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Nostalgia: Toys

 

Nostalgia, noun:  a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.

For me, Christmas brings about the most nostalgia, specifically remembering waiting [not so] patiently for Santa to bring gifts during the night, and being so excited to see what new toys I had received. Toys, to my eight-year-old self and friends, were the reason to live. I would start making my list months in advance, watching commercials and taking notes, marking the catalogue with a red crayon, trying in vain to narrow my list down to a reasonable number.

I can still remember the handful of toys that made my youth, and, in my opinion, are some of the best ever made. What was your favorite?

10) Legos

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From pirate ships to construction sites, legos let my brother and I build things we saw in movies and in our imaginations. And as I recall, they were one of the only things that would keep my little brother quiet for more than five minutes. The only con to this toy was stepping on that piece you lost in the middle of the night… ouch!

9) Finger paints

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This is a parent’s worst nightmare, but a rite of passage for every child. I remember mom strapping on that smock, spreading out the paper on the sidewalk, and letting us go to town. Without finger paints, it would have taken me a lot longer to figure out that all the colors mixed together make a really ugly brown.

8) Play-doh (burger builder set)

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For some reason, making the play-doh squeeze out into yellow ribbons looked exactly like French fries, and the press that made the hamburger patty seemed like pure genius. I’m glad my aspirations for a career of making fast food meals passed with the play-doh phase.

7) Barbie

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It’s cliché, I know, but it wouldn’t be right without her. Simply put, I was obsessed. Barbie had it all… a huge pink house, a hot man, a T-top corvette, and shoes in every shade of the rainbow. Plus, I could cut her hair without consequences. Who am I kidding, I STILL love Barbie! (Let’s not get into the fact that she gives little girls dysmorphic ideas about body image, ahem.)

6) Talkboy

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YES! This toy was essential to my I-want-to-be-Harriet-the-Spy phase. And, Kevin McAlistar demonstrated all the capabilities of this apparatus in Home Alone, which made it even more appealing.

5) Skip it!

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And try not to trip yourself. This definitely helped burn a few calories and improve coordination. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Skip It toy strapped to your ankle, and allowed the user to swing a ball tethered to that strap around to the other leg, with the user skipping over it. Or tripping over it, in my case.

4) Super Soakers

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The only thing that got us through 100 degree summers with no pool and no beach. We loaded these things up with ice cold water and went to town…

3) Easy Bake Oven

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Need I say more? It was easy. It baked stuff with a light bulb. It tricked your mom into letting you eat 12 cupcakes. And I wonder why I still have problems trying to bake legitimately.

2) Lite Brite        

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Simply amazing. There was something about seeing my creation light up in the dark that thrilled me. We made boats, unicorns, Mr. Potato Head, and so much more… And after we had destroyed the poke-through pattern papers, we got really creative.

1)Lisa Frank

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I know all you guys were jealous of our neon colored golden retrievers, panda bears, ballet slippers and ice cream sundaes. We had sticker books, trapper keepers, pencils, posters, and everything else you can think of. If the inside of your locker was not decorated in Lisa Frank, there was something really wrong with you. I am not ashamed to admit…I still love Lisa Frank stickers and use them to this day. They are brightening up the sides of my office computer! 

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Raymond's Little Big Secret

 

I’ve always been the kind of student who went home on the weekends. And who could blame a girl? Campus is dead, there’s never ANYTHING to do… Or is there? This past weekend, I chose to stay in Raymond. This is a very rare occasion, but since I had a big paper to work on I figured I would save a little gas money. Now as nice as Allen Dukes Whitaker is, a girl can get very bored staring at four walls and a computer for hours at a time. Eventually I decided that I would go get some exercise and walk around the block for a little while. Not gonna lie, I was avoiding working on that paper.

So I get my sunglasses and headphones and head towards the center of Raymond. I pass Raymond Elementary, some houses, and observe the Catholic chapel. Across the road I stop to take a picture of the old and rusty railroad crossing light.

historical raymond mississippi railroad depot

My attention turns to the depot. I’ve been in Raymond for three semesters now, and have always seen it but have never been inside it. I decided to go and take a look, since they are open on Sunday afternoons. It is now called “Little Big Store”, a shop for records and music memorabilia. I step inside and immediately to my right is an antique coke machine, where you can buy glass bottles of Coca Cola. And everywhere else I look are (literally) thousands of records! There are shelves upon shelves and stacks upon stacks of classic vinyl records. The walls are covered in posters, t-shirts, stickers, and anything classic music and even some new music. Raymond has a secret Rock ‘n’ Roll treasure trove! As I walk the store looking, satellite radio plays rock music. There are glass cases with memorabilia items with knit hats, wallets, jewelry, and more in them. There are shelves full of biographies and books written by famous musicians, some of them even signed with autographs. Moving further into the depot I see cassette tapes and CDs, as well as musical song books. The very front of the store was set off by bars, and two depot windows and a fireplace between the two.

little big store vinyl records

I immediately ask the little lady at the front counter if I could write about her little store. She told me this was the train depot of Raymond, and that the two windows at the front were windows separating blacks and whites from standing in line together to buy train tickets. Then she showed me an original bathroom door on the outside of the building. This door, although worn, chipped, and dirty, still left the impression of the words “COLORED MEN”. I have become enchanted with this little building. I’ve always loved anything old, antique, or historical. Once a place where people bought train tickets and waited for their departure, it now serves as another symbol of Raymond’s withstanding history and charm.

After taking plenty of pictures, I continued to walk on. How could I have been in Raymond for almost two years and never been in this place before? What else does Raymond hold that nobody knows about? This is such a valuable lesson for people… EXPLORE!  Little Big Store is a PARADISE for music fanatics and history buffs. I know that I will definitely be back to visit it again… but with money!

 
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