Sunday, November 26, 2006


I was browsing the Internet, doing a little online Christmas shopping, when I started to think back on some of the goodies that I received as a child. Of course I went through my fair share of dolls, tea sets, stuffed animals and costume jewelry; but the gift that stands out in my mind the most was a chemistry set that I received when I was 8 or 9.

It wasn’t like the chemistry sets you see now-a-days. There was nothing plastic or “child-safe” about it. In the bad-old-good-old days there were no recalls, age limits or flame retardant PJs. You played with the thing and hopefully had enough sense to not poke your eye out or blow off a body part that you might need some day.

There were a lot of really big jars containing what would be considered “hazardous”chemicals today. An alcohol burner delighted the pyromaniac in me (to this day I can’t leave a fire along, I have to constantly poke and rearrange it); the scalpels, tweezers, and pliers revealed the innards of many a frog or bug unlucky enough to fall into my Jr. Ms. Frankenstein hands (hey, they gave their lives up for science!). Pond scum (algae for you city folks) is a whole ‘nother universe when viewed under the lens of a microscope, thousands of squiggly critters living a life that I never dreamed existed.

The lovely stink bombs I concocted drove my Mom to fits and my sisters out of the house with tears streaming from their stinging eyes. Burned sulfur has a unique stench that’ll put the healthiest polecat to shame and you wouldn’t believe the colors that different compounds produce when charred over an open flame. Mixing diverse mystery jars resulted in mini-volcanoes that spewed over like a scene out of the movie “The Blob”, taking the finish off Mom’s furniture while multicolored and probably toxic fumes spiraled up to the ceiling.

But what did I care, I was experimenting! I was gonna grow up and make great discoveries, like the cure for cancer or something else equally important; my pubescent brain didn’t go far enough into the future to work out the details. Madame Curie, eat my dust! One of the saddest days in my young life was when my chemical supplies ran out and I couldn’t get my parents to buy more.

What was one of the most memorable gifts you received as a child? Just to make it harder, I’m going to rule out bikes and you had to be age 12 or younger when you got it. So come on, fuss up……. What was the Christmas present that you remember fondly and was extra special in your childhood?

EXTRA CHRISTMAS BONUS: Patty, over at This, That and Froghair ,has posted the link to watch The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause free on the Internet. Thanks Patty.

The site has tons of movies that aren't on cable yet, so browse and enjoy.


Michael Manning said...

Junebugg: lol! I remember those chemistry sets. Had a spoiled kid who lived across the street when I was a tot and he was given an Easy Bake Oven--which I thought was kind of funny. But Creepy Crawlers from Mattel was also big. Never had either. But it was fun.

Thank you Junebugg for your supportive comments on my website for the Sahara Aldridege project! It meant a great deal to me! And were I not "burning the Midnight oil" I would have responded sooner. lol!!! and (((HUGS)))

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Ah, you've got me thinking back and that's making me smile.

I got an Intellivision one year instead of the Atari I'd hoped for. Intellivsion was lightyears ahead of Atari. What a great surprise. I was the coolest kid on the block.

Great gift.

anonymous jones said...

My glow in the dark frisbee was pretty good - I still have it! Also my 'Velvet' doll whose hair grew when you pressed a button on her stomach, I still have her, too!

Betty said...

I wanted a white stuffed poodle. Don't ask me why. Maybe because I was allergic to most live dogs. Anyway, my daddy went and bought me one by himself. When I opened it Christmas morning, he was so proud of himself that I just couldn't tell him it was a stuffed lamb.