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Academy at Rensselaer Education Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsAcademy of the Holy Names: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements & Kids Express Mplwood: Delayed 2 Hrs, no before careAchievements St Kateri Tekakwitha: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements and Kids Express TBGC: Delayed 2 HrsAdirondack Enrichment: Delayed Until 12:30pAesthetic Science Institute: Delayed 2 Hrs, Classes begin at 11 amAlbany Leadership Charter High: Delayed 2 HrsAmbleside School: ClosedAmsterdam City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastAmsterdam Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAn Nur Islamic School: Delayed 2 HrsAndes CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArgyle CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArkville Head Start: ClosedAugustine Classical Academy: ClosedAustin's School of Spa Technology: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAverill Park CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESAverill Park Pre School: Delayed 3 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, No AM PgmBallston Spa CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBattenkill Community Services: Closed, Hockey game still on, will call with timesBennington County Meals: Open, Home delivery delayed Cafe openBerkshire Country Day School: Delayed 2 HrsBerlin CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Closed, Offices are closed.Best Fitness (Schenectady): Delayed, No Morning Classes, Club Open No morning classes classes resume 430pBethlehem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBethlehem Children's School: Delayed 2 HrsBishop Maginn HS: Delayed 2 HrsBluebirds' Nest Preschool: ClosedBroadalbin-Perth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No PTECH, AgTECH, TEC-SMARTBrown School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Morning PLUS ProgramBrunswick (Brittonkill) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBrunswick Children's Academy: Delayed 2 HrsBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, 2-hour delay (final)Butterfly Dreams Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9:30 amCOARC Adult Transportation: Delayed 2 HrsCairo-Durham CSD: ClosedCalvary Preschool: ClosedCanajoharie CSD: Closed, No PM ActivitiesCapital Reg Career & Tech (Albany): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCatholic Central HS: Delayed 2 HrsCatholic Schools Office: Delayed 2 Hrs, Principals Meeting at 10:30Catskill CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KCatskill Mt. Christian Academy: ClosedCenter For Early Learning: ClosedChatham CSD: Delayed 2 HrsChatham Kids Club: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 8:30Childhood Friends Inc.: Delayed, We will open at 9:00am for All children today!Christ Our Light Catholic Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, Office opening & Adoration delayed 2 hrs. Morning services cancelledChrist the King Early Childhood Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, All programs open @ 9:30 AMChristian Brothers Academy: ClosedCircle Of Friends (Delmar): Delayed 2 Hrs, Wrap around delayed 2 hoursCircle of Friends (Ravena): Delayed 2 Hrs, 2.5 hour class is closed 5 hour classes delayedClifton Park Nursery School: Delayed 1 HrCobleskill Campus Child Care Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9AMCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Closed, Offices Open at 9 a.m.Cohoes City SD: Delayed 2 HrsColonie Youth Centers: Open, No BSPColumbia Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsCommunity Library Cobleskill, NY: ClosedCooperstown CSD: Closed, No AM BOCES, School is now CLOSED.Corinth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastCoxsackie-Athens CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastCrossFit Schenectady: Delayed, No Morning ClassesCrossroads Center for Children: Delayed 2 Hrs, Day Care open @ 9:00Crown Point CSD: Delayed 2 HrsDay Nursery (S Glens Falls): Delayed Until 12:35pDelaware Academy CSD at Delhi: Delayed 2 HrsDoane Stuart School: Delayed 2 HrsDolgeville CSD: Closed, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastDoors of Hope: Delayed 1 HrDuanesburg CSD: ClosedEarly Childhood Learning Ctr: ClosedEarly Childhood Education Center: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Ctr-Troy: Delayed 2 HrsEast Greenbush CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEco Baby Daycare & Preschool: Delayed 2 HrsEdinburg Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsExecutive Woods Childcare: Delayed 2 HrsFaith Bible Academy: Delayed 2 HrsFirst Friends Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, Enrichment program begins at 1130amFonda-Fultonville CSD: ClosedFoothills United Methodist Church: Closed, Building, Vision and Mission meeting cancelled for Wednesday 1/18Fort Plain CSD: Closed, Elem recognition breakfast moved to ThursdayFranklin County Technical SD: Delayed 2 HrsFulmont St Johnsville Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportFulton County Office for Aging: Open, No Transportation, No Social Adult Day Care No Home Delivered Meals Meal Sites ClosedFulton-Montgomery CC: Delayed 2 Hrs, Campus will open at 10 am.Gabriel Abbott Memorial School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No morning daycareGalway CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGeorge Washington School: Delayed 2 HrsGermantown CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGilboa-Conesville CSD: ClosedGlens Falls City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESGlens Falls Common SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGlens Falls Head Start Center: Delayed 2 HrsGloversville City SD: Delayed 2 HrsGood Ground Christian School: ClosedGrapeville Christian School: ClosedGreen Island UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGreen Tech High Charter School: Delayed 2 HrsGreenberg Child Care Center: Delayed Until 9:30aGreenbush Child Caring: Open, No AM ProgramGreene County Nutrition Program: Closed, Athens, Catskill, Coxsackie Congregates & Homebound ClosedGreene County YMCA: Open, No Morning ClassesGreenfield Public Schools: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KGreenville CSD: ClosedGreenwich CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESGuilderland CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESHFM BOCES Adult Literacy: Delayed, ALZ opens @ 10am GLZ opens @ 10amHFM Career & Tech Center: Delayed 2 HrsHadley-Luzerne CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastHansel & Gretel Nursery School: ClosedHappy Kids Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsHawthorne Valley School: Delayed 2 HrsHebrew Academy - Capital District: Delayed 2 HrsHelderberg Christian School: ClosedHelping Hands Pre-School: Delayed, No Morning ClassesHoly Spirit School (East G'Bush): Delayed 2 HrsHometown Health Center: Delayed 2 HrsHoosick Falls CSD: Delayed 2 HrsHope 7 Community Center: Open, 9am-6pm, Reg. After School Food Pantry Open9:30a-11:45Hudson City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No tutoring centerHunter-Tannersville CSD: ClosedIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsImmaculate Conception (Glenville): Open, 9:00 am mass cancelledIndian Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No BreakfastInlet Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsJefferson CSD: ClosedJohnstown City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESJubilee Child Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsKid Kampus: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 8:30AMKidsFirst Childcare Center: Delayed 2 HrsKim's