Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Birthdays and Injuries and Dixie's Diner

  This is not going to be a sad post. Life goes on.This was made glaringly obvious to me when we received a text from one of Ken's sisters just a couple of hours before Dad's passing, to tell us she had become a grandmother for the first time. The cycle of births and deaths plods ever onward.
  And speaking of births, yesterday was Emma's 23rd birthday. I remember one of my first posts here on this blog was about Emma's birthday last year. I got a doll that day, but this year all the presents went to Emma and Ivy. (Ivy managed to snag some Godiva chocolates and some clothes, including the great 40's inspired red 'sailor' sweater I had previously spotted for her at Hot Topic.) We had been a bit remiss in Emma's birthday shopping, which is to be expected I guess, considering.So she got most of her presents on last night's trip to The Big City: A book about one of her favourite movie directors, Wes Anderson, one of her favourite movies, "Amelie" on Bluray,two pairs of shoes and a pair of boots, and a cool pair of what she called "Emma Peel pants". (My kids grew up watching The Avengers, the old 60's series.)  We also went to eat at The Cheesecake Factory so she could get one of her favourites,the avocado eggrolls.

My girls,Ivy on the left, and birthday girl Emma on the right,awaiting the avocado egg rolls
  I had made an  expedition into the attic several weeks ago to dig out one of her presents. She had recently mentioned that she was thinking about starting a collection of Dixie's Diner. I knew we still had a diner in the attic, so I hunted it down.Then I forgot about it until we were out shopping last night,so I gave it to her when we got home. I also still need to scout out what accessories we have left.
  Dixie's Diner was something I collected when Emma was very small, and she used to play with it all the time.

It's a really great little 1950's diner. It was made by Tyco in 1988. It's pretty much 1/12 scale, although the dolls that go with it are a couple of different sizes.The accessories were amazing little things!

It's actually hard to crowd in all the accessories. The doors and windows of the diner open, and the dolls all have magnets in their feet so they can stay upright on the metal floor.

  There was a jukebox that lit up,a pool table, with tiny balls and cues and a rack to put the cues in,a pinball machine that really worked,a counter and stools that actually spun.(Because you know how dolls like to spin on stools...) The booth had red leatherette seats. Everything was perfect.(Except some of the people. As I said,some of them were normally proportioned but most of them were short and stubby.) Of course, most of the accessories didn't come with the diner.All you got with the diner was Dixie, the counter, and the stools.
  I found the diner itself clearanced at Toys R Us in the early 90's. I fell in love with it and was obsessed with collecting everything. Unfortunately, since it was so far after the original release there wasn't much left in the stores. I also found that I wasn't the only person looking for Diner stuff. The diner itself was the EASY part to find! The accessories and characters were the hard part.Ken and I used to go to Canada occasionally, since our first date had been there, and it was a good place to find English foods that Ken missed from home. Toys R Us in Canada had a lot more Diner stuff left than our local TRUs. We bought some of the accessories. I added to my collection, and since we were in the business in those days, we sold the rest. Eventually we made a deal with Toys R Us Canada to buy up all the Dixie's Diner stuff they had left. We had loads of the stuff,but in all of Canada there were apparently only one of each of the African American characters, and NO refridgerators.
  In dealing with all my Diner customers I kept hearing the same weird story: They had advertised their need for Diner accessories, and many of them had gotten calls from a guy in New Jersey, telling them that he had refridgerators. Boxes of refridgerators.In fact, a closet full of them. The weird part? He didn't want to sell any of them. He just called to talk about having them! Who knows if he ever let go of them.The fridge is still the rarest accessory. Some day when that guy dies there's going to be a glut of Dixie's Diner refridgerators at a Goodwill in New Jersey.
  I managed to get a fridge by doing something I still do. I saw a complete diner advertised in a toy collector paper. The price was pretty cheap for a complete set, and I swore to Ken I could make all the money back selling the pieces to my Diner customers. I was right as far as the accessories went, although the diner may have hung around for a while. AND I managed to keep the fridge.
  Emma really loved the diner and she did a lot of playing with it.Some of the doll's dresses started to fall apart and Bobby's suspenders lost their snap.There was even a cartoon, which she watched repeatedly, and she credits it with introducing her to the music of Buddy Holly. (Although I swear Ken and I did that.) I'm not sure if the toy came after the cartoon, or if the toys were created to accompany a cartoon that was intended to be a series. There's only the one cartoon, so if they did intend to make it a series they apparently gave up the idea early on. My diner is in my closet somewhere now, but I displayed it for ages. It looks great displayed, and Emma is now in search of a place to display hers. I was never much into the 50's, but all the little realistic details in Dixie's Diner are what appealed to me.
  As for the injury of the title of this post, last night I suffered one of the most stupid injuries I can think of. I am limping around today, with a swollen, purple and black toe, after being attacked by a slab of frozen paneer (Indian cheese). I opened the freezer and it came shooting out and slammed into my toe. Unfortunately my cloth tennis shoes didn't offer much protection. I screamed, and the family came running into the kitchen to find me in tears. They must have thought I was hysterical, because when I tried  to explain what happened I started to laugh (whilst still crying!). I couldn't tell what happened without laughing because it was such a stupid way to hurt yourself. It can't beat my friend getting stuck in the back window of her truck, but it's pretty dumb.

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