I grew up in a family of four during the sixties. We did not lack anything, there was always food on the table, but we were not rich. My father, who was the only breadwinner of the household, struggled to make ends meet as a small corner store’s owner and could not afford to buy expensive toys.
Solitaire by nature and because of a significant age difference with my three older brothers, I mostly played by myself. I had many dolls and placed them in rows. I talked to them, dressed them up and brushed their hair. I also had a good time with Barbie dolls although I did not have as many clothes and accessories as I had wished.
I loved assembling jigsaw puzzles, especially difficult sceneries with more than two thousand pieces. I was very happy when a relative who travelled to Germany brought me a Ravensberger puzzle. When they first appeared, they were considered the cream of jigsaw puzzles.
During school breaks, I enjoyed doing needlepoint. I had several pieces framed and have hanged them on my walls until I got sick of them. Two of them are still in excellent condition! I also spent countless hours doing oil-painting by numbers. Every time I perceive a sparrow, an oil-painting done during my childhood comes to my mind.
Recently, during a conversation about past Christmas gifts, one of my girlfriends and I discussed the Lite-Brite game. We remembered the hours we spent creating glowing pictures. I laughed when she said she played so much with it, some of the pegs burned out! This was an ideal toy. A playmate was not required and it was really enjoyable.
During summer breaks and frequent teachers’ strikes, I played cards and Monopoly with my family and friends. We never saw time pass.
Before computers and electronic games, we had simple and inexpensive toys. And we were never bored.