Kids Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastKingsbury Seventh-day Adventist Sch: Delayed 2 HrsKingston City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Kingston SD is on a 2 hr delay no AM BOCESLa Salle Institute (Troy): Delayed 2 HrsLakeside Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolLansingburgh CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Breakfast, Lansingburgh CSD is operating on a 2 hour delayLatham Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KLearning To Know Educational Center: Delayed 1-1/2 HrsLexington Center Fulton Co ARC: Open, No TransportationLiberty Ent/ Montgomery Co. ARC: Delayed 2 HrsLife Kids Before/ After School: Open, No AM ProgramLifeSong Inc (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLit'l Steps Pre-School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Tot Nursery School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastLoudonville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: ClosedMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMillbrook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMontessori School (Schenectady): Delayed, No AM Program, opens at noon, School will open at noon for PM programming.Montgomery County Office for Aging: Delayed 2 Hrs, Advisory Council cancelledMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. Greenbush Little Red School: Delayed 2 HrsNew Lebanon CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNew Paltz CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Malta: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Queensbury: Delayed 2 HrsNiskayuna CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorthville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastNotre Dame-Bishop Gibbons: Delayed 2 HrsO.K. Kids, Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsOak Hill School: Delayed 2 HrsOhav Shalom Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, No am care for Ohav Shalom school starts at 930 staff report 900 amOnteora CSD: Closed, No AM BOCESOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: ClosedOur Lady Queen of Peace (Rotterdam): Open, Faith Formation classes cancelled dut to closing of Schalmont SchoolsOur Lady of Victory Early Childhood: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KOur Savior's Lutheran School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-SchoolOur World Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 10:45 a.m.Owen D. Young CSD: Closed, No AM BOCESPark Avenue Nursery School: ClosedParsons Early Head Start Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMParsons Early Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMPerth Bible Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsPine Plains CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPineview Comm Church Pre-School: Delayed 1 Hr, open at 8:30Princetown Evangelical Presbyterian: Closed, Potluck & Prayer cancelled RockLife cancelledProspect Center: Delayed 2 HrsPumpkin Patch (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsQueensbury UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESQuestar III BOCES - Sarah's Sisters: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Catskill Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Columbia-Green Ed Ctr: Delayed, No AM BOCES, 2 HR DelayQuestar III Rensselaer Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Rensselaer Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, Q3 New Vision is closedQuestar III Sackett Educational Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsRavena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESRed Hook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRensselaer City SD: Delayed 2 HrsRhinebeck CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRiverRun Community Montessori: ClosedRoots and Wings Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, No before care. Open 9:30Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Closed, No AM Pre-KSacred Heart School (Troy): Delayed 2 Hrs, TSL will open at 9:00amSalem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga County Senior Meals: ClosedSaratoga Independent School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No Before CareSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Closed, Level 1 ClosureSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: ClosedSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie County Com. Action Prg.: ClosedSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: ClosedShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESShooting Stars Nursery & After Sch.: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Will open at 9amSkidmore Early Childhood Center: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Kortright CSD: Open, No PM ActivitiesSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Anne Institute: Delayed 1-1/2 Hrs, Staff Report, No Trans, No school for day service StudentsSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt Edward's Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Mass and morning activitiesSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Kateri Tekakwitha School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No BreakfastSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Church (Crescent): Delayed, No morning MassSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Paul's Childhood Center: Open, No AM Pre-K, Part-day room closed only. Extended-day rooms open.St Pius X School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Stephen's Pre-K Acad (Delmar): Closed, No preschool today. After school enrichments are on until further notice.St Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsStory Place Preschool: Delayed, Open at 10, before care closedStorybook Academy: ClosedSullivan BOCES: Closed, Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMSusan Odell Taylor School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No coffee hourTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Open, No early drop off School starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsThe Hyde Collection: Delayed 2 HrsThe Kid's Place Preschool: Delayed 1 HrThe King's School: ClosedTiny Tots Early Learning Center: Closed, No AM Pre-School, No AM Preschool PM TBDTri-Village Nursery School: ClosedTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrUpstate Transit: Delayed 2 HrsVictory Christian Academy: ClosedVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 Hrs, No 2 day PreKWarren Street Academy - The Bridge: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWashington County Nutrition Program: Closed, No Senior Meal Sites ; No Home Delivered MealsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: ClosedWheelerville UFSD: ClosedWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): ClosedWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): ClosedWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWilton Baptist Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: ClosedWonderland Nursery School: ClosedWoodland Hill Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, Delayed 2 hours . No early care. No toddler AM session, delayed 2 hours. No early care. No toddler AM sessionWorcester CSD: ClosedWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (Bethlehem): Open, No Morning ClassesYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Guilderland): Open, No AM Pre-School, No Morning Classes, No AM branch childcareYMCA (Schenectady): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9amYMCA Southern Saratoga: Open, No Morning ClassesYWCA of Schenectady Children's Ctrs: Delayed, YWCA child care @SCCC delay Until 8am. WA site delayed Until 9amYWCA of the Greater Capital Region: Delayed 2 Hrs

