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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022
Good Wednesday Morning to You!

Christmas is a time of toys and games, as well it should be. And although some of these trendy items barely last through a single holiday season, others seem to last the test of time. Decades after their introduction, they are still popular as gifts today. See if a few of these bring back memories or if you have purchased them recently.

The Slinky
This pre-compressed helical spring toy was invented by Richard James in the early 1940s. If you had one, you certainly tried the tricks you saw on the TV commercials, including sending it down a flight of steps end over end. Mine eventually ended up in a tangled mess from over-stretching, but it still provided hours of fun.

Nerf balls
The Nerf ball was introduced by Parker Brothers in 1969. This 4-inch- round piece of polyurethane foam was marketed as “the world’s first indoor ball,” and parents everywhere cringed. It was an instant hit and spurred a series of Nerf products, including my playground favorite, the Nerf football, in 1972. One has to wonder how many windows were saved by Nerf?

Etch A Sketch
The Ohio Art Co. paid French electrician Andre Cassagnes $25,000 in 1960 for the rights to an aluminum powder drawing toy called Etch A Sketch. It was released in the U.S. just in time for Christmas and was a huge success for years. It may seem simplistic by today’s measurements, but I was still never able to create anything too exciting with it. Meanwhile, the version of Etch A Sketch on store shelves today is nearly identical to the one that dominated the 1970s.

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots was released by the toy company Marx in 1965. The simple object of this game was to knock the spring-loaded head of your competitor’s robot off before he or she did it to you. My brother Steve and I spent countless hours with this game until the springs were so loose that the robot heads would pop up even with a near miss — or Steve loosened my robot’s springs somehow. I am not sure, but he did win a lot. Mattel continues to make a smaller version of the original today.

Twister can be an admittedly awkward game for adults but provided incredible stretching and physical maneuvering for people of all ages. This large plastic mat has six rows of colored circles on it with a different color in each row: red, yellow, green, and blue. A spinner instructs players where to place their hand or foot. The rest is, well, awkward. This Milton Bradley Company game promotes itself as “the game that ties you up in knots.” And it certainly did… and still does.

Lite Brite
Lite Brite was released by Hasbro in 1967, but this toy didn't catch on until the 1970s. The design was simple with a backlit grid covered that would be covered by black paper templates for artists to poke colored pegs into — or you could freestyle your own. What I recall are those colored pegs getting stuck in the shag carpet and piercing Mom’s bare feet.

Milton Bradley released this discovery game in 1967. Players hide their ships on grids not visible to their opponent and take turns guessing where the ships are located by calling out coordinates. The first person to sink the competitor's entire fleet by guessing all the coordinates correctly wins. You may remember the famous line from the TV commercial, “You were sunk by battleship!” Very few games encouraged cheating as much as this one, but the temptation was too great — and strategically placed mirrors were a player’s best friend.

What ones did I miss? Send me a note with your memories of toys and games that have lasted through the years.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305


Your Clear Mortgage forecast from Jason Parkin

We'll see some improvement in temperatures after today's burst of blustery conditions, but it won't last long.

For help with preapprovals or refinancing, get in touch with Jason at parkin.mortgage

Featured Home For Sale
Attention Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
2408 E Thornton Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50320
This open concept, two-story home features 4 large bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The main level living area offers solid surface flooring throughout for easy maintenance. The home features a turnback staircase situated away from the foyer for convenience and privacy, as well as a wonderful study that can be used as the perfect office space!
See More Homes For Sale

FROM KCCI: RSV contributes to record-breaking weekend at Blank Children’s Hospital ER

DES MOINES, Iowa — Last Saturday, the Blank Children's Hospital ER registered 165 pediatric patients — the most in any 24-hour period. "We are seeing record numbers of respiratory illness. RSV is probably the majority of those," said Dr. Wendy Woods, Blank Children's Hospital. ..READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Historic Varsity Cinema announces reopening date

DES MOINES, IOWA — Nearly four years after the frame of film flickered past the projector at the Varsity Cinema in Des Moines, it is time to start popping the popcorn again. The new owners of the historic theater have announced a re-opening date: December 15th, 2022. ...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Fort Dodge police searching for body of newborn in potential homicide

Investigators are following up on leads, talking to witnesses and searching numerous locations for the infant's body. ...READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5


New build turns into decades-long residence

Tragers enjoy community

By Lindsey Giardino

Larry Trager and his wife, April, moved to Grimes 23 years ago when they decided to relocate from Des Moines to somewhere with a small-town feel, yet still close to the big city amenities.

It worked out well that, at the same time, Trager’s job at John Deere Financial was building its new finance headquarters in Johnston.

The Trager family initially thought they’d move into an existing home but decided it made more sense to build their own. It was only the sixth home to be built in their development.

“We didn't think we could afford a new-build home, but, after taking a tour and seeing the prices at the time compared to existing homes and the renovations/updating needed, it only made sense to build new,” he explains.

... Read More In the November issue of Grimes/Dallas Center  Living magazine.

Birthdays and Notables!

Happy Birthday Emily Tomlinson, Chris J. Williams and Maria Jordan!

Happy Birthday to these celebrities: Kaley Cuoco, Ben Stiller, Chrissy Teigen, Billy Idol, Bo Jackson, Mandy Patinkin, Clay Aiken

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning Chuckle
The answer to yesterday's riddle:
What did Arnold Schwarzenegger say to the Italian chef?
PASTA LAVISTA! Rich Hoidahl, Gail Tomlinson, Judy Anderson. William Snyder answered I'LL BE BACK because, obviously, Arnold likes Italian food!
Today's Riddle

How many skunks does it take to make a big stink?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com 

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