Friday, December 02, 2016

Wish List

I think most of the people in my generation (Baby Boomers) spent a large part of the autumns of their childhood finding things in a 'Wish Book' for their Christmas list. This magic book usually came from Sears in our household, but I think Montgomery Wards and J.C. Penney and others probably got into the game, too.

I ripped this picture off from eBay where these vintage catalogs go for lots of money these days. No doubt they are valuable references for set designers, toy and kitsch collectors and costume designers.

This one dates from a bit after my childhood, but note the fun construction stuff in this spread. The Erector Set picture at the top of this entry, though, is a snap of one in this very apartment and I received it when I was nine or ten years old, in the late fifties. I keep it as a reminder of the struggle to get toys that I wanted, Not only were they sometimes outside the limits of the family budget but they were also very specifically branded for boys. (See the cover art above.) I think it's nice that the spread from the catalog shows a girl building a skyscraper. This was from the '70's, though, and my time had passed. Of course, when I had some money and was grown, I bought and collected toys like Lego Sets and all manner of fun stuff for a while. Just a pent-up demand to have what was so hard to come by when it was age appropriate, I guess. The great downsizing of 2007-2008 eliminated most of this stuff although a few things like the Erector Set and several hundred bendable poseable figures survived.

This year, I've made a reverse wish list. On this list are things people usually wish for at Christmas. Instead of wishing for them, I have cataloged things I own already obviating the need for more.

  • Watches [I think I have seven. Three cost fifty dollars or much less and were purchased while on trips when the watch I was wearing had its battery fail. Two cost several hundred dollars. One, by Gucci, was a gift from my husband. A few years ago, he had it cleaned and reconditioned. Another, a Swiss Army stainless steel number, I bought years ago. A careless jeweler had messed it up trying to change the battery. My husband had it properly repaired recently. The other two areold, gold stem-winders. One is 18 karat gold, bought in 1975 in a Bucherer store in Switzerland. The other is 14 karat and is, I think, a Corum. I bought it at a charity auction. These last two are locked away in a safe. Gold is worth about 30 times what it was in 1975, I believe.] No watches in the stocking!
  • Mufflers [I have several. A favorite is made from soft lambswool and I bought it in Germany in 1972. Miraculously, I've never lost it.] So, really, no mufflers needed.
  • Sweaters [It seemed that cold weather was never coming here in Austin this year but as I write this it will be in the fifties when we go out tonight. I got the sweaters out from winter storage and they are aired out. I have a blue cashmere I bought in a thrift store for fifteen dollars, a very nice ultra thin black cashmere from Ralph Lauren, ditto a purple one, a cheaper red one and brown one (but still cashmere), an older black silk and cashmere and a hand-knitted ski style sweater made by an aunt who died in the 1990's. There are more, I'm sure.] No sweaters, Santa.
  • Socks [Classic gift. I usually wear black ones now or brown or white athletic ones. I rarely get into the depths of the two drawers containing socks. And up at the heights of the closet is a storage box with bright colors and patterns. From another time when I'd make a sock statement.] Yeah, no socks.
So none of the above. Give a gift to charity if you must remember me. 

Yep. And there are many other things that I don't need. That are unlisted. In compiling this, though, I realize that I've identified at least five doven things I own. (Lots of socks.) Out of the, what, 10,000?

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