Category Archives: Matchbox cars



Happy Hump Day or Wacky Wednesday!

How do I blend a short piece on car maintenance and on growing old and

being a happy person? I will ‘wing it!’ Calling this maintenance is a bit of a


When asked about how to take care of your car to keep it running longer

and what to do “Under the Hood,” here are several random men’s answers.

These answers were found on an Advance Auto advertising poster.

Here’s Lucky Seven pieces of Advice on Cars:

1.  Dan in Chicago says,

“Do it once right, or don’t bother.”

2.  Cory in Boston says,

“The hands show you put in a day’s work.”

3.  Alex in Tampa says,

“The fact that you’re elbow deep in grease shows your passion.”

4.  Tony in Chicago says,

“Anybody can cut their lawn, but not everyone can work on their car.”

5.  Felipe in Houston says,

“Show me your knuckles.

“That shows me something.”

6.  Matt in Chicago says,

“I like the sense of accomplishment,

knowing I did it.”

7.  Dave in Boston says,

“To clear your mind of the day,

you go to the garage.”


Our new slogan at the Advance Auto Distribution Center #23 is:

“Under the Hood,

On Top of the World.”

(We bought two more car repair parts chains. I like to buy the Yankee

Candle air fresheners and the cleaning products. I don’t repair my own

car, but I can certainly ‘fix it up on the inside!’ Smiles! Robin)

Here’s some funnies for the older people out there:

1.  “I’m not 40 Something

I’m $39.95 Plus

Shipping and Handling!”

2.  “I Don’t Perspire or Sweat Much,

I Just Have Short, Private

Vacations in the Tropics!”

3.  “A Balanced Diet:

Chocolate in Both Hands. (Mostly women.)

A Burger Using Both Hands. (Mostly men.)”


The Last Funny of the Day for “Hump Day:”

“It was a small town and the patrolman was making his evening rounds.

As he was checking a Used Car Lot, he came upon two little old ladies,

sitting in a used car.

He stopped and politely asked the ladies why they were sitting there in

the car? Were they planning on stealing it?

“Heavens no, we bought it.”

The patrolman replied,

“Then why don’t you drive it away?”

The ladies giggled,

“We can’t drive.”

The reply to this was,

“Then, for Pete’s sake, why did you buy it?”

Wait for this… (off color response, appropriate for Hump Day, coming):

“We were told that if we bought a used car here

We’d get screwed… so we’re just waiting.”


This is the lasting message of the day. We don’t stop laughing because

we grow old. We grow old if we stop finding humor in things around us!


Collectibles and Memories


Coins, stamps, trains, toys, dolls, books, antique or

Matchbox cars, comic books, glass menageries, art, music,

or salt and pepper shakers… all have a common denominator

of being sought after, collected and sometimes, even being

part of a traveling Americana museum collection. What do

you seek out, cherish and collect?

When I was young, there were dolls with the name of Betsy

and Cathy. Did you ever have a “Betsy Wetsy” or a doll

named, “Chatty Cathy?” I always enjoyed the magazine

called, “McCall’s.” Inside this women’s magazine, my Mom

after reading it cover to cover, would allow me to cut

out and paste onto cardboard, a paper doll named Betsy


The popular paper doll named “Betsy” soon had her mother,

father, cousin, friends and pets added to cut out. The

fashions on these dolls was always of interest to me,


Can you believe I had an album of over 60 magazine

issues’ worth of Betsy McCall, carefully cut out and

pasted onto cardboard and put between sheets of plastic


I tried to sell it, hoping to make some money on the

album. Alas, no one wanted to purchase this. I gave it

to an antique shop, where the man had been so helpful,

showing me current values of items using the internet,

Craigs’ List and e-Bay.

This shopkeeper, Henry, is the husband of one of the

‘cafeteria ladies’ where my kids attended school. Due

to heart and health problems, Henry lost his career of

being a race car mechanic.

Henry was always honest and sympathetic to my concerns

of giving up things. He sometimes purchased items, close

to “auction” or “market values.”

He was such a sweetie, not getting upset, as I carted

boxes into his shop. I ended up giving him quite a few

items, including NASA ash trays and a book of matchbook

covers. He had found a ‘lucrative’ buyer, splitting

costs with me, as he would send them off via UPS, then

receiving payments through the mail.

