Tuesday, November 29, 2016

12 Days of Vintage Toys -- and a GIVEAWAY!


Character: Liz McCall
Book: Death of a Toy Soldier
by: Barbara Early

Liz McCall here, and I need your advice. Dad spent his evening in a creative endeavor, which is sometimes truly wonderful--but at other times incredibly scary. (And sometimes both.) But he was up almost all last might making what he says is a perfect ad for our vintage toyshop, Well Played. Before I unleash it on our friends and neighbors, I thought I'd test it out.





And I've been so busy at the shop, I haven't had time to put up our shop tree yet, but we decorate it with small toys. This is last years:





Comment below and tell me something you remember from your Christmases as a child, and you'll be entered to win a (signed) copy of Death of a Toy Soldier, the first book in the Vintage Toyshop mystery series. Make sure you include your email in a safe format  (Name AT Provider DOT com) so I can contact you if you win. International readers may enter,but if you win, your book will not be signed.

Edited to add: Forgot to put a cutoff time. I'll choose a winner on Thursday, December 1st at 5pm eastern.


Liz McCall grew up in a playful winter wonderland but it was never her dream to manage her father’s vintage toyshop. However, after he sank his entire police pension into the business, someone needed to help him turn his dreams into reality—and keep him from sneaking off to patrol the not-so-mean streets of East Aurora, NY.

The mood goes from nice to naughty when a nervous man, who was trying to have his antique toys appraised, is found in the shop with a lawn dart through his chest. Suddenly, Liz’s business plan is plunged into deep freeze, while she and her father find themselves toying with a cold-blooded killer who’s playing for keeps.

Now, it looks like Christmas might be cancelled for the neighborhood kids if Liz can't wrap up the case in Barbara Early's delightful debut Death of a Toy Soldier.


68 comments:

  1. There are so many wonderful memories of Christmas from when I was a child. It was hard to choose. One would be Santa peeking in the kitchen window and waving. Another memory would be the rocking horse I got (I still have it) and of course, just spending the holidays with my parents, Aunt and Grandfather. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

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  2. My grandmother always spent the night Christmas Eve. We learned when we were older that she was in charge of filling the stockings. Looking forward to this new series! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. I remember asking for pink notebook paper. It was the hight of fashion to have in school. The video sorta scared me. The monkey and druming santa... nerdsrgood at msn dot com Thanks for the chance to win.

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  4. I got some ragdolls one Christmas. They were my favorite.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  5. I remember the wonder and amazement of Christmas morning. Running down stairs to see the miracle that happened over night when Santa brought your first bike! And who ate the cookies and drank the milk you set out? Truly blissful times. mlarkin at rmrgroup dot com.

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  6. The doors to the living room were closed on Dec 1 (there was no TV and we listened to the radio
    in the kitchen). The doors weren't opened again until after I'd gone to bed on Dec 25.
    Mother would make lots of clothes for the baby dolls (and maybe a new doll would be there)
    along with lots of other presents. It was magical.
    thanks for the offer of the book.
    Mary Lou at txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. My grandmother would start baking early and the wonderful scents of apple, cinnamon and vanilla would permeate the entire house. Her delectable treats were something special. What a baker and cook from whom I learned. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. Lately I keep thinking of the Christmas cookies we made with my Dad, he had started to make them with my kids. Everytime I taste one it tastes like home.

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  9. I remember my sister and i sleeping in the same room on Christmas eve so we could stay up late watching the snow hit the window and hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa claus.

    -mollie iemercedez@aol.com

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  10. My dad loved Christmas, and he saved all year to have a lavish amount of gifts and goodies for my sister and I. Looking back it wasn't that extravagant, but it looked like it! lkleback@hotmail.com

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  11. My favorite memory was getting a Mrs Beasley doll, I was 5, I wanted that doll so badly ! I can still remember opening the box and seeing that it was her and being so happy ! I had that doll till I was in my teens ! kathambre@yahoo.com

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  12. We would anticipate the evening and enjoy storytelling with our family. This was especially meaningful.elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  13. When I was younger we spent every Christmas eve at my Grandparents house. Every year I helped my Grandma wrap presents for our whole family and set up her tree. Now that we are older and have our own families we spend new years day at my Grandmas house. This year my kids and my niece will help put up the Christmas tree. (its going to be interesting) utaker555(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. Love that video, that will be my new favorite version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. And I want the tree with the little toys. Some of the old toys bring back memories. We would always read A Night Before Christmas and then off to bed. Back up at midnight after Santa arrived, and in the morning there would be long support hose stocking filled with fruit, nuts, candy and little gifts, that Santa came back to leave. Gifts were not elaborate but plenty, and always new PJs to read the new books in. Strange traditions when I thought about it after growing up, but felt like home so I continued with my children.
    sallycootie(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. Most Christmas morning when we kids my father worked (Chief of Police). My dad would take the midnight officer home. We could see him driving down the road which was our sign it was just about time to run down the hall to the living room where our tree was. It was so exciting to see what Santa left for us. Such memories. Thanks. Lsum1258 at aol dot com.

