Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.--Stephen Fry
I was just thinking the other day about the incredible Christmases I had as a child.
Picture this: Grandparents, who buy all of your toys at FAO Schwarz, show up on Christmas Day with an endless parade of presents. A veritable plethora of packages. My brother Rich and I had combed through the the FAO catalog (which my mother always tried to hide from us, quite unsuccessfully) and made up our equally endless lists for Santa.
You know, my dears, that Santa did all of his finest work at FAO.
However, our toy language consisted of Mattel, Remco, Marx, Topper, Kenner, Ideal, Wham-O. These companies were the gold standard, although I never quite caught the major disconnect between them and Santa's workshop.
My greatest desire when I was 8, was the Remco Firebird dashboard. No, not dolls. Not little teasets. No girly shit. I wanted that fucking dashboard so badly that I would have sold my little 2nd grade soul for it.
Yes, it is the 1958 Firebird 99. It had an ignition key, the horn beeped and the wiper blades worked, ran on batteries.
So on Christmas Day, 1958, I became the proud owner of my first car, as it were. I loved that toy more than anything else I got, which is why I remember it so well. I don't recall experiencing that kind of want again.
And yes, I did own a Daisy Air Rifle, which I also got when I was 8, either for my birthday or for Christmas. God knows why, because my mother was ever the proponent of that fine maxim, "You'll show your eye out." Somehow, I think Daddy may have overridden her vote on that one.
Rich, of course, loved monsters. I'm almost sure he owned the Great Garloo. I'll have to ask him tomorrow.
This toy orgy occurred well before my sister was born in 1962, although I think she does remember some of the Oma and Opa largesse.
These days, I think that the Schacht Ladybug comes close to the Firebird dashboard, in a way. But no adult emotion equals the pure greed of an 8-year-old toy-hungry child with a rapacious appetite.
Do you remember a toy that you wanted so badly you would have eaten dirt to get it? Dirt with worms, of course.
Tomorrow, when we all get together--Rich, Mom, Karen, and me--I know the talk will turn to those magical Christmases. Only we can relate to those times. However, I know Jenn will recall her drool fest over the remote-controlled R2D2. She was nine years old when it came out in 1978 and she wanted that as I had wanted my Firebird.
Did she get it? You bet. Even though Mommy and Daddy had to drive all over fucking New Jersey to find one, since it was the hot toy that year.
It's time for me to get my act together, finish wrapping presents, and then scurry down to North Arlington, NJ to spend Christmas Eve at Jerry's sister Pat's house. Tomorrow, we'll head up to Wharton for Christmas dinner with my family. This will be Jerry's first time meeting them. I'm sure he'll be just fine. He can more than hold his own with anyone, especially me. I've finally found my match.
May you all have a wonderful Christmas or Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Kwaanza, or whatever the fuck you celebrate. No matter what, this is the rarest and handiest season I know, if you make it that way. I just wish the weather would make up its mind. I've had it with snow--ya know what I mean?