Christmas Past

Note: The main picture this week is of a Christmas display on Brownsway Lane in Cincinnati that has existed for years and years. It appears to now have moved a few houses down, I know there had been traffic concerns, and am not sure who has taken it over after Mr. Zapf passed away about a decade ago. We lived just a couple of miles from this location, and would drive by it every year.

With Christmas coming up next week, thought it’d be interesting to dig deep and try to remember my favorite Christmas presents received as a child. I suspect you’ll pick up on a pattern that involves ‘things with wheels’, so I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a gear-head. I wanted to truly go back to early childhood, pre-video games. However, I have to give some extra credit to the video game age. Here we go:

#5: Nintendo Entertainment System

I’m guessing this came my way in 1987 or so. We’d previously had an Atari 2600, as well as a Coleco computer called the ‘ADAM’, that played ColecoVision games. The NES changed everything, and gave us years of 8-bit fun! The original Nintendo that we had, is now 32 years old, and still enjoys life at Dad’s house, where he occasionally plays Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, or Baseball while waiting for his laundry to be done.

#4: Buddy L Trucks – Nasa Truck With Space Shuttle Columbia

Believe I received this in 1981, maybe 1982. Somewhere in the house, I still have the Columbia, but the truck is long gone. One distinctive memory I have of this, is I received this the year that ‘Santa’ decided to leave all the gifts unwrapped in the living room. I walked into a room with what seemed like lot’s of stuff, and remember this catching my eye first.

#3: Dukes of Hazzard Toys

So this really crosses multiple toys, these were my favorites. Sadly, I don’t have these anymore. Ertl made the full line of small diecast cars, and I was gifted a play set that contains the main cars from the series, as well as a play mat with buildings from the town. Hours of fun! Mego made all the action figures, and also a plastic General Lee with a roof hatch that you could put the figures in. In larger scale, Coleco made a ‘Power Cycle’ version of the General Lee. I even have a picture below of me with that the next summer!

#2: Toy Kroger Trucks

Growing up in Cincinnati, Kroger was a large part of life. My Dad worked there for almost 40 years, along with several other family members. My love for Kroger has remained, as I have now been with them for almost 23 years. Dad worked at the warehouse in Cincinnati, and I spent a lot of time around their trucks. I had two larger scale ones that I loved, one from Ertl that was metal, and then a plastic one that I am not sure who produced. I recently acquired another Ertl one on Ebay and have it in my office. The plastic one, I can’t find any images of online, but do have one of me playing with it on the kitchen floor.

#1: U-Drive-It

I can’t remember the year I got this, but I sat at this thing for hours if not days. The concept was pretty simple really, it ran on two D batteries, and when you pressed the gas pedal, a lever spun in a circular motion to show your car driving in the road. As you would turn the wheel, the lever would extend or compress, changing the radius of your circle, thereby switching roads on the board. This thing was amazing, and I am so happy I found a picture of me using it.