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Play’s the Thing

And what else is a boy’s room for, if not play? Especially on days when it’s raining.
The playground was between my brother’s bed and mine.
We had toys that were brand new, like plastic cowboys and Indians and cavalrymen and horses and forts and teepees.  However, what we really enjoyed playing with were my father’s old toys.
We had fleets of metal ships that would convoy across the floor: flattops, tankers, destroyers, cruisers, submarines and battleships; and painted metal soldiers in camouflage, pointing rifles or machine guns, arrayed along side hard rubber howitzers and wind up tanks.
One of our favorites was a tiny spring-loaded howitzer.  It fit easily in the palm of your hand.  The spring was pulled back and locked in a notch and a wooden match loaded into the muzzle.  When the spring was sprung, it had quite a kick, launching the projectile half way across the room.  Half way that is, if it did not connect with the target we were aiming for – almost always one of the plastic toys (the metal ones didn’t fall over if impacted).
Our absolute favorites were the Buck Rogers spaceships from TootsieToy, also metal.  We would mount strings between our headboards, for each ship had an internal wheel arrangement that allowed them to zip along the line. One was styled a Battlecruiser; the other a Flash Blast Attack Ship.
These and a boy’s imagination went a long way.
BR attack ship

About rwoz2

Poet, historian, writer for stage and screen. Responder to Jesus (Romans 5:8)

2 responses to “Play’s the Thing

  1. Casey ⋅

    Did the match light as it was launched from the Howitzer? What a great old dangerous toy 🙂

    • rwoz2

      The thought did occur to my brother and me. I guess we weren’t inventive enough to pull it off. That and the memory of burning my fingernails with a book of matches when I was three or four.

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