From dolls to toy guns and firetrucks, Gazette staff recalls favorite toys


From dolls to toy guns and firetrucks, Gazette staff recalls favorite toys

A few weeks back, somebody at the office mentioned Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, or something like that,

A few weeks back, somebody at the office mentioned Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, or something like that, and it got us all reminiscing about toys from childhood.

It was a brief but wonderful trip down Memory Lane. We thought it would be fun to share our recollections of a special present from Christmases long ago. Hopefully our stories will spark pleasant memories in you.

Giant with the golden locks

I found Debbie in the attic.

She was naked, her hair was dingy and matted.

I had forgotten all about her.

When a Gazette editor asked us to write stories about a favorite Christmas present from our childhood, Debbie came downstairs.

As I remember, she came into my life in December 1960, when Santa still lived at the North Pole and not at the mall.

I was 5 years old and in a letter that my mom helped me to write, I asked St. Nick for “a big doll.”

As Christmas drew near, Dad went up to the attic and brought down our tree.

Artificial trees were all the rage, and this one was as unnatural as could be. The branches were white and poked out at odd angles, like the bristles of a worn-out toothbrush. The ornaments were permanently attached.

Every December, the tree was sprayed with fake snow, which gave it a crusty coating, much like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

That Christmas Eve, under the terrible tannenbaum, Debbie appeared in a big box.

She was “a walking doll,” and she was a giant, more than 2 feet tall. If you held her by the arms and scooted her feet along the floor, her legs, jointed at the hip, would do a Frankenstein-like walk.

But it was Debbie’s golden locks that I really admired.

Like many girls of that era, my wavy hair was cut short, in a Pixie style. There wasn’t much to comb or primp on my head, but Debbie’s tresses were long and silky.

My other dolly, Betsy Wetsy, could pee in her diaper, but she had no hair to comb.

Debbie is a new little woman since I rescued her from the land of dust and cardboard.

I washed her hair with Woolite and slathered it with conditioner. I found some baby clothes for her at the City Mission thrift store in Glenville.

Then Debbie got a ride to The Gazette so we could take her picture.

Debbie is no longer my darling dolly, but I won’t mistreat her anymore. Besides, she really looks too nice to go back up to the attic.

