Childhood Toys

A fact about autism: As many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy (seizure disorder)

I guess as a teacher, I’ve had more experience of autism than most. I’ve taught numerous children over the years who are on the autistic spectrum. All of them very different. From the incredibly challenging year three boy, who pushed me and threatened to stab me in the eye with pencils, but still turned up in the staff room eight years later to visit and tell me all about how he hadn’t come last in a race, to the incredibly sweet year eight boy who I taught maths intervention to, where my biggest success wasn’t anything to do with numbers, but the fact that after three months he could look me in the eye and say hello when he came to lessons. One thing I can say for sure is that they were all incredibly memorable in their own way and I can’t say that for every child I’ve taught over the years.

Please consider supporting a worthwhile charity such as Lindengate https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/lindengate which is a mental health charity which works with autistic children.

Link to the Masterpost: http://rjscott.co.uk/autism19

Hmm… I thought when I found out about writing this blog post. What’s this got to do with writing MM romance? How can I possibly find a link? Then I had a strange memory come back to me. As a child I had an inseparable best friend whose house I virtually lived at because her parents were much less strict than mine. I used to take my toys around to her house where we created some very strange games. Don’t let the balloon touch the floor, throw as many cuddly toys at each other as you can until you collapse from exhaustion, and silent pass messages to each other under the door immediately come to mind (we actually used to do that for hours.) I guess I was a weird child, and she was too – lol. I used to take my Sindy dolls around to her house. She had Barbie. I’d also inherited an action man from my older sister who’d somehow gotten it from a male friend of hers. My friend had also gotten an action man from somewhere. One with blue painted on underpants and eyes that moved with a little switch at the back of his head.

Blue pants Action Man.

Mine wasn’t quite so exotic. Anyway, we did what most kids do, we created a little fantasy world with lots of scenarios and played them out. What was the memory I recalled? The fact that for all the scenarios where Sindy (or Barbie) was dating Action man, we had an equal number of scenarios where Action man and Action man got a bit of man on man action. Funny, that I’d never remembered that before. So, I guess even then, my path was set to one day writing mm romance.

As part of this blog post, I decided to recall what my most memorable childhood toys were. So here goes. In no particular order.

1. Treehouse

God, I loved this toy. It had everything: characters, furniture, a dog, a lift that you could turn the handle to transport a character up and down the tree, a car, and it even pressed down and had a handle so you could store it away and nothing could fall out. The dog even had its own little detachable dog tree kennel. I also had the slightly less memorable park to go with it. Although the park did come with a bear, which I seem to remember liking a bit more than the dog.

2. My little ponies

I started with the blue one (Bluebell). Is it sad that I can remember his name? And from there I ended up with about eight of them. Six adults and two babies. Yes, there were baby my little ponies. The rainbow one was my favourite, although I do think it was usurped briefly by the one that came with freaking fairy wings, which I unfortunately couldn’t find a picture of. And were there scented ones? Or is that some sort of cheese dream I had?

Look! Pretty rainbow unicorn.

3. The 48k Spectrum

Minus all the obligatory wires and the huge eighties tape recorder it needed.

Every Sunday, my mum used to visit her friend for a couple of hours. My sister and I couldn’t wait because that’s when we were allowed to go through the painstakingly long process of setting up the Spectrum and actually trying to get a game to load from the tape recorder that you had to plug in just to play a very simplified (although it didn’t feel like that at the time) game. Most of the games were so difficult that you spent all your time just playing the same level over and over again in the vague hope that you might be able to advance. Although kudos to my sister, she achieved the unachievable in getting through every level of Manic Miner. And if the games weren’t enough, the manual used to come with pages and pages of coding that you could spend hours typing in, just to make the screen flash different colours. Except of course that most of the time you would have made some sort of mistake and it wouldn’t actually work. I actually found a Spectrum emulator on the internet a while back and played some of the games that I used to play. I can report that I still couldn’t get anywhere in The Hobbit. Only four things happen in that game.

