I don’t recall being particularly thrilled with most toys when I was a kid. Our parents always made a good attempt to buy our most requested items for Christmas, but they didn’t buy us many toys the rest of the year.
“Play” meant going outside and finding something to do—taking a walk, playing wiffleball, climbing trees, swimming in the creek, shooting baskets in a hoop attached to an old smokehouse.
I got over playing with baby dolls at a very young age. Barbies bored me too.
I do recall wanting a Slinky very badly when I was about eight or nine years old. Slinkys are a tightly coiled flexible spring that you can pour from one hand to another. You can walk it down stairs once you acquire some Slinky-manipulating skills.
One Saturday morning trip to town, I convinced Mom to buy me one. They were just a cheap little toy, so she caved.
I was so excited! When we got home, I played with the Slinky awhile, pouring its perfect cool coils from one hand to the other.
Then I had a bright idea. I wonder how far it will stretch?
I called one of my younger brothers over and had him hold one end while I walked backwards with the other end.
I walked ten feet…twenty feet…that was about as far as it would stretch. “OK, you can let go now,” I said to my brother.
He dropped his end. I expected it to spring back to me. It didn’t. Each coil was spread about two inches apart. I tried squeezing them back together, but they wouldn’t stay. My heart sank.
Pretty soon, my arms were full of a tangled mass of coils. I carried them into my room and stuffed them under the bed, fighting back tears.I didn’t say anything about the mess I’d made of my Slinky to my parents, but I felt sick about it for days.