— Karen Bjornland, reporter

Little drummer boy

I don’t know what prompted my parents to give me a toy drum set one Christmas many years ago, when I was around 4 or 5 years old. They were both music lovers, so perhaps drums were the only thing they thought I could manage.

So there the drums were, under the tree on Christmas morning. It was a little toy set, with a bass drum and two smaller drums about the size of a small skillet.

The cheap heads on the drums were made of some kind of fabric, or maybe even a heavy paper (there was a war on, you know).

In those days before television, there were lots of radio broadcasts featuring the big bands, and my father used to tune in to the programs that featured drummer Gene Krupa’s band, which he encouraged me to listen to.

Anyway, I spent that Christmas banging away, not knowing that I would wind up in later years getting a real set of drums and actually getting to play with some of the musicians I grew to admire as a jazz record collector, such as Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson and Buddy Tate.

And I even got to meet Gene Krupa.

— Tim Coakley, copy editor

Dawn of fashion

My favorite Christmas toy was not a clothespin, contrary to my niece Jenny’s recollection of the events from our childhood.

Jenny and I, born just 13 months apart, are more like sisters than aunt and niece. She is the daughter of my second oldest sister (there were nine of us). They lived within walking distance prior to and after my sister’s divorce, and Jenny and I were together nearly every day.

Naturally, when given the assignment to write about my favorite toy I had to tell her about it.

“Clothespins. Remember? We used to pretend they were chicken wings,” Jenny exclaimed, getting some odd looks from the people at the next table. “Oh, and the swing set. We played that game about going back in time.”

After some talk about my Barbie house and the really cool Barbie camper she got one Christmas, we came to a consensus . . . Dawn and the Dawn Fashion Show.

Dawn and her friends were smaller versions of Barbie (61⁄2 inches tall). They had real eyelashes, some had flexible knees that made a popping sound when you bent them, and they were easy for little hands to dress and accessorize.

The ultimate fashionista, Dawn was on-trend from head to toe. Her wardrobe included groovy mini dresses, bell-bottoms and elaborate gowns. She even had holes in the bottom of her shoes that matched the holes in the bottom of her feet, which enabled her to stand securely on the Dawn Fashion Show runway.

With a turn of a lever (no batteries needed) she would glide onto the runway from backstage. You could spin her to show all angles of her costume, then circle her backstage for a quick change.

In the meantime, one of us would be dressing Dawn’s friends, Dale or Angie, for their turn on the runway. At least that’s what Jenny and I remember.

We also both remember sifting through my grandmother’s sewing kit for straight pins with tiny colorful balls on top. Our moms said we were too young to get our ears pierced, so Dawn and her friends became our surrogates. We learned quickly that the pin would come out the other side of Dawn’s head leaving a sharp point that could rip little outfits or poke our little fingers. Undaunted, we bent the pins and angled the point downward, safely inside Dawn’s head.

We had crayons, coloring books and Play-Doh, but styling the hair on our little dolls was a real test of our fine motor skills. We gave our dolls ponytails, braids and up-dos, secured with thick rubber bands. bobby pins and barrettes protruded from the hair on their little heads.

Eventually we got hold of some scissors and there was a hair cutting incident. Yeah, we cut the dolls’ hair too, and were very disappointed that it didn’t grow back like ours did.

— Andrea Cramer, editoral assistant

Hard hat not required

Video games are a gazillion-dollar industry, and I understand their appeal.

But whenever our sons would put video games on their Christmas lists, a certain sadness would come over me.

That’s because I grew up in the pre-video game era, with its wonderful assortment of toys and games that involved more than pressing buttons on a controller until your thumbs ached.

My friends would come over to the house and we’d hurry down to the basement and pull out a game from the shelves my father had built under the stairs.

We’d place one on the ping-pong table and play for hours, choosing from board games (“Careers” and “Battle Cry” were favorites), sports games (was anything more fun than table-top hockey?) and the old stand-by, an electric race car set. If your car went too fast around a curve, it would fly off the track and hit the wall.

When I was even younger, toy guns were the thing. Best of all was a bazooka that shot plastic balls. I got that one at a GE Christmas party for kids of employees. I think my sister was on the receiving end of a few long-range shells.

But probably the one Christmas present I recall most fondly wasn’t really a toy or a game. It was a building set.

The “Girder and Panel Building Set” was one of many construction sets made by the Kenner company.

I remember sitting on the floor, piecing together buildings of all different shapes (and hoping our dachshund wouldn’t barrel into them).

You placed polyethylene girders into a pegboard base to build the frame and then snapped plastic windows and roof pieces into place. You could build office buildings, airports, train stations.

