Black Friday ads, TV commercials and store displays bring back childhood memories to me. Among the best are those of toys I prized and cherished years ago. I would like to ask you. “What toy from your youth would you like to have today?”
My answer is simple… Mr. Machine. I was 6 years old in 1960 and more than anything I wanted a Mr. Machine. I begged and pleaded for a Mr. Machine. He was a constant feature on TV commercials that year. It was the Elmo of the day.
On Christmas Eve 1960, my family gathered at my grandmother’s house and the attached family cafe in the early evening after church as we did every year. My dad closed Jokie’s Cafe when we arrived to spend the evening and Christmas Day with his family. My brother, sister and I ran throughout my grandmother’s house and the bar as we prepared to leave.
To my surprise as I dashed behind the bar, there in the dark corner at the end of the bar and under the grill sat a Mr. Machine. I yelled to my my mother and dad, “Look, there’s a Mr. Machine!” My dad respond with “Oh, someone left it here for their son and he was going to pick it up.” My parents told us to return to my grandmother’s living room and wait for them to close the bar.
Since I still believed in Santa, I was perplexed. Sitting in my grandmother’s living room, I became more aware something was afoot. I asked many questions. When was this person picking up the toy? The bar weas closed. How would the boy get the gift on Christmas Day?
Hearing some noise, I peaked out her window only to see my parents loading bags and boxes into our car’s trunk on the street. Among the boxes, was my Mr. Machine! There was the proof. There was no Santa Claus and that was my Mr. Machine. Confusion and delight filled me as we left my grandmother that Christmas Eve.
I kept the secret that night and on Christmas morning, there was Mr. Machine under the tree. I then told my mother that I had seen everything last night and knew they had bought me the toy. I asked my mother if it was true that there was no Santa Claus. She confirmed it and swore me to secrecy so that I would not spoil it for my younger sister.
Mr. Machine was short-lived at out house. I promptly took him apart as the TV commercials showed. Of course he did not fly back together as the commercials demonstrated. I was never able to reassemble him. Carl and Clark, my older neighborhood pals, also tried to reassemble him with no success. I was devastated.
Mr. Machine stayed in a box in our attic for years. I don’t know how or when he disappeared. I truly miss him. Interesting thing is that he has been resurrected and is available online at many toy sites.
Do you have such a toy and story in you memories. Please feel free to share it.