Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confessions of a Thumb Sucker

From the 2005 movie Thumb Sucker, I had to see it of course.
You know I'm not shy when it comes to 'fessing up about my past. Parties, getting to first base with Eddie, my diary entries, etc. Last night I was flipping through the channels and TLC featured a young woman who publicly sucks her thumb. Thankfully in my case, I kicked the habit years prior to high school.

I remember sucking my thumb and watching Sesame Street. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom's Oldsmobile, staring at the window on the way to Grandma's every morning -- my mom worked full-time. Bundled up in winter garb, thumb glued to my mouth. I remember going into first grade and my Uncle Tony having a serious heart-to-heart with me.

The thumb sucking had to stop. I was a big girl now. Sucking my thumb meant I was destined for a large dental head brace to correct my teeth. The brace would then rust in the rain. My uncle also told me that my right thumb would shrink and look odd compared to the never-before-sucked left thumb. I believed him, but what could I do. I couldn't stop. One night he doused on my thumb in alcohol. He figured every time I'd try to do my thing, the taste would be unbearable. I washed it off and crawled into bed.

In first grade, we were watching a movie on a very large screen. The auditorium was dark and the quiet made me forget I was still in school. Remember, when you were small? Your parents would correct you for putting both arms on the table or licking your plate? They'd tell you that one day you'd forget and might actually do it on a date or in public? That's what happened.

I was caught. Abruptly, the lights flickered on. I thought I had a few more seconds to spare before the end credits rolled. Wrong. In an instant, the kid sitting in front of me turned around. It all happened so fast. I didn't have time to think. I was sleepy from the darkness and comfort of my thumb. Before I knew it, he was pointing at me, screaming, "Allyson sucks her thumb! Look everyone! She was sucking her thumb like a little baby!" I was six. It was humiliating. I don't remember much after that.

I won't lie, I believe I finally stopped sucking my thumb at around age 11. It was my secret. Nobody knew. I didn't tell friends. I remember having trouble sleeping at sleep-overs.  Trying to hide under blankets or waiting for the other girls to fall asleep first, hoping I wouldn't wake up with my thumb in my mouth. Then one day, I just stopped. I didn't try anything fancy. I didn't go for therapy. I wasn't in a twelve-step program. My parents didn't make me sleep with gloves on. Nobody did a thing. I didn't do a thing. I just realized one day I had forgotten to "insert thumb in mouth." I never sucked my thumb after that. I would try once in a while to see what the allure was, and it always felt uncomfortable and awkward. I honestly can't believe it was ever an obsession.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Clown Around Figurines | Best Christmas Gift Ever!

I loved the Clown Around Clown House

You may remember I once blogged about the worst-ever Christmas gift I received as a kid -- the Andy Gibb doll. Today, let's discuss one of my most favorite Christmas gifts ever received as a kid. I realize most of you will have no recollection of Clown Arounds, but they were all the rage for a short time in 1981.

Clown Arounds were clown figurines kids collected --  much like Smurfs and Monchhichi figurines. Produced by Mego Corp, each Clown Around was a different character.  Houses, cars and other toys were sold separately and could be used with the Clown Arounds. Man, oh man, I loved these goofy looking figurines.

Clown Around image from
One Christmas Eve, when I was about 9, I received a Clown Around Clown House -- I believe it was the exact house pictured above. I loved the Clown House so much. I remember how happy I was tearing the wrapping paper off, only to discover my Aunt Carol had actually gotten me one of the coolest gifts ever! I loved the colors of the house and setting up the Clown Arounds inside the house. I swear, I must have played with that house the entire night. I loved it so much!

What one your favorite holiday gifts from your childhood? I'm surprised I forgot to mention this gift in my Top 10 Gifts blog post last year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1980s Board Games | Smurfs, A-Team, Cabbage Patch Kids ...

What was it about the 1980s toys that every toy required a Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers board game to go along with it? I vaguely recall owning the E.T. and Cabbage Patch board games. I'm quite sure both were on my Christmas list ... Did any of you have the following board games? Do you even remember these games?

Ms. Pac-Man & Pac-Man Board Games

Both board games were released by Milton Bradley in 1982 to try to "Bring the video game to the table!" definitely not as exciting as the video games though. Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man board games are available on eBay ranging from $10-$20 depending on their condition.

Cabbage Patch Kids Hide-and-Seek Game

Milton Bradley released this fun-filled match game in 1984 during the height of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. The idea was to match up as many Cabbage Patch Kids (they popped up) before the timer went off.

Cabbage Patch Kids Friends to the Rescue Board Game

Parker Brothers 1984 Cabbage Patch Kids - Friends to the Rescue board game is going for $10-$40 on vintage toy websites and eBay. According to

"In this game, you must help rescue the kids from the clutches of Cabbage Jack. The delightful Bunny Bees will help you lead the kids to safety. And finally Colonel Casey, the kindly old stork, will help you bring the kids home. Collect 4 kids, each with a different color hair, or all the same color, and you're the winner."

The Smurf Board Game

First released by Milton Bradely in 1981, the above Smurf board game is available at $16.99 on and makes a great gift for Smurf fans everywhere.