1) You can’t go that way (then why give me the bloody option.)
2) You find yourself back in… (basically the place that you left a few minutes ago and will probably see about another twelve times.)
3) I do not understand that command.
4) You are attacked and eaten by trolls. Do you want to start again? Yes. Yes, I do because apparently it’s fun just going round and round without getting anywhere.

Oh, get stuffed! I just went to look for a picture of the game and instead I found this.

7 minutes! 7 bloody minutes. Some people are such show-offs.

There are lots of other childhood toys I loved but I can’t mention them all. Special mention though to Pound puppies and Pound Purries, and my track-suited Cabbage Patch doll.

My angsty book Edge of Living is currently on sale at the moment for .99

 mybook.to/EdgeofLiving

I actually gave one of my characters in this book a little slice of my own childhood memories with their fond remembrance of the pop-up book Haunted house. We used to get shown this book at the library by the librarian but we weren’t allowed to touch it. It became like the holy grail. So much so, that I ended up buying a copy as an adult just so I was allowed to touch it.

Here is the blurb for the book in case you want to check it out. Please be aware that it does have trigger warnings.

Sometimes, death can feel like the only escape.

It’s been a year since Alex stopped living. He exists. He breathes. He pretends to be like everyone else. But, he doesn’t live. Burdened by memories, he dreams of the day when he can finally be free. Until that time comes, he keeps everybody at bay. It’s been easy so far. But he never factored in, meeting a man like Austin.

Hard-working mechanic Austin has always gone for men as muscular as himself. So, it’s a mystery why he’s so bewitched by the slim, quiet man with the soulful brown eyes who works in the library. The magnetic attraction is one thing, but the protective instincts are harder to fathom. Austin’s sure though, that if he can only earn Alex’s trust then the two of them could be perfect together.

A tentative relationship begins. But Alex’s secrets run deep. Far deeper than Austin could ever envisage. Time is ticking. Events are coming to a head, and love is never a magic cure. Oblivious to the extent of Alex’s pain, can Austin discover the truth? Or is he destined to be left alone, only able to piece together the fragments of his boyfriend’s history, once its already too late? 

Trigger warning: Please be aware that this story deals with suicidal ideation and other dark themes. If this is a subject you find uncomfortable, then this book is not recommended.
Despite this, there is a guaranteed HEA.

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GIVEAWAY I would love to give away an ebook copy of the book of your choice from my backlist. To enter, simply write a comment on this post. You could tell me about some of your own fond memories of childhood toys or comment on one I’ve mentioned. Please also include your e-mail address so that I know how to contact you if you are the winner. E-mail addresses will not be used for anything else apart from contacting the winner.

7 thoughts on “Childhood Toys”

  1. I had a lot of favorite toys growing up. While books aren’t toys they were definitely one of my favorite things. I would go to the library and borrow the limit (I can’t remember for sure but I think it was at least 10 books) and then read them as fast as I could so I could go get more. I’d always take a bunch of books on vacation and this would make my mother mad because I’d be reading while in the car instead of looking at the scenery. 🙂
    buttonsmom2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. The one I wish I had now was the Magical Musical Thing, shaped vaguely like a keytar (’80s, you know!) but with plastic touchpad notes. They sounded vaguely like a cross between an electric guitar and a synth, and someone who could read music (I couldn’t yet) probably could play real songs on it. The keys were super-sensitive, though, and once the family was awakened by something pressing on it in the middle of the night, and the droning note had my mom fearing it was a fire alarm. The batteries were a pain to replace, too, so out it eventually went. I guess I could see if they still exist on eBay or something, but my house is so full of books etc. that I should resist the urge.

  3. Thank you for sharing this fact, it’s a little scary to find that out. As a kid I didn’t have any toys of my own and spent a lot of time at the library.

  4. My favourite toys have always been teddy bears, I had all kinds and sizes, I loved looking after them. I’ve donated them all but for my favourite one….

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