Tag Archives: toys

Speaking & Spelling

She heard a robotic voice, somehow reminiscent of the 1980s, echoing up the stairs, possibly from the living room. She poked her head out of the sewing room to listen.
I-L-O
“What the heck is that? What are you doing down there?” she yelled down to him.
V-E
“Seriously! What the heck is that voice? It sounds like a robot.”
She waited for an answer, but he stayed silent. It was just her and the strange robot.
Y
She had enough and dropped the fabric she was sewing onto the chair. “That’s it, I’m coming down there!” She was smiling now.
O
“If that’s what I think it is you’re in big trouble, mister!”
U
She jumped to skip the last few steps and slid a little on the hardwood floor because of her socks. As she grabbed the bannister and slid around it she had a view of the love seat across the room where he was sitting with a giant, sly grin on his face and a red machine of some sort on his lap.
“You didn’t!” she yelled as she ran across and jumped onto the love seat and hugged him.
“Like it? I found it at a yard sale down the street while you were sewing. Still works!”
She went to hug him again but instead, as he prepared for the love, she snatched the machine from his hands.
“I love Speak & Spell! I had this as a kid! I’m playing.”
First she ran her fingers across the multi-colored keyboard, then across the words Texas Instruments. She giggled at the little icon that included the state of Texas in the corner. Her finger landed on the Go button and it spoke in a monotone voice. “Spell-through.
“How do you know which through it is?” he asked her.
“Hell if I know. This thing is thirty years old! I’m just guessing!”
She pushed the buttons and the robot spoke the letters as she hit them.
T-H-R-O-U-G-H- that is correct. Now spell, love.”
She smiled and started again.

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More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys

“What are those?” she said, crinkling her nose as she usually would to a vegetable she discovered on her plate that she didn’t like.

“They were called Barrel of Monkeys. This was the only toy my great grandmother had at her house, so every year on New Year’s Day we would be forced to play with them because there was nothing else to do.”

She poked one as if they would bite. “They look boring.” A typical four-year-old response. “How do we play?”

“Well,” I said, picking up a red one. “You’re supposed to start with one, and try to hook another one onto his tail by the hand. See?” I demonstrated. She didn’t look amused. I picked up a yellow one by the hand, and then proceeded to a green one.

“Let me try?”

“Of course, that’s why I got them.”

She picked one up, yellow of course, that being her favorite, and she started trying. After a few failed attempts she got one and I applauded her.

“Great job!”

“Yeah, I guess.”

She tried again, and again, getting five in a chain before she dropped them.

“This is boring.”

“It is not, watch. I’ll try to get a bunch.”

I picked up one, hooked it to another, then another, then another, and kept going until I had about ten. She had picked up a copy of ReadyMade magazine and started turning pages as if she could read it, and I realized I was playing alone. I dropped the string of seven monkeys I had going and with my hand swept them all back into the barrel.

“You’re right. These are boring.”

She smiled and went back to pretending to read the magazine.