Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Family Museum Collections from A to Z – “B” for Baby Toys & other things

This post I was going to write about our albums for the “A” in A to Z, however, since the two albums that are in the museum are from our wedding and honeymoon, I thought it would be more appropriate to write that post in November when it will be our 45th Wedding Anniversary. Until then, permit me to continue this journey of the A to Z Collection, continuing with “B” for Baby Things.

First Keith’s:
For his first Christmas, Santa gave him a toy police car (it probably had a siren that sounded when the car was pushed) and stuffed vinyl lamb. This type of stuffed animal was very popular because mom could wipe it clean after it was placed in the mouth and thrown on the floor. The car is long gone but he still has his lamby.

Years ago, his mom was in a rarified mood when she opened her cedar chest full of family heirlooms. At that time she decided to start passing on the things she saved and by doing so, enjoyed seeing the wonderful expressions of surprise and delight on her son’s face when she gave him his baby shirt. The face on the shirt is of a bunny rabbit, his ears stitched in yellow and blue buttons for eyes and blue stitching for his nose and bow tie. Keith’s thinks his sister did the sewing. As the shirt’s material was fragile, I put it into a shadow box for preservation. I put cotton stuffing in the shirt and sleeves to give it some shape. Keith was thrilled when I presented it to him as a Christmas gift.

A selection of plastic animals, wooded alphabet blocks, his baby shoes and one knitted sock, along with a tin coffee pot and china cup is quite an eclectic collection. Most of these toys were hand-me-downs from his brother’s and sister. Keith loved his two boy dolls; one with the red jacket and black pants handmade by himself with his sister’s help. The little Indian boy and drum with its leather top was given to him by his uncle who lived out west. The tiny log cabin is ceramic as is the log and ax. With Keith’s birthday being the same as President Lincoln’s, he always had a log cabin chocolate cake for his birthday. Though they were not toys, the drawing of the train and the bunny handkerchief were from his first grade school days proudly displayed on the top shelf. 
One of the oldest toys’ in Keith’s collection is the cowboy on his horse. It is a vintage wood and metal toy, circa 1940s called a "Steven Rock-A-Toy." This toy was also handed down to him by his older brother. In its prime, the horse was attached to a long rod with a weighted foot attached. When you pushed the horse, the cowboy would take a rocking-good ride on his horse, his head and arms swayed along with the horse’s head, moving back and forth as he rocked. The rod is long gone and the horse shows some wear-and-tear, but the cowboy is still riding into the sunset.
These are but a few of Keith’s precious toys from his childhood, and as he grew up his toys changed and I will post about them later. Now for my toys . . .    
Compared to Keith’s, it looks like I didn’t have many toys, at least those that got saved. But what I still have is none-the-less precious.

I think all babies born in 1950 got a stuffed vinyl lamb. Mine is a bright yellow with blue and red triangles printed on the shiny vinyl. My lamby also had curly eyelashes. Putting the two lambs’ side-by-side, mine looks like a girl lamb and his a boy lamb. It is truly amazing that we both had the same toy and still do.

I can’t begin to tell you why many of my baby toys were not saved like Keith’s. I can’t even remember having many toys, but I surely must had a few. I do recall a baby doll, but not until I was older. The first doll I truly cherished was my Barbie doll, and I had already told you that story. So on my side of the museum is but a few of the baby items that were saved. Such as my ceramic baby dish.

Of course, I do not remember eating out of it. But I do recall playing with it. Just like my mom did, I put water (not hot like it is meant to have) and pretended to feed whatever baby doll I had. The dish is in excellent shape and still retains its bright colors. I did some research on the dish and found there are plenty to be had. That’s nice but sad at the same time. I am happy that I still have my baby dish, but wouldn’t the many others who also did would still like to have it, too?  
My baby shoes are still enchanting as is my baby hair brush. If I ever needed my hair for a DNA test, there is plenty of it still on the brush. 
This photograph was taken sometime in 1952. My older brother Eddy is next to my mom Dorothy. I am being held by my dad, Bill. My mother use to say she had the perfect family, a boy for you, and a girl for me. Except, Ed was mama’s boy and I was daddy’s little girl. That explains a lot about my childhood. The other picture is of me on Lake Michigan beach. I wish I could remember that day. It looks like I was having a lot of fun!
Finally, my toy kitchen set that miraculously got saved. This vintage 1950s Wolverine Tin Litho Yellow Kitchen Stove, refrigerator and sink is rare, because when I researched this, I never saw the set in yellow. It came mostly in pink. I did see a blue refrigerator and a pale yellow stove, but never a yellow set. This must have been one of the earlier made sets by the Wolverine Supply & Manufacturing Company (1903-1950) founded in Pittsburg, PA by Benjamin Bain and his wife. And I think my dad bought it for me because he was from Pennsylvania and visited his brother who lived in Pittsburg. And it is interesting to read that the company closed in 1950, the year I was born.  
So that’s it for baby toys. I am happy that they were saved and continued to be cherished. Another thing that’s interesting is when I need to research a particular item and when I find it, it is quite thrilling. As they say, part of the fun is the thrill of the hunt. Tally ho and the way I go to the next hunt. Fun awaits!


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