It was my eighth birthday and my parents had mysteriously lead me to my Aunt and Uncle’s house; they were lucky I had a terrible sense of direction. We were in St. Louis for what I thought was just a normal visit with family before the school year started. Instead, we were there for my surprise birthday party.
I was lead into my Aunt and Uncle’s sun room on the back of their Brownstone home. In the room were my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, the neighbor’s kid, and a Mr. Potato Head.
The party was full of fun and delight. My other Aunt made a cake topper in the shape of the St. Louis Cardinals logo. The whole party was themed around my favorite baseball team. Even though there were plenty of people to socialize with, play and joke with; my cousin’s Potato Head with a playful phizog watched us from the corner and beckoned me.
Some of us were playing with elongated balloons my Aunt had purchased for all of us, they were part of a kit with stickers to make faces on the balloons. Still the Potato Head in the corner seemed more interesting.
Once the Happy Birthday song had been sung and the adults made their way into the main part of the house, the neighbor kid and I grabbed the outlying Potato Head and had the most fun any two kids could have rearranging someone’s face. We were like a child friendly version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein creating our perfect, man…spud.
Once we did every arrangement possible we suddenly realized we could hybridize the fun with the balloons and the plastic potato full of holes. As most of you know, Mr. Potato Head has a trap door on his posterior where you can store his extra eyes, mouths and ears.
We emptied his plastic part filled rump leaving the trap door open. We then grabbed one of the balloons and placed it through the nose hole. Both of us took turns blowing up a balloon and giggling at our new found discovery. We soon discovered you could shut the door and then it would burst open under pressure from the balloons. To paint the picture more clearly, we made my cousin’s Mr. Potato Head look like he had the world’s largest hemorrhoid.
After that moment, I had always wanted a Mr. Potato Head of my own but never let it be known. Now that I am an adult, it is something really of no use to me, however when I see a Mr. Potato Head I am instantly transported back to my eighth birthday.
What toy takes you back to your childhood? What toys do you intend to share with your children or grandchildren? Which toy was your most coveted?