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Weekly Wrap: Our Toys

By Posted on 19 2 m read 1.3K views

I’ve got a deadline to make, so this will be a quick wrap. My answers to this week’s questions concerning the elementary school days….

What toys did you play with?

I searched but found NO photos of the awesome toy known as Wacky Clackers, so I tried to draw it for you.

What games did you play?

I loved making prank phone calls with my friend, Eileen. I would call someone and pretend I was 5-years-old and lost. My job was to sound panicked, and to convince the person I had mis-dialed and meant to call my mother. Then I would give them Eileen’s number, and when they called back, Eileen would play the mother role. There was one woman who would blow a whistle into the phone whenever we rang. That put her at the top of our call-list, for sure.

Also at Eileen’s, we played an electric shock game. If you held the refrigerator handle at the same time as you held the metal strip around the counter, you’d get this volt that would make the hair on your arms stand up straight, and we used to see who could hold on the longest.

Towards the end of elementary school, I loved playing the fire-setting game with my friend, Mouse. We’d see how big a fire we could set and still put it out.

What kind of candy did you eat?

I loved Gobstoppers.

But my absolute favorite candy was orange flavored Bayer aspirin. Yum!!

What was your first record?

A 45 of The Hues Corporation. (Turn up the volume before you click, then press the play arrow. Oh yeah!)


Thanks so much for a fun week of learning what you were like as a kiddo. Thanks to the awesome Lance Reynald (with the finished and stellar manuscript now available for interested agents, editors and publishers), and to his guest Michael Stusser. And finally, thank you to everyone who linked to LitPark this week: Robin Slick, Cafe Mom, Ellen Meister, How Not to Write, Lance Reynald, and The Publishing Spot. I appreciate those links!

P.S. Most frequently asked questions this month have been variations of Did you really film a TV pilot? Is the TV show going to air? Can you give some details? And the answer is, there’s very little I can say since the contract I signed said – if I remember correctly – that I’d be fined a million dollars per contract breech. Breach? No, breech looks better. But, yes, something was filmed. As far as I know, nothing is going to air. That’s probably a good thing. And that’s pretty much everything I can say about it. However, I will put an end to those pesky rumors that the show features me bungy-jumping, and later, hot-tubbing with Neil Gaiman. Those rumors are pure fantasy!

Okay, off to work on my book….

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  • lance reynald
    October 19, 2007


    we really have to stop with the craziness of the wondertwins…

    St. Josephs aspirin were the most wicked secret pleasure… got in SOOOOOOO much trouble over those things.

    funny the things that you let slip your mind til someone else mentions them.

    Many thanks to Michael Stusser for taking the time to chat with me this week. The world of dead icons, board games and Mental Floss was a great way to come back to the park! and I expect to see the Floss high on everyones list of favorite things from here on out; it’s good for ya!!

    and yes, the rumours are true… seems that in some wild trance or flashback I actually produced something that looks vaguely like a manuscript… and a few folks here and there think it’s pretty good (I still have the day here and there where I wonder what on earth they’re thinking). But yeah, interested parties could have their very own copy; I live pretty close to a post office and the clerk has gotten into a routine with my neurotic questions about the safety of priority parcels and whether or not those shipping labels will stay properly affixed all the way to New York (I’m guessing the USPS has some guidelines for clerks dealing with writers, it’s like trying to stick frozen embryos in a box or something…you just try to remind yourself that you don’t actually need to name EVERY copy)


    Thanks to Everyone for the great comments and birthday wishes this week!!!

    when is gamenight?? I’m free on Thursdays.

    have a great weekend!


  • Ellen Meister
    October 19, 2007

    Hi Sue,
    The reason you couldn’t find a picture of Wacky Clackers is because they’re called Click Clacks. Not sure if your comment section will let me post a pic, but I’ll try:

    (If that doesn’t work, click here.)

    Btw, I hated those orange baby aspirins so much I’m still traumatized by it. To this today, anything with a flavor that even vaguely resembles it makes me gag. Clearly this is not genetic, though. When my daughter was only two, she pushed a chair to the pantry and climbed on it to reach the orange flavored Vitamin C. Not sure how many she ate in the 60 seconds I was out of the room, but I called Poison Control to ask what to do.

  • Robin Slick
    October 19, 2007

    You guys ate baby aspirin? No offense, but ewww… (me, too, Ellen…the only thing worse for me…and it’s actually unbearable…is the smell of spearmint gum. In fact, I have all kinds of issues with gum chewing in general and yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a freak. I almost jumped out of an airplane last month because I was stuck for almost three hours on board with a crying baby, turbulent weather…and the worst horror of all…someone chewing spearmint. I had the barf bag in my hand most of the trip, which brings up another question: Why are airline barf bags so tiny now? They’re like the size of a baggie, and no use at all, other than as a phony comfort device for you to clutch in your sweaty, panic-stricken hand)

    But of course this is coming from a woman who actually did smoke banana peels so who am I to talk?

