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He Man meets Inspector Gadget

Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007, at 10:06 AM

Today my youngest grandchild is coming to spend the day with me, and I've been rummaging through the old boxes of toys in the basement, trying to find age-appropriate selections for this new-age kid.

He's only one & a half years old, but already he's been bombarded by all the techno wizardry of the modern age -- Baby Einstein videos to improve his brain, mechanical toys to improve his motor co-ordination, bright-colored visuals to stimulate his interest.

What's a grandma to do?

In the basement I find his dad's little John Deere tractors, still wearing traces of the hard clay mud that they had when we put them away. Up here in these hills, the mud became a permanent addition to the paint, once those little tractors plowed ground in our yard. The boys had quite an elaborate excavation right outside our living room windows under the big oak tree. They and their little tomboy sister played out there for hours on end throughout the summer months. I can look out the window and still see them in my mind's eye..

Upstairs in the big wooden trunk which his grandfather made for him, I can find my younger son's box of HeMan figures, perfect as the day we bought them. We added to the collection, one gruesome "action figure" at a time. There's a character with a snake-like tongue, which snaps out when you push a little lever on the back of his head. Pretty simple stuff by today's standards. My three-year-old grandson Mikey was so taken with the snake man (which he called "Scarey Guy") that I let him take it back to Minnesota with him on the plane. I'm sure it later got lost in all the techno-babble of his own toybox.

It's like being in a time warp to see my three grandchildren playing with their parents' toys from the past. Mikey is the oldest of my grandchildren, and I feel sure that the differences between today's toys and those of the past will get more pronounced as they get older.

Until then, I'll just sit on the floor and play HeMan and John Deere tractor games with my youngest grandson, hoping that he grows into as wonderful a young man as his daddy did.

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Madeline, sounds like you are saver like my wife but we have gave most back to the kids ,our son has kept most and now our greatgrandson likes to play with his grampa's but he is only 3 and know more about the electronic gadets that I do, sounds like you will have a busy and fun time.

-- Posted by rusty nail on Mon, Aug 6, 2007, at 10:42 AM

Madeline I live in Mich but my wife is from the Bloomfield area and we get the North Stoddard area paper and enjoy all of your articles and now that you have a bolg I really like all your articles.Do you think we might visit with you the next time we are in Mo. if you have time.

-- Posted by rusty nail on Mon, Aug 6, 2007, at 10:48 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Sure thing, Rusty Nail! I'm glad to hear from a long-distance NSC subscriber. The Advance NSC office is on the corner of Sturdivant and Poplar streets. I'm in there from 9-4 except on Wednesdays or whenever I have to lock up to go after a story.

Madeline, I think I'll stop by to see you the next time I'm in the area too. Is it ok if I bring my brother with me? I'm sure I've got some different things your grandson might like. How about a book called "Perfect the Pig?" It would go right along with those John Deere toys.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Aug 6, 2007, at 11:56 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Well, now, Ducky, I'm familiar with that book, as my mother had it at her house, too, and I took quite a few turns reading it to my own children and the nephews and neices.

I have to say that I don't believe I ever want to see "Perfect the Pig" again, as long as I live!!

So, I'll have to decline the gift, but I would most certainly love to see you and your brother, as I have enjoyed your earthy, and delightfully sarcastic sense of humor on our blogs.

Thank you for the invite and you might see me any time soon.

-- Posted by rusty nail on Tue, Aug 7, 2007, at 8:51 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Be sure to bring your wife.

I was a little older when the He-man toys were released, but can certainly remember when some churches were fretting about the sorcery aspect of He-man, the Smurfs, Dungeons and Dragons, etc. Those were the Harry Potters of the 1980's. Depend upon what church you went to, the aforementioned were focused on as much, or more than teenage sex, boozing, and drugging. I'm not sure that %50 percent or more of the populace was that way back then, but it was a higher number than now. At least most people are beginning to put the relatively harmless pop culture in proper perspective these days. It's amazing how many of us played with those toys, played those games, and watched those programs, and NEVER worhipped Satan, joined a cult, or committed suicide. Even if anybody ever did, it was clear that they suffered from other problems. Anybody want to guess how many 1970's and 80's kids probably had teen sex, alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. Probably a much greater number than all of the mythological things people did because they played Dungeons and Dragons, or watched He-man. Don't think people don't still get on a soap box against these things. A few still do, it just shifted to things like the Magic card game in the 90's and Harry Potter. And, the anti-folks never do any research. They just criticize. Oh well, those people are a dying breed these days. hehe

-- Posted by pbenedict on Tue, Aug 7, 2007, at 3:16 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I'm not so sure they're a dying breed! I'm on our library board, and we get a lot of criticism from some quarters, if we purchase any books other than religious ones.

One resident said that she didn't need a library card - She had her Bible.

Well, maybe not a dying breed, but they're nowhere near as bad as they were circa mid-late 80's on back to the earlier days of 20th century pop culture. Uugghh. Books about rock bands who(and most weren't) were satanic, music from Ozzy and Judas Priest that supposedly made kids commit suicide, rock band KISS' name stood for Knights in Satan's Service, E.T.'s healing finger gave him "Christ-like

powers(actually heard that in a church service once), Halloween(the holiday) was evil and didn't uplift Jesus like the other two secular holidays do, candied apple poisonings and razor-bladed snickers bars were the order of the day(yeah right), Parker Brothers Ouija boards and magic 8-ball toys were linked to the forces of evil,etc. Either way, you're right. Probably not a dying breed, but they'll never top the days of Satanic-fearing yesteryear. If some of them had spent more time on things that would likely take their children down a bad path(alcohol, sex, and drugs) they might have seen better results. But, anything that was deemed to be "satanic" always ranked higher on the list of sinful activity. Even though I believe the bible says sin is sin.

-- Posted by pbenedict on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 10:09 AM

These kind of people are the same ones that burned their neighbors in Salem. There will always be people who point a finger at someone else and say "evil".

I loved those He-Man figures, and GI Joe and Barbie, etc.. Even when my little brother used to steal my Barbie so his GI Joe would have "company." He played Marine with his GI Joe and didn't grow up to join the military. I played with Barbie and didn't grow up to be an air-brained blonde.

What a wonderful thing that your grandchildren will be able to play with your kid's old toys. Kudos for hanging on to the toys. What wonderful memories. My family moved so much I don't have many of my old things, just the memories themselves.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 1:42 PM

Good to see enlightened folks like you, Ducky and pbenedict! What's sad is when the others are in positions of power - however modest the power might be.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Aug 14, 2007, at 9:58 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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