Midway through the glorious year of 1978 my dad got a job working at a local factory. It’s the job my dad would have for the next 19 years as I was growing up. Being the sole income earner for most of my childhood, he did a lot of financial planning. As I got older, I was kept in the loop on our finances, which helped me understand how we were able to afford gifts and vacations, but why it was also important to use the “buy one, get one free” coupon at the local pizza joint.
I’m told that there was a dart board beneath that gift wrap. You’ll also notice my dad’s rockin’ his usual factory uniform. The faint smell of oil covered metal shavings fills my nostrils every time I see a picture of him in one of those uniforms.
I vaguely remember this Winnie the Pooh table and chair set. You’ll notice that I’m in a different outfit in the pictures below. Based on my experiences with my daughter and breakfast and Christmas, I’m willing to bet that I ended up wearing some of my breakfast and required a wardrobe change before holiday pictures could commence.
Many memories start with this photo. While I remember riding around on the big wheel, what I remember most are the cement mixer and the wagon.
That mean green machine on the left is a genuine 85% steel Tonka cement mixer. You could do serious damage to a person (or yourself) with that thing. I remember putting small unsuspecting toys into the mixer. I’d turn it in one direction to mix them up real good then unceremoniously change directions and eject them down the spout to the ground below. When I wasn’t mixing toys, I could often be found sitting on the mixer and scooting myself around.
I lived a lifetime of adventures in that Radio Flyer 9A wagon. I pulled my stuff around. I pulled other people’s stuff around. I got pulled around. I pulled other people (and animals) around. I got pushed while steering. I pushed others while they were steering. I don’t know exactly when that wagon finally left this world for the big Radio Flyer in the sky, but it was still around well past my childhood.
I’ll leave you with this photo of me, cruisin’ into the future, leaving the aftermath of Christmas 1978 in my rear-view.