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January 19, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

s4e Sirrian Daitj
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited ,and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications



(also in

black) $19.95

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MMich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or: the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.


VE KNOWN for some time now that the world is changing quickly,
but it took a visit to a toy store to make me realize just how much
has happened in the ten years since I was a child.
More impressive than the changes, however, was the degree to
which prevailing social winds and conflicts are reflected, in the toys
that children play with.

Little girls, I discovered, are still
playing with dolls. But to go with
the dolls are a display of ap-
pliances that would warm the
heart of a General Electric execu-
A child now can play house with
suburban conveniences that re-
flect the space age technology of
her mother's suburban kitchen,
such as, the "easy wash dish-
washer," featuring "new jet ac-
really revolutionized childrens'
toys. When I was a kid, anything
that ran on a battery was pretty
neat. Now you can get a "Jack
and Jill TV/radio set," or perhaps
a "Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs telephone" complete with
to the voices of each dwarf.

talk. Furthermore, they even have boy dolls with a realistic anatomy.
The toy companies have certainly kept pace with technology, and
at long last are even willing to recognize the existence of the human
body. But in social consciousness, they still lag behind.
In response to the pot scene among the micro-bopper set, there
has been no miniature hookah or roach clip accessory to the Earbie
But the psychedelic world has had a definite influence on the toy
scene as evidenced by a series of toys which may fairly be called "light
show sets." But the most attractive toys, to my mind, in the toy stores
today are the gigantic stuffed animals.
WHEN I WAS A little boy, I had a teddy bear which I called brown
bear. (Because was brown.) Today, under the influence of psychedelic
fantasy, the toy stores would present me with "chartreuse bear" or
"magenta bear." And more exotic creatures-jungle and circus ani-
mals and even mythological creatures, multi-colored' dragons-are
coming to predominate over the tame domestic stuffed pet we played
To keep up with evolving social advances, many toy stores have
tried to integrate their doll collections. Unfortunately, these dolls will
never be more than token, as the manufacturers, understandably ham-
peted by the stereotyped images which they themselves helped to
perpetuate for so long, have succeeded in making a black dell that has
straight hair.
But .the proof of social awareness among the toymakers is the
alienation doll. The most compelling of these is called "little miss
no-name." She is dressed in ragged burlap, and has large, sorrowful
eyes from which a permanent plastic tear will forever drip.
The loneliness and genuine feeling of alienation that is expressed
in this doll, as well as the sensitivity of its makers, who this time have
really managed to psych out the buying public, is expressed well by
the little verse on its package:
"I need someone to love me
I want to learn to play
please take me home with you
and brush my tear away."-Hasbrq, $7.98.


seven recorded disks for listening

And for the child with an intellectual bent, there is the "talking
learning machine" which features 432 different sound tracks in Eng-
lish, Spanish and French.
REMEMBER BARBIE? She was the first doll to be well stacked.
Barbie is still around with all her accessories, and now she can even



Ar mageddon scheduled

for noon, ju

WE CALLED HER crazy when we were
alone. In Swanson's garage or Ted's
basement. We delighted in saying the word
and extracted a certain malicious joy
from it. Rick would mock her crippled walk
and with a frightened chiseled smile de-
fend himself, "Everyone knows she's
She was crazy because she said the
world would end on July 5.
Was she sure?
"Yes. The world will end at noon, July
5, C.S.T."
She would gather us kids around and
tell us how it' would all end, how the
mountains would crumble like the giant
cliffs of a melting glacier, how the earth
would rumble like the cars in a bumpy
train, how finally we would be all cold
and silent.
And her eyes, the staccato gestures of
her hands, were all too convincing. But
when we asked how she knew all this, her
blue eyes watered and she turned away.
She just knew, she would say.
"WE WILL BE able," she spoke softly,
",to shoot our fireworks on July 4 and
pretend they are volcanoes, We will snap
our firecrackers like the thunder that will'
rock us to destruction."
She was crazy. Everybody knew she was
crazy. But in public, around adults, we
were forbidden to tise the word. It was not
a nice word. But they believed it. In their
own circles, in the bridge club cliques and
sewing circles, they must have used the
As summer came and Mrs. Pitcher's
family refused to put her away, people's
nerves became rattled. Especially the'

'ly 5, C.S.T.
kid from his place of seclusion and ad-
monish him first never to say "crazy,"
second to run when Mrs. Pitcher came
down the street, and third to get the hell
up to his room for being such a brat.
I was beginning to write crazy on any
scrap of paper I could find, and hoarding
the collection inside' a bureau drawer. I
would write the word, print the word, write
it backwards, frontwards, mirrored.
Rick even wrote the word four times in
a short paragraph we were asked to write
gbout elephants. Elephants, Rick said,
were crazier than birds which were really
crazy. But dogs and cats are probably the
most crazy. Elephantsrare crazy because
they have trunks.
SEVERAL WEEKS before July 5 the
adults formed a community action group
to send Mrs. Pitcher away. But the plan-
ning ended in fighting. Besides, having
her put away would not delay July 5, as
Ted's mother so aptly pointed out.
On the way to school we spent most of
our time deciding who else besides Mrs.
Pitcher was crazy, just so we could use the
word. By the end of Jne there were many
people who we could call crazy. Our par-
ents were crazy. The organization was
crazy." The whole world 'was crazy, and
we were probably crazy.
When the day arrived, we huddled in
our dens, while husbands sat in front of
television sets, as if they could accept the
end of the world as long as they were in
front of the TV.
NOON CAME and the precious moments
afterwards. I suppose I would be dishonest
not to'admit we kids were somewhat dis-
appointed when nothing happened. After
all it would have been very exciting.
Rick was mad and shot off a firecracker.

The Game

POKER GAMES in the Quad were for
Saturday nights.
We would sit in the lounge, cokes laced
with rum to keep our spirits high through
the night. We could forget the week's
routine and-the drudgery of preparing for a
time when we might finally do what we
t Poker games in the Quad were also for
We had just started to deal the cards
when a clear-eyed high school dropout,
smiling like an open textbook, walked in
and asked about the stakes.
"Quarter ante. Dime raises."
WE WERE NOT ,without our suspicions.
But we couldn't resist the challenge, may-
be just out of a defiant need to prove that
13 years of homework was worth more
than the paper it had been written on.
"Buy your chips and sit down."
This was his profession. He spoke as if
the gospel had inspired him, explaining
that he'd just learned how to play poker
and hoped we wouldn't mind if he overbid

the value of his cards. I remember hearing
the same thing from a teacher once who
said he was new to the game and hoped
we wouldn't mind if he overestimated the
value of knowing Latin names for flowers.
But having been suckered once I was all
the more ready to be suckered again.
Our hustler bluffers recklessly, raising us
when he held only a pair of deuces or a
missing straight. And we took his money,
at first.
WE SHOULD have known better. You
can walk through the botanical gardens
and appreciate the delicate patterns of
4utercups on the-artificial ponds but you
had better know the genus and species for
next week's test.
Once we started the poker game we
couldn't stop, simply because the massage
of liquor and the carrot flavor of in-
frequent winnings lured us into believing
we could eventually come out ahead.
The high school dropout took us for
some $150, patiently cashing in his chips
for quarters and dimes, winning more and
cashing in more, My teacher I guess is still
doing the same thing somewhere.


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