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  16. I remember getting a real pony for Christmas and going to the barn to be surprised! Donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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  17. One of my favorite memories is when we were able to fool my mom about her gift. I remember lots of laughter as she was trying to guess.

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  18. One of the Christmas rituals I most fondly remember was our Christmas morning ritual. My parents had a rule -- we couldn't go into their room to wake them until 6:00 a.m. On Christmas morning, my sister and I would wake up between 3:00 and 4:00, quietly open our bedroom door (on the second floor) and peer down at our stockings and the wondrous presents Santa had left for us. Then we would close our door and loudly play with our Barbie dolls in hopes Mom and Dad would hear us and relent. My poor parents! It must have been so hard to make us wait, especially given the 2+ hours of chatter. Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy of your book. -- Barbara (sunjester24 AT gmail DOT com)

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  19. One Christmas at my foster home was simply the best as usually we got a tree and that was it so this one year a social worker came to see our little foster brother and out of her car she pulled large stockings with all of our names on them. I was crying and it still at my age makes me tear up. They had drums and soliders and a few other things on the front then the top had our name. I had never seen anything like it. When i went to volunteer at that same agency years ago i was in a case aide and had a room full of toys that all the depts of the county had donated and i got to let the social workers shop inside. I remember this one social worker came just a few days before Christmas and said I bet you have nothing left and i said I do well she picked a few things and then i had some gift cards and i told her here remember to put something in their stocking and she looked at me and said I almost forgot. I was so happy to help her out and now 55 years later i still have that stocking and so proud of it with all the little toys on the front. ptclayton2@aol.com

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  20. I love those old vintage toys, they require imagination unlike most of the video games so popular now.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  21. When I was very young we lived upstairs over my family's office. There were two apartments, ours in the back and over the store itself my friend Patty's family. I think they were Polish Catholic and they always made a big splash for Christmas. The tree seemed to fill the living room and reached up to the ceiling.

    One year her uncle dressed up as Santa and on Christmas morning we all woke up to a lot of noise on the roof. There coming down the roof access ladder was Santa. He had a bunch of pillow cases stuffed with presents for ALL OF US! That year Hannukah and Christmas overlapped so the parents decided that they'd celebrate both together and it was a blast. That was my first experience with Christmas. The following year I was put into a Religious Day School and we moved away.

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  22. I remember mom making her fruitcake and making me wait until it had aged a few days before I could have some. It wasn't that gooey kind you get in the stores. It had a more cake like batter and was wonderful.
    I love that you had many Hallmark ornaments on your tree as I work for a corporate Hallmark store.
    The 12 days video is cute, although ever since I read Stephen King's short story about the cymbal playing chimp, I look at that toy in a different light.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot my email, which I suppose you need.
      marlene.ezell@gmail.com

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  23. We celebrate Hanukkah - so no Christmas memories. I do remember lighting the menorah and playing cutthroat dreidel games. My brother was always determine to win everyone's pennies.

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  24. We went with my father to get cigarettes. Very unusual behavior. When we got home Mother insisted we just missed Santa. If we looked up we could probably see him. Didn't see him but sure enough he had been there!
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot)net

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  25. I like to remember how happy my parents were when we opened our gifts and how surprised and delighted we were with our gidts. After opening gifts on Christmas morning, we would have a great Christmas breakfast and dinner and spend time enjoying our gifts. Can't wait to read "Death of a Toy Soldier".
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. I like to remember how happy my parents were when we opened our gifts and how surprised and delighted we were with our gidts. After opening gifts on Christmas morning, we would have a great Christmas breakfast and dinner and spend time enjoying our gifts. Can't wait to read "Death of a Toy Soldier".
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. I loved that Twelve Days of Christmas video!!! One of my favorite memories was when my mom would wake us up ( at about 5 in the morning ) and we would go into the living room to peek at what Santa brought. Then we would all go back to sleep. Thank you so much for the chance to win!!!
    magicgirl2357 ( at ) yahoo ( dot ) com