    Err…whose fantasy has you hot-tubbing with Gaiman, Susan? Not me. You are merely the recipient of my emails where I tell you all about my experiences with Neil in the tub.

    Oh I’m kidding.

    Thanks for a fun week at LitPark and thanks to Lance for his great interview and fun comment on my blog!

  • Susan Henderson
    October 19, 2007

    Lance – Nevermind Robin and Ellen. Those orange Bayer aspirin tablets were fabulous snacks! High five, wondertwin!

    Ellen – Scary. This is why we don’t keep DELICIOUS aspirin or Vitamin C in the house. Thanks for the photo, but I’m so sure they were called Wacky Clackers.

    Robin – I’m with you on the spearmint. Same with caramel. I can’t taste it or smell it without feeling sick. (You and Corey Mesler should trade stories about banana peels.)

    The National Book Award finalists have been announced.

  • Aurelio O'Brien
    October 19, 2007

    I remember Wacky Clackers, and the deep bruises everyone had on their arms from playing with them. Even worse, I recall someone’s pair shattering and throwing razor-sharp shards of resin all around. It made a wonderful sound as it exploded – like a gunshot mixed with broken glass.

    I preferred Vitamin C. The pure white, really sour ones. My younger brother and I once had a contest to see who could chew the most at once without water. I think I did 11.

    And Robin, I agree about the barf bags on airlines being too small, especially since the general population is eating larger portions these days. The airlines are just begging for a Mr. Creosote moment.

  • Juliet deWal
    October 19, 2007

    I loved me the Bayer! However, Rye’s Syndrome ran in my family, so we weren’t allowed to have them in the house (asprin + babies = not so good). Fortunately, my friend Paula’s family did, and so I’d gobble them up like candy and fulfill some inner game of “will I or won’t I croak from this?”

    Flintstone vitamins were right up there.

    I have a wacky clacker up in James’ room. They are a guaranteed way to make a parent nuts. Clack clack clack clack. I’ll try to remember to take a picture.

    And, of course, I am the world’s biggest Lance Reynald fan.

  • Betsy
    October 19, 2007

    Susan, I had those, we called them click-clacks – here’s a link (I don’t think I can post a photo in the comment box…) – there’s even a reference to them in GLORY!
    And I ate those baby aspirins too. Yum.
    Weirdest of all, I saw the Hues Corporation play at – Six Flags or something when I was twelve.

  • Shelley Marlow
    October 19, 2007

    I smoked vitamins wrapped in rolling papers with my brothers!

  • Kimberly
    October 19, 2007

    Your Wacky-Clackers reminded me of that plastic lemon thing with the beans in it that I would annoy my parents with ad infinitum, as I spun it round and round my ankle on the driveway (“I SAID: Not in the house, Kimberly Marie!”) Kind of a one-legged jump rope…

    Thanks to one and all who reminded me about Lik-M-Aid! YUM! And Nerds! The sourest ones!

    There was this time I spent the entire $10.00 my mother gave me for my $5.00 summer camp lunch at the corner 7-11 on Lik-M-Aid and Nerds and Kamakazie Slurpees and then proceeded to cry and wail about how some big kid STOLE THE MONEY so I didn’t have any change to give back to her when I got home…

    Chances are my purple gums gave me away, although I put up a pretty good show and at the time I thought she believed me…

  • Kimberly
    October 19, 2007

    [i](Hm! My original post didn’t work – here’s another go at it. Apologies if this pops up twice…)[/i]

    Your Wacky-Clackers reminded me of that plastic lemon thing with the beans in it that I would annoy my parents with ad infinitum, as I spun it round and round my ankle on the driveway (“I SAID: Not in the house, Kimberly Marie!”) Kind of a one-legged jump rope…

    Thanks to one and all who reminded me about Lik-M-Aid! YUM! And Nerds! The sourest ones!

    There was this time I spent the entire $10.00 my mother gave me for my $5.00 summer camp lunch at the corner 7-11 on Lik-M-Aid and Nerds and Kamakazie Slurpees and then proceeded to cry and wail about how some big kid STOLE THE MONEY so I didn’t have any change to give back to her when I got home…

    Chances are my purple gums gave me away, although I put up a pretty good show and at the time I thought she believed me…

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    October 19, 2007

    Ah, yes. I had some of those dreadful self-mutilating wacky-clackers. On the West Coast we called them click-clacks. We could pick them up for 50 cents a pair from the old timers at the swap meet who sold tacky resin stuff they made in their garage. I’m sure the click-clacks outsold the fake fruit, glittery Beethoven busts, and transparent bull’s horns.

    I hear St. Joseph’s baby aspirin is making a come back as boomers and Gen-Xers get older. Doctors are prescribing it for patients at risk for heart attacks because aspirin is a proven blood thinner and anti-inflammatory. Something to look forward to: your daily baby aspirin.

  • Susan Henderson
    October 19, 2007

    Aurelio – We used to get some kind of jumbo Vitamin C wafers that came in orange and cherry, and I had to set rules for myself, like “only 20 a day, except on weekends.” And those are the wacky clackers I’m talking about – the real glass ones that cracked and eventually exploded.

