My parents captured many Christmas morning photographs when I was young, but this one from 1974 is a little unusual. Most of our Christmas photos are candids taken in the midst of our present-opening frenzy. In this one, I’m pausing to pose in front of a half-unwrapped gift. The smile on my face shows how happy I was to uncover that gift–the Fisher Price Play Family Village.
Fisher Price began producing the Village in 1973. At age 6, I longed for it as intensely as I would long for the Barbie Star Traveler a few years later. I’d loved Play Family toys since I was a toddler, and the Village was the ultimate play set, with a fire station, police station, dentist’s office, apartment, restaurant, theater, garage, and more.
I’ve been wanting to acquire a Village for years, but finding a complete one at a price I was willing to pay proved difficult. Finally, about a month ago, I was able to add this toy to my collection.
I wanted to share a few pictures of it, simply because its colorful lithography and smiling people make me happy. As much as I enjoy nostalgia, I try not to fall into the trap of pining for a simpler time. In 1974, our country was dealing with Watergate, continued involvement in Vietnam, and an oil embargo–things were anything but simple. But a toy like Play Family Village transports me to a time when my parents still stood between me and the outside world’s troubles, and daily life seemed almost as uncomplicated as a walk down Play Family Main Street.