The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

It’s that time of year again. Cutting down the Christmas tree, buying presents, sending out Christmas cards, going to parties and on and on.  And it’s that time of the year when I return to the toy stores and look around. My kids are grown and I don’t have any grandchildren – yet – and I’m not buying a toy for a friend’s child so what the hell am I doing in Toys R Us? Wishing that I was still a kid. I have some “attitude” holdouts from my childhood – I still don’t consider “clothes” a present. For years I bought myself something “photographic” – it served 2 purposes – it was a present under the tree and a tax deduction. I’ve stopped doing that. As much as I like getting a new photo item, it doesn’t belong under the tree. I’ve given myself a variety of computer items over the years – both software and hardware – and I’ve stopped doing that. I haven’t banned all “adult” items. I do consider CDs (I still buy them), DVDs, something for my stereo or TV as “allowable” items, but I still think about those toys. Recently I was in the toy store, starring at the road race sets from AFX. I received a catalog from Hobbytown,USA and they had photos of more race sets from AFX. Boy, would I like to see that under my tree. My friend sent me a weblink of a company marketing sci-fi movie and TV model kits – stuff he and I used to put together as kids. I still have some of my models – the Flying Sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea – but not much else. I loved my toy guns – my Johnny Seven OMA (for those who know), my James Bond and Man From Uncle weapons (I wanted to be Illya Kuryakin), secret agent attache cases and assorted other items. When I visited the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC several years ago, they had a section showing “toy items” and I was thrilled to see my 007 spy decoder toy in the glass display.

One of my best memories is my own personal “A Christmas Story” gift. It was 1964 and I didn’t desire the Red Ryder BB Gun that Ralphie wanted, my quest was a toy robot called “Big Loo”. It shot darts out of it’s chest, missiles from it’s feet, balls from it’s arm, it spoke, had a whistle, morse code clicker, could bend over and pick things up, eyes that lit up, had a water squirter that would shoot water from it’s navel and other stuff that I’m forgetting now. And just like Ralphie, that’s what I WANTED that Christmas. And on that special morning, I scrambled to the tree, opened up my gifts but didn’t see Big Loo anywhere. I was politely disappointed until my Mom pulled it out from behind the tree where it was hidden. My Ralphie moment.

And yes, that’s my Big Loo pictured above. I’ve thrown out almost all of my childhood toys, but I still have him. I want him in my coffin with me when I die.

2 responses

  1. Mark Phelan

    I had Big Loo too. I didn’t ask for him for Christmas (I thought it was 1963)but my folks were always surprising me, so there he was, under the tree (or rather next to it) on Christmas morning. I rememeber we went to visit the Brooklyn relatives that Christmas (for the last time it turned out, so I know it was 1963) and we were allowed to take one toy. I took Loo. He was in the apartment on 89th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues (the aprtament is no longer there BTW). I don’t know what happened to him, but I do know one night I left the eyes on and in the middle of the night my Dad found out dog, Maggie, up on the couch growling at Loo and his blinking eyes. And then the Beatles came to America!

    December 15, 2010 at 12:13 am

    • And if it wasn’t for Loo, the Beatles would have never come! (They were looking for their own Loo…)
      I assumed that it was 1964. Thanks for giving me the exact year.

      December 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm

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