    Juliet – That was a favorite game of mine, too. It’s why I’m such a scared, overprotective parent.

    Betsy – We are long lost sisters!

    Shelley – That one I’ve never heard before.

    Kimberly – I’m sorry your note got tossed into spam. I think Terry turned up the filters, so certain buzz words and numbers set it off. Same with any post containing a link. So I rescued your post, but it was scary in there – 4045 mostly raunchy notes from the past few weeks. By the way, I know that one-legged jump rope. It was just one more thing I coveted but never owned.

    Carolyn – That’s the only thing I’m looking forward to as far as being a senior… oh, but that’s one hell of a carrot to dangle!

  • Juliet deWal
    October 19, 2007

    Susan: I think I went the other way. I am all helmet-schelmet. The “I didn’t croak from it” makes me the kind of parent who says “You’ve got life skills, I gave you a good foundation. Figure it out, and if you can’t, then come find me.”

  • Aurelio O'Brien
    October 19, 2007

    Wacky Clackers, or what were also called Click-Clacks, were around well before the 80’s because they had them when I was a in grade school and that was in the 60’s. I think the 80’s version were made of safer plastic, because the original ones were scary when they shattered. I don’t believe they were glass though, like that sight link claimed, but cast resin.

    Either type make nice deep bruises.

    P.S. I liked your drawing, Susan! Maybe you should start another career!

  • Sarah Bain
    October 19, 2007

    Oh god, Susan, this is terrible. We one upped the crank phone calls by doing this:

    Scene: Pay phone near 7-11

    Me: Dial random number very close to number of pay phone. Hope woman answers. “Hello,” woman says.

    Me in small child’s voice: “Um, hi, mommy?”

    “No, this is (insert blank).”

    Me: “Oh, I am calling from girl scouts and this is my only dime and I’m supposed to call my mommy to come pick me up. Can you call her for me?”

    Give phone number of pay phone to adult and hang up.

    Pay phone rings. Older friend answers sounding like a grown-up mom.


    “Yes, is this Mrs. Francis?”


    “I’m calling because your daughter, Stella, dialed the wrong number and is ready to be picked up from Girl Scouts.”

    “Stella, umm, umm, my daughter Stella? She’s been dead for 10 years.” Sob. hang up quickly.

    Oh god, how terrible is that!?!

  • Ellen Meister
    October 19, 2007

    Forgot to tell you how much I liked your Wacky Clackers drawing. Very well done. You spent some time on that!

  • Laura
    October 20, 2007

    Nice “Clackers”…I had a pair of really cool purple ones with sprayed on frosty white and silver speckles until they “disappeared”…hmmmm…it seems to me I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that to my children when I had them, but I did it for the sake of my sanity…

    Went along with a few crank calls, but lingered in the background with my hands over my mouth trying not to giggle, we usually victimized boys that we liked and the girls we hated…we also rang doorbells and runaway…and scavenger hunts, we’d just randomly decide to do one, usually we’d get enough pennies to go to Foxes for bubblegum balls.

    St. Joseph’s was always the tasty part about being home sick in bed…that and the old Vick’s cough syrup (my Dad referred to it as “Old Panther”), back then it had codeine in it…yeehaa! Anything chocolate was always a favorite, I remember when Reese’s peanutbutter cups first came out, they were always expensive, blew half my allowance on buying those. Then I craved them while I was pregnant, my son should have come out smelling like one! I also have a strong sentimental attachment to Cracker Jack.

    Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” was a 45 I spent money on, but The Capitol’s “Cool Jerk”, I stole from my big sister’s stack…I still have both of them some where around here, in a box, but no record player to play them on…

    It’s always a treat to visit LitPark! Thanks Susan!

  • Susan Henderson
    October 20, 2007

    Juliet – I have rules like, You can climb the tree high enough to break your arm but not high enough to break your neck. I’m not a total ninny. But definitely a partial one.

    Aurelio – Don’t even tease me about my drawing, you. And another way to get bruises from Wacky Clackers was trying to attack your brother with them. Because, see, if you missed, those RESIN-GLASS balls came right back at you.

    Sarah – Wow, I am so glad I never thought of that one because I would have done it, too. I hope kids these days are smarter that we all were!

    Ellen – Actually, this took about 3 minutes from start to finish. I’m an impatient m-f, even though I have a plaque from my old job that says otherwise.

    Laura – Glad to see you here again! It’s been a while. Oh, I used to love that 3 Dog Night song about Spain and Oklahoma. Let me find it and link it.

    Okay, here it is, but it’s attached to someone’s home videos or something.

  • Susan Henderson
    October 21, 2007

    I am in such a funk after that Steelers game. What do I do when I’m in a funk? Well, once Mr. H stops listening to me complain about lopsided officiating, etc, I search the internet for those quick pick-me up headlines, like, Kid Rock Arrested after Waffle House Fight. For some reason, it makes me feel better. A little less restless.

Susan Henderson