for sure.)

  9. I don’t have a clear memory, but I strongly suspect it was a stingray bicycle (this was the late 1960s). There were kids who rode through my north Seattle neighborhood on their cool iridescent glossy stingrays.

    I do clearly remember Santa Claus visiting our narrow street in December 1967, perched on a shining red fire truck.

  10. Fun post, Terry! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can’t remember what I wanted when I was that young, but I can guess. Books! And no dolls, please God.

    However, when I was nine, I wanted a bicycle (NOT pink). Alas, Christmas came and went that year with no bike. My older brother by 13 months had one…why not me? I’d been asking for one for a couple of years, but it seemed that no one was listening, including that big guy in red.

    The birthday I turned 10, in April of the next year, Mom (8 months pregnant with my little brother…what a woman!) bundled my older brother, younger sister, and me into the car and took us to see Dad at the service station he owned. She told us Dad was going to buy us an ice cream cone for my birthday.

    We exited the car in the parking lot, and what did I see? My dad, appearing from one of the service bays, riding toward me on the most perfect blue bike ever. Still remember how small the bike looked under him, but it was a perfect fit for the happiest 10-year-old ever.

    And yes, I wish I had that bike now, just to look at and remember simpler times.

  11. I don’t remember if I asked for this gift, but my favorite was a blackboard. I spent many happy hours sitting on the floor in my bedroom with the blackboard propped against the end of my bed. I solved math problems, wrote sentences, and taught imaginary classes.

    A more poignant memory is the first gift I gave with money I earned from a real job. When I was sixteen, I got a job over the Christmas holidays in a department store. I bought my mother a pretty (and definitely practical) bathrobe. She kept and wore it all her life. After she passed away, I found the bathrobe among her things.

    • Wonderful stories. There’s nothing like the warmth from giving a gift. I remember when the local PD had “Shop With a Cop” days at Sears, and each would take a child and help them pick out the ‘perfect’ gifts for their family.

  12. I wanted a horse even though we lived in a rowhouse and my parents had trouble making ends meet financially.

    • When we’re very young, we don’t have much of a concept of “making ends meet.” If I told my kids I didn’t have enough money to buy the treat they wanted at the grocery store, they’d said, “Just write a check.” I know my parents made a point of never letting us know they had to scrimp. Didn’t find that out until I was much, much, older, of course.

  13. I can recall only one gift I received as a child in that age range: Fort Apache play set. I can recall one lasting disappointment from around that time although in reality it remains a fond memory. I recall watching TV (RCA Console, might have even been black and white) one morning, probably in early November, when I saw a TV commercial where the announcer said “Christmas is just around the corner.” I put on my jacket, ran out front of my row home in Philly, walked half a city block and turned the corner expecting to see lights and snow and Christmas trees and wrapped packages. My first real brush with metaphors. Scarred me so badly that I punish myself daily by trying to write my own.

  14. I had a book and a torch in my stocking. The torch had a dead battery by morning due to me reading under the bedclothes. Mum was just a little cross as she couldn’t afford to replace the batteries. I was six or seven.

Comments are closed.