Remembering Mr. Potato Head

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately. Maybe it’s because of Amanda graduating, or Adam moving out, or maybe it’s because I’m getting older… Maybe I’m just bored. Whatever the reason, my mind seems to wander to things of the past quite frequently. Recently, I got to thinking about toys. It’s funny how such things can take you back…

I still remember the excitement when my brother opened his birthday package to find a Mr. Potato Head inside! This was, of course, followed by boredom after just a few days, when we realized there are only a very few variations you can make of the Potato Head face, especially since this was before the days of the deluxe version of Mr. Potato Head available these days: 

Darth Tater

 And besides, he made a really rotten date to take Barbie to the prom!

That duty was relegated to G.I. Joe. Back in those days, Joe was built on a slightly larger scale than Barbie, but he still worked pretty well. The problem was that the only clothes Joe had (at least in our house) was his fatigues and a black rubber wetsuit. That meant he and Barbie went on a lot of swimming dates… Gettin G.I. Joe into the wetsuit was a whole big production. We had to take off his hands and feet (they were connected with a plastic pin and ball connection) because the suit wouldn’t stretch enough to go over the big clunky things. Then we had to put baby powder all over him to keep it from getting stuck halfway on. Of course, as we got older, it became more fun to remove his hands and feet and put them back on in the wrong places!

Poor Barbie! So many clothes, so little time! We didn’t have a Barbie car, or dream house, or even furniture, just piles of off-brand clothes. I made furniture for her myself. Before you get too impressed, it was of the temporary sort. I discovered that a couple books stacked up were just the right height to be a chair or sofa. Another book or two stacked on top of that , pushed back a couple inches made a dandy back to the furniture, and if you cover it all up with a scarf or hanky, it doesn’t look quite as dumb. Shoe boxes made cool beds, and the mop bucket made an awesome swimming pool!

One thing I never understood was Barbie’s shoes. I remember looking at her feet, wondering why they were shaped like that. I wondered who would wear shoes shaped like Barbie’s shoes. And then, only a couple days after opening the package, who could ever find two that match? And without the shoes, the feet just look dumb… I tried to find a pair of dress shoes recently, and found out that apparently every woman in America wears shoes shaped like Barbie shoes. Do you suppose we learned to do that from Barbie?

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