I kept only one album of matchbook covers of Ohio places

that I had actually been to. Apparently, it is quite rare

to find matches sold in their little folded-cardboard

state or the staple taken carefully out of the cardboard

packet and kept in albums. I did not keep any matchboxes.

These used to be, in my basement, in a large fish bowl on

the bar. We had a “Max and Erma” or “TGI Friday’s”


Henry had paid for a lot for the few dolls I had, a

couple of my Mom’s gifts of dolls to my daughters.

He also had given me good advice on what to save in

my tight “new” space in my one bedroom apartment.

I think about stopping in to re-buy the different

items that may still remain on his shelves, since I

have more money these days, after 8 long years of

pulling myself out of debt.

Long and boring story, you may have heard this before.

My ex-husband had stopped paying bills and debt incurred.

(Three years of his unemployment just didn’t keep the

bills paid, while I worked as a teacher and server at

Cracker Barrel.)

But, what would I do with my reclaimed items? Do I

really need more clutter to collect dust with? I am

happy with my choices, overall.

I still have the Little Women, Madame Alexander dolls,

two Ginny dolls, a Tammy doll, an Alan and Skipper doll,

plus her adorable little sister doll, Tutti.

I have no regrets!

Collectibles in my birds’ collection were few and far

between. I ended up saving less than ten of them. The

ones who were given to me over all the years, robins,

cardinals, blue jays and roosters were sold for $1-$3

at my huge “Moving Out of the House Sale.”

I am surprised and proud that I have a Lenox robin and

a Hummel/Goebel robin, too. Instead of big cabinets

with much too many odds and ends tucked inside, I have a

little black, wooden-edged box, about 2′ by 2′ in size,

with four glass walls, a mirror on the bottom set on top

of a dresser.

This holds the littlest and sweetest items from my ‘olden’

days of antiquing with my parents and brothers.

When I saw an old article tucked into a book about Betsy

McCall, it made me nostalgic for that album. I wanted to

at least give it “tribute” in a post. It is interesting

to find out that the first Betsy McCall paper doll was

illustrated on a page of the magazine in May, 1951. The

first doll was designed by Ideal Toy Co. in 1952. She

was a 14″ doll with a vinyl head and what is called, a

“saran” wig. The doll was marked, “McCall Corp.” on her

head and on the back, labeled “Ideal Doll P 90.”

In an auction, the Ideal Betsy McCall doll with her

little tag still attached to her wrist, sold for $210.

Later, in 1958 (I would have been 3 years old by then),

an 8″ Betsy McCall doll was made by a company called,

American Character. Several other Betsy McCall dolls

have been made since the 50’s and even into the 90’s.

My friend, Bill, collects rare finds of guitars and

other musical instruments. He is no longer a band

member, but still plays a variety of musical styles,

which includes flamenco Spanish songs, old style

country music, and rock and roll.

My brother, Rich, collected miniatures of porcelain

dogs and a horse. He still has them in the same Ethan

Allen shelving cabinet, from childhood. This also has

a fold down desk, in his bedroom with his wife. He

never became a veterinarian. (He’s a professor of

education, addressing special needs, with Master’s

degree students.)

My other brother, who aspired to be a pharmacist,

collected mortar and pestles. His are probably long

gone. (He has accomplished a lot with his career of

murals, sculptures and other art pieces.)

What dreams did you have when you were young that

caused you to save or collect particular items?

Did you put together and paint model airplanes and

suspend them on threads from the ceiling of your


Nostalgia comes in many forms,

all such wonderful memories…

Memories of Toys and Wishes


What was your favorite toy or game you played while a child?
Sometimes this is very simple and one that lasts for a long time, too.
What did you wish for “on a star,” throwing a penny into a fountain or
a hurried, anxious whisper to Santa Claus.

My favorite toys were:
While a toddler, blocks and stuffed animals. I have a black and white
photograph of myself dialing a “real” black telephone.

