December 29, 2016
Remembering some Chanukah pasts
By Michael Lewis
This is column has absolutely nothing to do with soccer, nothing at all.
So, if you were waiting for me to spout off another opinion about some aspect of the beautiful game, you must wait later this week before I talk about how to decide tied games and the state of soccer in this country.
If you're into the holiday season, you might relate to this piece, regardless what religion you are. I am talking about the spirit of Chanukah pasts. You could probably say the same thing about Christmases past.
The other day I was thinking about the best Chanukah ever. It had to be somewhere in the mid to late sixties when my parents actually got a great gift for the whole family.
Ah, before I go any further, I should explain what Chanukah is for the uniformed. It is an eight-day celebration -- called the festival of lights -- which remembers the miracle of one days’ worth of oil burning for eight days.
So, as opposed to Christmas, the presents are spread out over one week and a day. My parents had a pretty decent system for my sisters, Jill and Debbie, and myself. During the week, we would get practical stuff such as clothes. For a teenager and pre-teens back in the sixties, that might not sound very exciting (although today I certainly would welcome it).
On the weekend, we would get a big present, usually a hot toy of the moment or some really good games.
In 1964, they got us Thimble City, which was produced by Remco.
It was a pretty cool toy at the time, in which you could move people, cars and buses around on a board with magnetic wands underneath everything.
In 1965, my parents got us another big gift -- a miniature racing car set and all of us got our own cars. It was something fun that the entire family could partake and never get tired of it.
I eventually got another car for myself -- an Aston Martin. I was a big, big, big James Bond fan at the time (yes, the classic Sean Connery, not his successors) and of course, I had to have his car (sorry folks, no twirling license plates or an ejection seat). But I was more than happy.
The only Chanukah present that went a bit array was Robot Commando, which my parents got for us sometime in the early sixties. It was this imposing blue robot that you could give commands to.
It would shoot balls out of its red hands/arms with great velocity and a missile out of the top of its head to knock down planes.
I remember when it became operational that night. It wouldn’t listen to our commands, deciding to do things on its own (welcome to our new robot overlords, LOL). Those plastic balls looked dangerous and that plastic missile from the top of the head, that was a projectile that was quite dangerous.
(It reminded me of Peter Billingsley's character, Ralphie, in A Christmas Story that wanted a BB, but he was continually told that it would shoot his eye out).
All I know is that through the years my parents could have bought stock in Remco and Ideal with all the toys they gave us Chanukah and birthdays.