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  • Writer's picturePanthergirl

The post of christmas past

You know, Hollywood really isn't "Tinsel Town". Brooklyn, NY circa 1962 was most definitely Tinsel Town. Not to mention Ugly Slipcover Town, Hideous Lamp Town, and Flocked Wallpaper Town.

Check out the hot toys of the period. The original bubble-hairdo Barbie, The "Showboat" by Remco including the characters and scenery for four different plays. My favorite was Heidi, and my best friend Andrew, not yet "out" at 8 but already a theater buff, always wanted to play "Frauline Rottenmeyer."

Another huge favorite that year was the "Haunted House" by Ideal. All I remember about it was that there were tons of little doors and windows to open, and that it scared the crap out of me. What's not to love? Please note the black and white bowling bag in the background. Bowling-related gifts were big in my house.

And here is my mother, who'd usually venture out of bed at about 10 AM, hours after we had ripped through all the booty.

My father wasn't big into getting up with us at 5AM, but I think he did most of the shopping and definitely made sure he bought stuff that HE would like (note the "Service Station" in the first photo). And when I was about ten, he bought me a HO Slot Car racing set and I honestly remember he and my uncle elbowing us out of the way so they could go head to head with 3" Lotuses and Porches.

Ooh, some lucky lady got a Toast-R-Oven for Christmas!

Cute, right? "A girl and her dog." Loved that poodle so much that I'd drag it up and down our street by its leash until it was pretty ratty. So ratty in fact, that one day my mother decided to toss it into the back of the churning garbage truck right before my very eyes. Joan Crawford had nothing on her.

Then there's the classic Shoot 'em Up pose, appropriate for every pious holiday. It's Christmas, kids! Strap on your holsters and blow everyone away! (I was still pissed off about the poodle, apparently.)

Never let it be said that I don't post unattractive photos of myself. This was certainly one from my five-year "awkward phase", but I couldn't resist. (Don't I look like the daughter of Edith Prickley? C'mon... you know I do.)

Zoom in to see the critical details. Fake tree, once again dripping with tinsel, sitting atop a room fan. Manger, not under the tree (because that spot was reserved for the room fan), but instead topping the Admiral television set (that TV had a record player in the drawer...snazzy!), under the bowling trophies. As mentioned in old blog posts, bowling trophies were everywhere in my house...including several on headboard shelves over my parent's bed. Hey, whatever turns you on.

Note the Astro-Base, one of my favorite toys. Since I was the third girl, I lucked out and got all the cool "wish you were a boy" stuff. And notice the game "Finance" which was the bargain-basement version of Monopoly. My parents were the king and queen of Brand X.

In the background is my Aunt Mary, all primped up in what appears to be a dress with petticoat. Take that, Mrs. Maisel! and conversely there's my Dad, who clearly hasn't shaved for days. Come as You Are Christmas at the Vitale's.

It appears that someone also bought me a coat and left the price tag on. That must have been my mother. (Why should Santa get the credit? She paid good money for that coat!)

And speaking of my mother... here's a classic Christmas moment from her: When my eldest sister got married and had kids, my parents would always visit them for the holidays. One year, when my niece (who was probably in her late teens) had opened a gift from my parents, she rose, said "Thanks, Grandma.." and went to give my mother a kiss. Ever the practical one, my mother waved her off and said "We'll all kiss at the end."

(When my father died in 1995, my sister and I sat together at the funeral and in one of those "break the tension" moments I looked at her and said, "We'll all cry at the end.")


Now, go watch the Pee Wee Christmas Special! Feliz Blah-di-blah!

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