While a child, baby dolls came next. I loved the baby buggy that I
would push down the sidewalk. I loved my “real” babies, my baby
brothers. One born 18 months after my birth and the other one, born
two years later. I loved to dress my youngest one up in baby booties,
a little outfit and a hat upon his head, tied under his chubby chin.

While a little older, Barbie, Tammy doll, Ken, Skipper and Alan came
along. To play “acting out like a teenager” with beautiful dresses,
mostly hand-sewn by my Grandma Oldrieve or my Mom. Later still, I had
a Tutti, who was Skipper’s little sister, I still have a few matching
outfits those two wore together. I always wished I had a SISTER!

Even older still, I loved to play with my Mom’s jewelry, fancy clothes
that she would ‘pass down’ for my friends and I to play “dress up” in.
I enjoyed wearing her high heels and clicking around in the house in
our uncarpeted hallway and on the sidewalk– to the detriment of the
dressy shoes!

I enjoyed the Madame Alexander collectable dolls from foreign countries,
dreaming of places far and wide. I had Spain, France, England and also,
Germany. (The 6″ sized ones, one each birthday or Christmas so I would
take care of them! I just gave a “Mary Poppins” doll to my friend, Felda’s
daughter, Kridia Dawn out of my collection. I now pass them on, not
worrying about their ‘value’ except in the smiles I receive when given!

My favorite gift of all time was the kitchen and grocery store that my
Dad set up for my brothers and me to play with in the basement. I had
a sink, a refrigerator, a stove and a pantry full of shelves. The kitchen
set was a combined birthday and Christmas present before I reached second
grade. I remember it so well, little plastic dishes, pots, pans and a
“real” rubber silverware holder, with plastic utensils. There was even a
new “potholder” and new kitchen towel with a rooster on it.

In the grocery store, we had a fishing tackle box, we used as the “cash
register.” We had a small pad of paper, a little chalk board that we
would write the “special sales” on and play money. My Dad threw in a
big glass jar of pennies to use, too.
On all the multiple shelves in our grocery store, Mom had saved boxes
of Jello, Rice Krispies, Wheaties, Quaker Oats cardboard circular boxes
and plastic tubs for putting things in. Mom or Dad had absconded with
a huge pile of paper sacks, too!
There was a large tin can with the words Conn’s potato chips on it. We used
this for our stool behind the “cash register.”

Many, many innumerable hours passed with my brothers, neighbors, my cousins
and I spent “playing house,” “playing school,” and “playing grocery store.”

I ran into a couple of news items about toys, just to add to this memory

1. “Matchbox cars” came about due to a teacher in Anne Odell’s classroom
making a rule up in 1952, that nothing could be ‘played with’ or brought
to school: “Unless they were no bigger than a match box.”
Her father was an engineer and made her a tiny die-cast steamroller. Got
the patent and thus, the creation and invention of the Matchbox cars and
vehicles! What ingenuity! Glad to hear a little girl was the impetus, too!

2. Play-doh was someone’s invention that some parents would “rue the day”
that stuff entered their houses! I think the inventor must have been a
child who loved playing in the mud or with their glue. Actually, it is an
interesting OHIO story! The inventors, Joe McVicker and Bill Rhodenbaugh,
used this compound as a 1930’s wallpaper cleaner. Some parent who worked
with it, let their child play with it making it a modeling compound. In
the 1950’s, the “recipe” was reworked to make it safe for children, it
was then marketed to Cincinnati Schools. I used to love this as a way to
calm children after they played outside, using all kinds of cookie cutters
and letting them use cups to mix the colors, etc. When I was a special
education preschool teacher, the Occupational Therapist and OT Assistant,
would use this again, as a way to calm a child or get some hands actively
working making “snakes” and other things. It would be something that
children with Autism and on the ‘spectrum’ would resist, due to the ‘feel’
of it.

3. Gumby was originally the supple, green and friendly face going to be
used for an animated jazz video! Imagine that! Art Clokey was picturing
him as such, but once presented to studio heads, the ones in charge of
the whole operation, saw this creation as they knew kids would love him.
Art Clokey made these clay humanoids into a popular toy, also the clay
animation for “David and Goliath.”

Check out more of the origins of toys and fun facts in the book, “Toy
Time!” by Christopher Bymes!