I was checking out the Sunday paper and was amazed at the number of inserts that made the paper at least three times thicker than it actually was. It seemed that every store in the area was announcing that they were THE place to shop in these final days before Christmas. There were so many, that it would take anyone an entire day to read through them all.
I thought back to when I was just a little Duquesne Hunky, back to the time when the words “TEXT” and “FRIEND” were only nouns and NOT verbs. I don’t remember ever seeing so much “stuff” right before Christmas. I recall that we relied on a few toy catalogs that were sent directly to our homes right after Thanksgiving. Receiving them became an annual “event” in our house. My cousins, Bobbie and Joanne, would pick me up and make the viewing of these wondrous catalogs an exciting part of the Christmas season. I remember riding down to their home on Hamilton Ave. in Duquesne in their dad’s burnt orange ’54 Pontiac Chieftain. The memory is so vivid due to the lighted hood amber colored ornament of an Indian chief. Not exactly politically correct these days, is it? Nonetheless, seeing their car always meant there was an exciting day ahead.
I remember sitting at the large dining room table on Hamilton Ave. It was my Aunt Rose and Uncle Sam’s house. It used to be my grandfather’s before he had passed away. Bobbie and Joanne would usually sit on either side of me and we would look through every page of the catalogs. Once we were through reviewing them all, Aunt Rose would always have some kind of treat in store for me. It was usually a plate full of cookies and a large glass of milk. They didn’t call me cookie-face for nothing!
Once I had inhaled the home baked treats, Bobbie and Joanne assisted me in the most crucial task of the day, preparing MY wish list and letter to Santa! We would meticulously go through each page to come up with my first list. Bobbie and Joanne were both in high school around this time, so when we were looking through the catalog, we skipped over the boring toys like dolls and such. They were too old for such things and I could care less. When it came to the pages that peaked my interest, the patiently waited until I chose the exact toy I’d like Santa to bring me. By the end of the evening, they had helped me to narrow the list down from a zillion or more toys to about 2 or three “very favorites.” By the time we were finished, Bobbie would drive me home and all seemed right with the world. Bobbie or Joanne would say they would mail the letter for me, but of course, they would secretly had it over to my mom.
Things changed when toys began being advertised on TV in later years. What was once a rather simple task of picking two or three toys for my list got a LOT harder all of the sudden. The TV ads made everything look so tempting. I used to drive my mother crazy since I ended up changing my mind every time a new toy was being advertised. Would it be an Erector Set, or a Girder and Panel Building Set, Mr. Machine Mr. Potato Head…. who knew. I only remember that whenever Christmas morning rolled around, Santa ALWAYS seemed to make the right choices for me. What a wise old man….. he MUST have been a hunky!!
Enjoy some of these vintage toy commercials………