Magic Rocks and Sea Monkeys…Then And Now

This Christmas was rough on me…more rough than Christmases past.

Christmas Eve found me in the toy aisle at my local department store, frantically searching for a last minute gift for my nine year old nephew. Having had four daughters, I was a little out of place in the “boy aisle” of the store. Beyond Matchbox cars, I was clueless.

And then, SALVATION!… in the form of “Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots!”

The special edition box was decorated in true 70’s style, with the original graphics we all remember so well. I bought it, knowing that I couldn’t go wrong with such a classic toy.

On the way home, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my childhood and wonder what happened to all the toys I remember so fondly from my youth. Between my brother and I, we had all the latest and greatest. I remember “Colorforms”. How come they went by the wayside? Then there were “Shrinky Dinks” and “Shaker Maker” and the board game “Mousetrap”. Speaking of Mousetrap, does anyone remember actually playing a full game?, or like us, did you put it away after setting up the trap and all it’s pieces and giving the mice a trial run?

Who could forget Magic Rocks? I begged and begged for them, and a friend of my mother’s had a twenty five gallon aqarium that was FULL of Magic Rocks in every color of the rainbow.They reached the top of the water and they were pure, pyschadelic beauty. I’ve tried growing them twice as an adult, and they seem stunted! Both times, they only grew to be about two inches high. Must be there was some chemical in the old Magic Rocks formula that has since been removed from the new version of Magic Rocks, cuz they ain’t like they used to be!

We all know why lawn darts were taken off the market, I mean, is there anyone that can tell me the REAL object of the game? and no…it is not making your sibling stand stock still while you try to get the lawn dart to fall strategically from the sky and into his/her skull.

Which brings me to Sea Monkeys.

Don’t tell me you didn’t feel ripped off when they weren’t as they appeared on the box. Don’t tell me you were just a tiny bit mad that you’d been suckered into paying 5.99 PLUS shipping and handling to grow a batch of BRINE SHRIMP.

Still, the 70’s were a magical time, and I remember the awe I felt watching my Malibu Barbie get a tan when I took her outside on a summer day. I remember laying in the grass with my Wham-0 magic window, thinking that there was nothing more beautiful than shifting, neon colored sand sandwiched between two pieces of oval plexi-glass.

Life is so hectic nowadays, and the toys lack imagination. Everything is so plastic, so mass produced, so similar.

Thank Goodness, one thing remains the same… We can still count on the Magic Eight Ball and the magic cube of knowledge that floats within the blue liquid. We can still consult it when things get tough.

I think I am going to grab a cup of java, hit ebay and look for a “Gnip Gnop” game or some of those bumpy candles that drip multi-colored wax.

Or maybe I’ll buy a metal Scooby Doo lunch pail that still smells like a peanut butter sandwich on the inside.

Will I find it?

Eight ball says…OUTLOOK GOOD.

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