Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Rerun #7 – Memory's Toyshop

Originally  Posted Saturday, August 28, 2010

When I was little, there were no media-linked toys, iPods, laptops, or cell phones. For many children of my era, the toys we loved best were little green plastic army men, Hula-Hoops, Slinkies, Ginny and Barbie dolls, Play-Doh, and Mr. Potato Head (played with real potatoes). However, any toy, from any era, will be great for this prompt. 

First, think back to your childhood and recall a toy that was special to you. “Freewrite” about that toy for a few minutes. How is this toy the memory-trigger for a past experience and/or relationship? Write a poem about (1) the toy, (2) about a memory triggered by your recollection of the toy, or (3) about a person you associate with the toy. Alternatively, you might write about a toy that was special to your child or to a pet. You might enjoy writing a persona poem from the perspective of a toy. It's playtime!


By Linda Radice

The kid in the commercial had straight stairs 
for the coil to work its way down. The three

story staircase in our house had landings that 
turned. My slinky required a nudge around 

corners, but guided close to the railing it went 
smoothly past Uncle Joe who came to visit 

great-grandma every Thursday afternoon, and 
slid by my grandfather in his gardening shoes at 

sun up. I could make it glide with my father’s run 
when the fire whistle called him to the station, and 

work it around my mother – the constant between
each floor stepping quickly, my brother on her hip, 

to check on my grandmother after her stroke.  
The staircase and the house around it are for sale,
the rest of the people who walked there are gone,
sixty years of footsteps that wore the wood smooth.

I perfected Slinky’s twisted descent long ago – the kid 
with the straight stairs has nothing on me.

Copyright © 2015 by Linda Radice. All Rights Reserved. 
From What We Can't Keep (Little Poodle Press, 2015).


  1. Hi Adele,

    As a child I loved to read, I kept my library books in my toy box.

    ~ ~ ~

    Night Class

    Attention was given to the water,
    flour, eggs, milk, salt, sugar, oil, and the jam of
    mother's homemade doughnuts,
    but I didn't see a hole in the middle
    instead, the view onto one thousand and one nights
    through the Chimera's porthole under my bed
    and by the glow of a camping lantern I read
    until morning and the walk to school
    while my attention played truant with
    a collection of toy action figures: Scheherazade,
    Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad
    and a head full of stories within stories.

    1. A wonder memory of the "toys" you loved as a child. Just the right amount of detail, and I really like the way the poem is just one sentence long! Well done, and thank you for sharing with us.

    2. Many memories, a few sad ones but mostly happy, appeared while I wrote the poem. What I enjoy most about responding to your weekly prompt is to try to keep in mind all your very helpful pointers. Thank you, Adele, for being so generous :)

    3. Thank you, Lewis for your kind words and for your enthusiasm for the blog. I'm truly delighted that you enjoy it and that it generates good memories and good poems!

  2. Another "fun" prompt. I have so many childhood toys to remember, toys that brought hours of joy. Thank you, Adele, for striking just the right chords. Very nice poem, Lewis!

    1. Thank you, Jamie,

      I always appreciate your comments, so glad you like the poem :)

  3. These reruns are great!

    Adele, have you ever thought of writing a book of prompts? You've got so much material here on your blog.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Sandy! I'm happy to know that you're enjoying the reruns!

  4. Revisiting my old "toy" box via memory brought back some happy times. Great idea for a poetry prompt!

  5. Toys

    a red two-wheeler
    flying above ground through town
    only wings missing

    1. Beautiful, Risa! Right to the point in your signature style and with a stunning dismount! Thanks so much for sharing.