One day, they were everywhere and, the next, they were gone. Have you ever had that feeling? I remember the day when I looked in the mirror and suddenly discovered things like gray hairs or little lines around my eyes – just little things that reminded me that I was no longer that young person that a part of me still endeavored to be. And then, there were all these strange disappearances. You never really heard about them going away. There never seemed to be any formal announcement. But one day, you just realize that some of the things that you loved, some of the things that you’ve grown up with, have mysteriously gone missing from your life. AWOL.
Think back on your childhood and recall your favorite toys that have since disappeared. What about your favorite candies or food and drinks? Was there some clothing or jewelry trend, that was popular when you were a kid, but has since faded into obscurity?
Call me a masochist, but I actually sat down and thought about some of my favorite childhood items that they don’t make anymore, and I came up with a list. Let’s see if any of your favorite items are on there – I’d love to hear about your favorite items as a kid that they don’t make anymore. Here’s mine:
5 Favorite Items As a Kid that They Don’t Make Anymore
Koogle Peanut Butter: I have to start off with Koogle Peanut Butter, because this is one of the things that I’ve lamented for YEARS. Koogle Peanut Butter was, as far as I know, one of the first brands of flavored peanut butter to hit the market. First appearing on shelves in 1971, Koogle was made by Kraft and came in a variety of different flavors: banana, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. My personal favorite was the chocolate, but I liked most of them – even the banana peanut butter which was particularly good on toast.
I used to talk about Koogle Peanut Butter quite a bit, but few people ever knew what it was. Sadly, this was because it was discontinued after just a few years, never even seeing its way out of the decade.
Click Clacks: My Click Clacks (also known as Clackers) were actually gifted to me, when I made a trip to Texas with my family one year. It was perhaps one of the most simplistic toys in the world, but I loved these. Consisting of two hard plastic balls (a little larger than golf balls), fastened together by a single piece of string, the goal was to hold the middle of the string in your fingers and get the balls moving so that they would strike one another above and then below your hand. Not only was this great fun, because you could have contests with your friends to see who could Click Clack longest, but it also had that element of danger that kids loved so much back then. You learned to be a good Click Clacker because, if you weren’t, you suffered bruised forearms, sore fingers, fat lips and a wealth of other injuries.
Clackers were banned in 1985 after it was deemed that the acrylic balls were known to shatter when stuck too hard (or as they wore down over time) and would potentially send plastic shrapnel flying in all directions.
Dusty and Nugget:“Dusty, Dusty, Dusty riding Nugget, Nugget, Nugget. They’re riding East, they’re riding West. Time to stop and take a rest.” Most kids from the ’70s can recall Dusty and her horse Nugget if, for nothing else other than that annoying commercial jingle. Dusty and Nugget were two of my favorite toys from the decade, simply because I was a big horse lover and Dusty was one of the first dolls that was ever built to actually ride a horse. If you played with horse models and ever tried to make the old Barbie dolls straddle a horse, it was an impossibility. Action figures and dolls of the decade just weren’t made to go horseback riding (Barbie probably would have given herself black eyes from her boobs anyhow). Needless to say, Dusty was a prized possession – and Nugget was beautiful, even if he never did stand up right.
Lawn Darts (Jarts): I didn’t have lawn darts, but some of my friends did and it was great fun to play a game on a sunny afternoon. Basically, what Jarts consisted of were a few plastic rings to set out as targets and then the darts. Large plastic versions of what are commonly seen in bars, lawn darts were longer than your hand and possessed a blunted weighted tip. The darts were then tossed towards the rings from a distance and, if thrown properly, would ideally stick in the lawn as they landed.
Remember how I mentioned that the kids, back in my day, were somewhat masochistic? Yeah, well… apparently lawn darts are now banned in the United States and Canada. Some crazy folks at the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed that “pointed, metal lawn darts may cause serious or fatal injury.” What? No way! Kids shouldn’t play with pointed, metal objects? Pshaw! Needless to say, lawn darts have been banned from sale in both countries. How did we ever make it out of childhood alive?
Slip ‘N Slide: Sold from 1961 to 1993, the Slip ‘N Slide was basically a long strip of slick polyethylene that, when attached to a hose, made a slippery surface for children to dive and slide on a hot summer’s day. The biggest problem with Slip ‘N Slides were that teenagers and adults wanted to get in on the action too and, apparently, seven adults and a teenager suffered neck injuries or paralysis due to using the Slip ‘N Slide or its offshoots, the Slip ‘N Splash, Wet Banana, or White Water Rapids. I had a friend that had one of these and I loved it but, no matter how much I begged, my mother wouldn’t buy me one. I don’t think danger was the reasoning behind it – I think my parents just figured I could do as most other kids did and run through the sprinkler if I was hot.
I wanted to add one other toy on my list, but apparently I can’t add Viewmaster Viewers on this list because they still make them. However, back in my day, they had a very wide variety of reels that you could buy and they were very affordable. I had tons of them and, since we didn’t have internet back then, they were often the best way I could escape and go to different places (aside from my books and my imagination). I remember hours spent laying on my bed, Viewmaster Viewer tilted up to the light as I traveled to Yellowstone Park, Disneyland, and learned about bears, lions and all sorts of wild animals. While we can learn a lot more online, there are still times that I wish it was just me and that old Viewmaster Viewer, enjoying some of the simpler things in life.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/toys/4347051 – Details on banned toys
http://www.bannedtoymuseum.com/fivetoone.html – More information on discontinued toys