Repost: Reflections on a Squirmin Herman

On Saturday I went to the Christmas Craft Fair with my mother. There were craftsmen and artisans and product representatives from across the province selling their wares and promoting their products. At one of the hundreds of stalls was a woman selling a homemade variation of the 1970’s classic children’s toy “Squirmin Herman”. Needless to say I bought it for my eight-year-old niece because EVERY child deserves a Squirmin Herman. I LOVED mine. It was blue with black stripes and the cutest googley eyes. A mere piece of furry felt that kept me occupied for months (and for the life of me I can’t find an image anywhere on the web to share!).

I had the best toys growing up. I enjoyed every one of them because my sisters and I didn’t have tonnes and tonnes of toys.

We shared a Fisher Price house complete with family and little plastic car. We’d spend hours setting up the little house “just so” putting the living room chairs perfectly in front of the one dimensional papered fireplace, making sure the red one seater car sat exactly in the middle of the garage. Ringing the doorbell over and over and over again. I think once we even tried to fit the cat into that little house.

I had a brown and white stuffed dog. I him called “Booyon”. I got him only because my sister Paula received a pink bear for her birthday and then Angela was given a yellow elephant during her stay in the hospital. I was the only sister without a stuffed toy so my dad took me to a big department store and I got to pick out which toy, out of what seemed like millions and millions, I wanted. I remember falling in love with Booyon because he had the cutest blue eyes and the chubbiest furriest cheeks. I loved that stuffed dog so much I spent one winter knitting him a blue scarf that he wore until I left home.

One of my favourite toys was a rag doll. Her name was “Raggy” (creative I know). She had long braids made of red yarn and a straight row of bangs. Her stitched smile was so wide her eyes were little threaded slits. She wore a green and yellow jumper and a plaid shirt. I slept with her for years and years. Her head would rest softly on my cheek, a gentle comforting weight. She eventually had drool stains on her face from all those nights of cuddling.

There must have been a few other toys in our toy box, but I don’t remember having two of anything. And you know what? I never felt short changed, or hard done by. We eventually found dad’s old “linkin logs” and train set in one of the upstairs cubby holes and Mom tossed all of her old clothes in a box for “dress up” so with all of this and our imaginations my childhood felt full of all sorts of treasure.

What were your favourite toys growing up? Do any of them still exist? Do they seem as ‘uncomplicatedly’ charming as a Squirmin Herman or a Rag Doll? What would Santa bring your six year old self this Christmas?

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