The A-Team Board Game

My younger brother was a fan of the A-Team, I personally was not. This Parker Brothers board game was hot in 1984 and looks just as silly as the show. More information is available at

The E.T. Board Game

I love(d) E.T. so very much. We even have an E.T. movie poster hanging over our bed. I couldn't get enough of E.T. as a kid -- read more about it here. You can bet your bippie that in 1982, the E.T. Board Game by Parker Brothers was on my holiday wish list. Today this game goes from $10-$175 depending on its overall condition.

Watch the E.T. Board Game Commercial: 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hershey's WHATCHAMACALLIT Chocolate Candy Bar

Hershey's Whatchamacallit Candy Bar

There's a stationery store in Parsippany, New Jersey that is like a total time capsule. Stepping into this shop is like stepping into a small-town 1980s school supply/card store. Truth be told, the merchandise is dusty and straight out of the 1980s and '90s. The line, extending almost out the door, is strictly for cigarettes and lottery tickets -- they're known around town for selling an abundance of winning lottery tickets. It's the only reason people visit this old-school place.

I haven't bought a lottery ticket in a while and was feeling the itch to scratch. While standing on the endless line alongside other hopeful New Jersey Lottery junkies, I peered at the random Hershey chocolate candy bars on an old display stand. Next to KitKat and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I was surprised to see two Whatchamacallit bars. To be honest, I thought Hershey had stopped making them. 

I would have purchased the chocolate candy bar, but it was so dusty, I was afraid it may have been ten years old. I couldn't figure out the date on the package. Looking around, I noticed boxes of "Trapper Keeper Folders" and knew for sure everything was super dated. They sell Whatchamacallit on Amazon, so I guess it may still be available in grocery stores.

I went through a phase in my childhood, where I was obsessed with Whatchamacallits. I bought one nearly every day after school at the local candy store. That delicious crisp rice, peanut butter and caramel covered in delicious Hershey chocolate. Wowzers! I may need to pick one up later today just to experience 1984 all over again! Sadly, I read that due to the cost of cocoa butter, Hershey began replacing it with cheaper oil substitutes, which is why they can no longer call their candy bars "chocolate" bars. Bummer.

Sooo good!

Hershey Whatchamacallit Fast Facts

First introduced: 1978
Description from the Hershey's website: This Peanut-Flavor Crisp topped with a layer of caramel and dipped in chocolate has a name and a taste that's hard to forget!
Calories: 230
Fat: 110

Vintage 1980s Whatchamacallit Commercial

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lily Tomlin -The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I was so excited when my parents first got cable television in the early 1980s. I remember HBO repeating several movies over and over again. In addition to Poltergeist and Meatballs, I loved watching the Lily Tomlin film, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Seriously, when I was about ten years old, this sci-fi comedy was one of my favorites.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman was loosely based on the 1957 science fiction classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and was filled with messages of anti-consumerism. Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin) is a stay-at-home mom to two bratty kids (played by Justin Dana and Shelby Balik -- I found Justin on Facebook, both child stars haven't done much since the movie). Pat, the wife of a successful advertising agency executive, lives with her family and their Spanish-speaking housekeeper in a lovely home filled with colorful pinks, greens, blues, yellows -- this movie has great early 1980s design and style.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman focuses on Pat's transformation after she's exposed to a dangerous concoction of household products. She shockingly goes from a normal sized woman to the size of a Smurf -- I loved when she moved into the doll house! Pat begins to become a media attraction and is soon kidnapped by a group of evil scientists. She escapes with the help of a sweet, smart and savvy gorilla named Sydney and I honestly do not remember the ending...
I haven't seen this film in thirty years and think I may ask my husband to add it to our Netflix queue. Here is a clip from The Incredible Shrinking Woman - enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Roly Poly Chime Ball From Fisher Price

Last night, I visited a good friend who recently had her first baby. It was so awesome to see her snuggling her new bundle of joy.  Driving home from Morristown, my mind began to wander toward retro toys from my babyhood -- and of course I had to start Googling as soon as I got home.

One baby toy in particular always struck a chord with me -- my little cousins and myself owned one of these nifty musical imaginative toys called the Roly Poly Chime Ball by Fisher Price. This simplistic sphere was appropriate for babies ages 6 months to 4 years.

The Roly Poly Chime Ball was first introduced in 1965 and was a hard plastic ball about 7 inches in diameter with a transparent top half featuring miniature rocking horses and a swan. When the ball was rolled, the small toys inside would rock and the music would sound. There were a variety of Roly Poly Chime Balls made -- one came in yellow and had sail boats that would rock.

Fisher Price continued to produce and modernize the Roly Poly Chime Ball for over thirty years and ceased production in 1986. For some reason with age, the transparent portion would fog up much like a cracked car headlight. The version I am most familiar with was green or teal and had a teeny-tiny version of my little brother's red, white and blue Fisher Price pony inside. Roly Poly Chime Ball can be found on eBay from $5-$100 depending on he condition.

Do you remember this old-school baby toy?


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