A Christmas column: Playing with Christmas gifts that last a lifetime

News photo by Barbara Woodham Kamari Herriman left, Layla Gonzalez playing with grandma’s toys.

As a small child, long, long ago in Detroit, all I wanted for Christmas was Fisher Price Little People.

I can remember this, even though I was only in kindergarten.

My parents, who were not very well off at the time, came through with a little help from Santa and I was thrilled.

After two or three Christmases, I had the entire city.

The house, the farm, the school, the fire station, and the airport, to name a few.

Courtesy Photo Barbara Woodham posing with Christmas gifts

I would line all the toys up on both sides of the room, down the middle of the floor, at least 10 feet long, to form a city street through the middle of the dining room.

I would play for hours, pretending that I was all the different workers in that city.

I was a teacher at the schoolhouse and then, I was a helicopter pilot, landing patients on the roof of the hospital, I was a mechanic at the garage, and a child on the swingset behind the toy house.

This was long before today’s technology.

As I grew older, the toys became less and less important to me.

I cared about other things, like friends and boys.

My mother put the toys away. She brought them back years later for my younger brother who seemed to really like the toys, as well.

As the years went by, I would sit on the floor and play with him, even though I was now a teenager.

My older sister had her first child by then and whenever she would visit my mother’s house, those little people would come out of the box.

My mother, Maryann Woodham, kept those toys and every child in the family played with them, including my own four children and all of their cousins.

Today we all live in Alpena. My mother made sure to bring those toys with her when she moved here in 2011.

Now, my grandchildren and my brother’s grandchildren are playing with those same little people that I got for Christmas back in 1974.

Whenever we walk into my mother’s house, my granddaughter, Layla Gonzalez, asks for the toys.

“The toys are really cool,” Layla said. “After grandmommy dies, then you get the toys, and when you die, then I will get the toys and my kids will probably throw them away because by then, they will be way too old.”

My youngest granddaughter, Kamari Herriman, did not have much to say, although we can tell that she thinks the toys taste great.

I find it amazing that these toys have not only survived for all these years, but are still being used and enjoyed today.


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