I am going to tell you about the best toy I ever got. This is probably going to give you great insight into why I turned out so utterly doofy.
It wasn’t the easy bake oven or a doll or a bike (is that considered a toy?) or anything like that. It was a Fisher-price Printing Press.
Yes, I said, a Fisher-price Printing Press.
I am not making this up. The Christmas I discovered who Santa Claus was, my parents (umm, Santa) bought me a boatload of Santa gifts. I think they were trying to buy my silence. They didn’t want me to tell Sisters #2-4 about Santa Claus’ origins.
I got pom-poms and Barbies and the Little House on the Prairie book set (which is still sitting in my bookcase) and a Fisher-price Printing Press. I didn’t know what it was for at first. My mom explained to me how I had to put the raised, rubber letters into the tray, press the tray against the blue inkpad, and then press the inked letters against paper and I’d have words.
Oh! It was magical.
She had gotten me a pad of paper about the size of them giant desk calendar things. I was in love. I slaved away at the kitchen table printing my own newspaper. It was called the Chromey Chronicle and I remember I had to look up how to spell the work chronicle.
Being as the letterpress only held seven letters, the flag (that’s the part of the newspaper that says the name) looked a bit goofy, but I thought it was the swankest thing ever printed.
The small capacity of the letterpress and the giant size of the letters (looking back, I’d guess it was about a 32pt, sans-serif font) led to a newspaper that was only headlines. Of course, I made up the headlines. There really wasn’t too much news going on in our house. The only headline I remember was “Neal Broten Comes to Dinner.”
He never came to dinner. I made that part up. He should have. For those not hockey-inclined Neal Broten was a player for the Minnesota North Stars. Sister#2 and I loved him (and a mere three years later we both fell in love with his nephew Derek who sat in front of me in 8th grade English, mister mister songs still get me choked up thinking of ol’ Derek Broten).
So, yeah, when I was ten I became the editor, publisher, and reporter for my very own newspaper. I could have taken the journalistic world by storm. I was going to take the newspaper world by storm. But I discovered 13-years later after 5 years of college that I didn’t like it — too many moral decisions to make, too much life to give up, too many rules to follow.
I am not good with rules.
I don’t know what happened to that old Fisher-price Printing Press. I probably forget all about it by birthday time when I got a tape recorder and the tape “Donnie and Marie go coconuts.” my sisters probably destroyed it. Or I lost all the Es or something.
The Fisher-price Printing Press must have had a short life. I don’t know anyone else who ever had the toy. Most people think I made it up. But it was an honest to goodness real toy and I loved it.
Not too long ago I went fishing on e-bay, looking for a Fisher-price Printing Press, but had no luck. I did, however, buy a Castle Greyskull for my friend Orange Tim.
So if any of you ever come across a Fisher-price Printing Press you MUST e-mail me immediately and let me know. Some of us will do anything to recapture the innocence of childhood.