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  28. I got up in the middle of the night to see the presents under the tree and picked up the one that was a puzzle which made a lot of noise and I was afraid I would awaken my parents - they slept through it. Just a funny memory as all of my memories are of great times with my family. Hoping to win as "Death of a Toy Soldier" would be a perfect gift! Thank you and Merry Christmas. j9dot)marshall730(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  29. I remember how I excited I was that Santa brought me a Cabbage Patch Kid. Thanks for the chance.
    turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. We had a cute little easel chalkboard that we left by the tree, and every Christmas morning found that Santa had written Merry Christmas and the year. He had very nice handwriting ~ bobandcelia(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

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  31. I always remember my grandpa pulling out his little pocket knife to open presents. He wouldn't just rip the paper. And I started noticing my dad doing the same thing last year! So silly. Have a Merry Christmas. Holly. hcalhoun78@yahoo.com

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  32. I remember that I would hear reindeer on the roof. I didn't know that it was my brother who had set up jingle bells that he controlled from his room! mommatoodle (@) msn dot com

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  33. I remember Breyer horses around the tree. Katieh(at)mvdsl(dot)com

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  34. I recall Dad's last minute decision to drive to Florida. We had to buy warmer weather clothes once we arrived. Of course, the natives thought it was cold. bobbipad at gmail dot com

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  35. One of my favorite memories among many... is going over to the 1820's Tavern Museum on a snowy day and looking at all the antique toys and a 12 ft. tall Cedar tree covered in smaller toys and candles. The Curator dressed up in 1800's clothing and they served Russian tea and cookies. The smells of Cookies and baking was wonderful. After fifteen years of working in Museums in Texas I finally came back and got a job in that same Museum and I love the kids that come in for Christmas reacting to all the toys...Your book sounds wonderful.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  36. My most memorable Christmas experience happened when I was in junior high. I had a crush on a boy at my school. I had no idea if he liked me or not, he was a shy boy who evidently didn't want to approach me in any way except as a friend. On Christmas day the postman arrived at our family home with a special delivery package for me. It was from Dennis (goosebumps on arms at the time). He had sent me an Evening In Paris perfume gift set! I was so impressed & delighted. Thank you for a chance to win Barbara's debut book in her series. sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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  37. We had the official gift opening, etc. on Christmas day. Christmas Eve we got one gift to open to tied us over.

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  38. We were allowed to open one present on Christmas eve.

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  39. One year I received a Barbie doll and a huge wardrobe for her. My Mom had made a ton of gorgeous clothes for my Barbie. I had the best dressed doll on the block.
    ceciliayoung (at)gmx(dot)com

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  40. Everyone under 15 opens one present on Christmas Eve. We usually guide the older kids to games and the wee ones to PJs. Then on Christmas morning we open presents in age order around the room.
    jmcgrath221(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  41. One of my very favorite memories: I grew up on the plains of South Dakota, not many trees around (there are many more now since people have planted trees.). My parents would go to town to buy a Christmas tree and my dad would hide it somewhere on our many acres. Then on a Saturday before Christmas, my brother and sisters would go out to find it. Sometimes we found it quickly but sometimes we spent a lot of time outside hunting down that tree. Our version of cutting our own tree. Special memories!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  42. I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood Christmas's. Favorite memories would be going every year to pick out and cut a live Christmas tree. This is the first year without my dad, mom and brother (mom and brother both passed this year) so right now I have to say they are all my favorite because I had my whole family.

    Peg_Halley(at)twc(dot)com

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  43. Our family received a Christmas parcel from my grandparents in Japan each year. One year's present was very memorable: a battery operated Godzilla monster that "breathed" fire and made monster noises. It was such an awesome toy. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

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  44. I wanted a Revelon Doll one Christmas. My mom took an old doll, dressed her up in a whole wardrobe my Mon had made, and she was wrapped under the tree. I wasn't sure what she was but I loved the clothes. My Revelon Doll was my last gift under the tree. Boy was I surprised.
    Oneponychick66@hotmail.com

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  45. I had a blessed childhood. So many precious memories. Christmas was a time for family. I can recall one year that my sister woke up so early it was still dark. That was it we were all up before the sun.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  46. A fun thing I remember was always getting a new cabbage patch kid from Santa each year and the excitement of moving the mouse on the advent calendar each day. A pitiful thing that really sticks out is the one year I snooped...never again!
    Awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  47. My mother baking gingerbreadmen and shared with neighborhood kids.

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  48. Forgot email address vboudreau57@gmail.com,

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  49. The best part of Christmas was the large train display my Dad put up every year. Complete with buildings, people, trees, snow, etc. I can still remember the smell of the train as it whistled and chugged smoke as it rode the tracks (with little wooden pieces to resemble the boards under real tracks. Such detail put into s fantastic Christmas display and a treasured moment of past Christmasas.