I was the Donald Trump of our neighborhood.

I don’t have the set anymore, but it can be found for sale on websites like eBay. Gee, maybe I should . . .

— Jeffrey Haff, copy editor

Firehouse under the tree

He’s making a list and checking it twice. That Santa — he’s not only jolly, he’s thorough too.

Christmas was always special in my family growing up. Midnight Mass at St. Luke’s Church in Mechanicville and then off to bed to wonder what might be under the tree in the morning.

We all know that Santa and his reindeer come in the middle of the night. Sometimes, some of us little McBrides would try to fight off sleep to witness the magical arrival, but we could never do it. Whoever among us was first to get up in the morning would wake the others, and we ran downstairs with excitement and anticipation. (But patience is anticipation’s companion, and we had to wait for Mom and Dad to get done milking the cows and return to the house around 8 o’clock. The build-up only added to the fun.)

We always seemed to get what we wanted, within reason of course. But Santa was pretty smart giving us things we needed or things we didn’t ask for that he knew we’d like. It always seemed to be that way. There were many, many presents over the years that were special.

There is one that still stands out, not that I have a clear memory of it. After all, I was not yet 5 that Christmas. The “memory” is the result of a photo, one that shows just how thoughtful Santa was. The toys, more accurately gadgets, that kids get today are much different than in the ’60s and early ’70s. Small boys back then were delighted to get GI Joes and toy trains, Mack trucks and firetrucks.

Firetrucks. That’s what my brothers and I got, among other things, in 1967. It was particularly cool because Dad was a volunteer fireman and Hillcrest Firehouse was just a stone’s throw from our house. In fact, Mom was saying the other day how excited we kids were every time the fire siren went off and Dad headed to the firehouse. The times the call brought the trucks past the house were thrilling, especially when Dad was driving one.

But Santa didn’t just bring the trucks. No, he and those North Pole elves really outdid themselves. They created a replica Hillcrest Firehouse to park those trucks in. Other kids may have gotten GI Joes and firetrucks, too. But we had our own wooden version of Hillcrest Firehouse. And that was special.

My Dad doesn’t drive firetrucks anymore, but he spends a lot of time in his wood shop. He’s pretty creative, too, just like Santa and his elves. Hmmm.

— Tom McBride, assistant features editor

Cars and guns

This holiday assignment required one favorite present from a Christmas past.

I’ll risk coal in my stocking and cheat — this story includes two gifts I’ll always remember.

The first came during the late 1950s, and remains a vivid yuletide memory. My brother Tim and I weren’t even in school yet, but senior members of the family decided we should have our own transportation for those long trips to the living room, dining room and kitchen.

We both received pedal-powered metal cars. They seemed like the real deal, especially to drivers who were only about three feet tall. I received the powder blue sports car, and I’m pretty sure working headlights were standard equipment. Tim got a red fire truck — the featured accessory was the small wooden ladder attached to the side.

The cars must have made great impressions on the Wilkin brothers. My first car — for real — was a blue AMC Gremlin. Tim’s first wheels were attached to a red car — neither of us can remember the model.

The second part of my holiday double feature takes place around 1965 — and I can still tear up just thinking about it.

I was 10, and a major fan of the spy boom then part of American pop culture. The James Bond movies had started it all, and television followed with several interpretations.

My favorite was “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” and while I was rarely allowed to stay up late enough to watch the show, I knew all about the characters and gadgets.

This was the Christmas I received gifts every kid hated — clothes — and about four or five board games. I had no passion for games because they weren’t really yours; you needed friends or siblings for a couple of hours with “Monopoly” or “Aggravation.”

The only gift that thrilled me was an “U.N.C.L.E.” cane “gun” that fired plastic “bullets.” I had finally received equipment that would help me keep agents of THRUSH — or at least pesky squirrels — out of our neighborhood.

I should have started “The Christmas Day Affair” as soon as I liberated the gun from its cardboard backing. But there were stockings to check and assorted gifts to open from grandparents. My father — as was his custom — quickly gathered all wrapping paper and scheduled it for fireplace incineration. A short time later, as I decided to begin my career as an “U.N.C.L.E.” junior operative, I couldn’t find the instructions for my spy weapon.

We looked everywhere, and finally determined Dad had burned up the directions. A lesser agent would have cracked. I was just depressed about the whole thing. I could never figure out how to load and fire this obviously high-tech toy.

I forgave my father. And while I knew Dad spent his days working at Rochester’s Eastman Kodak Co., that Christmas was the day I realized he was also a seasonal employee for THRUSH.

— Jeff Wilkin, reporter

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