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Does Spring still mean Great Junk for Kids?

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Sunday's twin harbingers of Spring – the return of Daylight Savings Time and the expected snow melt –provoke a question from a childish mind of a Baby Boomer: do 21st century kids still have wonderful crap marketed to them when weather warms?


Recent snows have seemed like Christmas in March, but surely there are merchants somewhere that have end-cap displays of kites ready to roll. Do kids still struggle with such magnificent airborne nonsense, tying tails out of rags. (Do parents still keep rags?)

What about yo-yos?

Besides 1960s elementary teachers rolling in TVs to watch space launches, there occasionally were grade school assemblies with experts from Duncan or some other yo-yo corporation demonstrating their talent.

Five-and-dime stores couldn't keep yo-yos stocked. (Are there still such yo-yo professionals? Where are they credentialed?)

Is it warm enough for squirt guns? Are cap pistols still popular in this post-Columbine, -Newtown era?

And jackknives. Not the Swiss Army type, but small- and medium-sized beauties with plastic sides molded to appear to be tree bark. Are they common or endangered in a zero-tolerance climate?

How about bubble bottles, or bicycle handlebar streamers?

Are wax lips made in the USA – and still chewable?

Speaking of chewable wax, what about those odd little paraffin snacks with super-sweet syrups squeezed into weird-shaped receptacles?

Where do we go? The nice Ben Franklin on Prospect Avenue in Peoria Heights closed and a web search turned up Ben Franklin stores in Moline, Quincy and Carthage.


Oh, well: Don't feel old; feel young – Spring forward!

About the Author
Bill Knight recently retired after a couple decades teaching journalism at Western Illinois University. Now, you might find him strolling through the streets of Elmwood with his wife and fellow writer, Terry Bibo, along with their son, Opie, and his beloved collie, Lassie.* *Actually this last bit isn’t true. Not to mention the fact that our writer got “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Lassie & Timmy” mixed up.