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  50. My Christmas memories are of my father getting the tallest and biggest tree he could find and then having to cut it down so it would fit in our house with 8 foot ceilings. He would then take the leftover pine branches and drill holes into the trunk of the tree and fill it in where it may be lacking some. I also still have a metal football (it held candy back in the day)and a string of blue glass beads that were on my father's tree when he was a boy. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  51. One of my favorite memories is getting my first train set. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  52. remember going to an aunts house and santa there every year, he has a present for everyone di not matter who you were he had a gift. years later I was surprised to find out it was another uncle who drove 500 miles one way to do santa, we did not see him often so we never knew it was him Georgia queenvictoria50 (at) aol (dot) com

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  53. One favorite Christmas was when I got Garfield and Smurf stuff. I was 10 years old and got a stuffed Garfield, Smurf, and Smurfette. I think I got a big Smurf comic book too. I also got a Garfield cat book that told about different cat breeds, etc.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  54. One of the things I definately remember from my childhood Christmases is getting to open a gift on Christmas Eve morning. Yeah, that morning. Then we opened all the rest of our gifts on Christmas Eve evening. Also, everyone tried to be the very first to say "Christmas Eve Gift" to whoever we saw or spoke to. My maternal grandfather could not wait for Christmas and I've always understood that the gift opening early was his idea -- both us kids on the morning and then all of us on Christmas Eve.
    The trying to be the first to say "Christmas Eve Gift" has carried on with my family, and now my daughter's. My sister and female cousin also has tried to keep the tradition alive, but not sure how their children have done.
    donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

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  55. Mine are of watching snow fall then rushing outside for sledding. southernracer2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  56. The best part of Christmas was the Christmas Eve service that we as Christian day school students put on - actually from K thru 8th grade. We would sing our hearts out that evening, then before leaving we would get our "Christmas bag" from the church - peanuts in the shell, Brach's chocolate stars, fruit, and a popcorn ball. When I was old enough to read and enjoy reading, I looked forward to getting at least a few books for Christmas! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  57. I love Christmas now and know it's a holdover from all my happy childhood Christmases. My mother and stepfather worked so hard to make the holidays memorable for us. We didn't have much money when my mom and biological father divorced and those first Christmases were very, very hard for my mother, who worked three jobs to make ends meet. In spite of that, those first Christmases were some of the happiest in my life. Then she married my stepfather, and we had a real family. We always began baking well in advance so we could give visiting neighbors a gift platter of goodies and we could take gift boxes filled with goodies to friends and neighbors.

    I loved your 12 Days of Christmas video and I look forward to seeing this year's tree. Thank you for the chance to win what sounds like a great book. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com

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  58. I remember the year I got new figure skates and was jumping around shaking the box wildly. Mom and dad looked so strange while I'm singing - new skates, new skates. Well, I had to try them on at the store so I knew what they were. I finally settled down and opened the package - a new clock radio, and all in one piece!

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  59. I have so many memories growing up around Christmas and also being born a week before Christmas. I think the best memories I have are how my parents always kept my birthday and Christmas as two separate events. I always had my birthday and then a week later Christmas. Plus it was great to get presents twice within a week!! I would love to win this new book it sounds great. My email is frauenb at aol dot com

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  60. I was the youngest of 3 for several years. From age 4-7 my older siblings would wake me up somewhere between 4 and 5 am on Christmas morning and tell me to go wake our parents. My mom would look at the clock, pat me on the head at tell me to come back at 6 am. The three of us would sit and stare at the unmoving hands on the clock until 6.
    Now I swear, we put up the decorations only to get them right back out! It comes way too fast.
    konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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  61. My best and family favorite is of baking cookies together. And decorating the tree.

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  62. My favorite Christmas toy was a circus I got around 1950. It had small characters including the ringmaster, performers and sideshow "freaks." It also had three rings and 2 sideshow stages, so I could set up the whole circus. I played with it for hours and hours.

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  63. Tiny Tears was the doll to have during the Christmas season of 1956 and I wanted her very badly. My birthday is Nov. 4 and I received Tiny Tears for my birthday! I was very happy but Santa apparently got word that I already had my new baby for that year and he didn't bring me another one so that is what I remember about that Christmas. Three years later I was surprised with a tin dollhouse in the form of a schoolhouse. It came with a resin teacher and students, desks for all and a blackboard. This is a priceless memory!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  64. My favorite memory from childhood was opening that one package on christmas eve....or course it was always
    matching pajama's....but that was o.k. lol

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  65. Getting. Pony for Christmas! Donamaekutsa7@gmail.com

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