JUST LIKE CLOCKWORK

Well now, Christmas is over and all the little children have received their presents from Santa. I wonder what they got.

Remember when we were young and boys and girls would receive simple little toys. Wind-up clockwork train sets and cars for the boys, dolls, doll’s houses and prams for the girls. Or perhaps the girls may have received a dancing ballerina on a music box or jewel case worked by clockwork. You didn’t have to worry about having sufficient batteries for the toys to see out Christmas day back in those times. Now you need to purchase batteries for the toys that have on the packaging “batteries not included” and even if batteries were included in the packaged toy, how long had they been there on the shelf and how long would they last.

Back in those “old days” you just had to be careful not to overwind the clockwork car or train or it may not go. You just wound it enough to give it enough tension to set the wheels running and off it would go. The girls would dress, nurse and mother their dolls. They would then place them in the doll’s pram or stroller and wheel them around for a while. The girls would also rearrange the furniture in their doll’s house from time to time they would have the miniature mum and dad dolls in various rooms, perhaps at the dining table or in the lounge room.

Did I say “nurse”? That also reminded me of those other harmless toys of yesteryear. How many of you girls had a “nurse’s outfit” or the boys with their cowboy outfits and “pop guns” or “cap guns”? Bow and arrows sets with suction caps on the tips of the arrows. Did you have a toy “wigwam”? Still on the “western” or cowboy theme, remember those little miniature figurines of cowboys and Indians, the little Wells Fargo stage coach or the covered wagons? Talking of little figurines, what about the toy soldiers which were once called “lead soldiers” that later came made of plastic instead. You would have battalions of dragoons, mounted cavalry, little cannons and infantry soldiers from various periods of history. Perhaps you may also have had a toy castle or fort which the soldiers either defended or attacked.

Girls would often play shop where they would have a miniature shop complete with counter and cash register, mini packets of groceries etc. Perhaps amongst the toys were roller skates, you remember those metal skates that you laced over your shoes, the ones before they became boot skates and later roller blades. Remember also the toy phones that came with a “dial”?

So what did the kids or grandkids get in their stockings this Christmas. I gather something electronic may well have been present. No clockwork toys for them. Perhaps a “i-Pad” or a mobile phone, a battery operated talking doll or robot. A computer game console such as a “play station” or “x-box” or maybe they received a motorised scooter so they don’t have to wear out the soles of their shoes. Did anyone receive a compendium of board games? Perhaps a game of “Snakes and Ladders” or “Ludo” may have bored them as there are no computerised animations to entertain them.

Some things are fun, good and fine but are we also losing out on developing children’s imagination , where the boys and girls of yesterday made up the conversations between their dolls or imagined scenarios for their toys.

But I’m not wound up by the lack of clockwork toys.