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June 7th, 2011

Writer's Block: Your own toy story

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal, action figure, or doll growing up? If so, what was it and what happened to it?

Yes, I had most of the set of Johnny West action figures -- they were called "dolls" back then, but dolls armed with six-shooters, knives, and rifles.  Let's see ... there was Johnny, of course, who was the John Wayne type but had a family: Jane, his wife (cue Jetsons music), two sons, and two daughters (Jay and Jamie, Josie and Janice). One of each sex was blonde, one brunette. Makes you wonder what Jane was up to with Sam Cobra, the bad guy dressed all in black, when Johnny was out on the range.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_of_the_West_%28action_figures%29

The group of figures kept expanding and we weren't exactly rich, so I never did collect the whole set. In addition to all four family members and Sam Cobra (who I remember came with a pool ball and cue. Must have been a gambler!), I had the Indians Geronimo  and Fighting Eagle, the cavalry soldiers General Custer and Captain Maddox, and -- naturally -- horses for several of them. I didn't get most of the larger accessories, such as the ranch homestead and fort, but I did manage to get the covered wagon and horse. That came out in 1968, and it was the last toy released until 1975, which was after I stopped collecting. That would mean I was around 7-10 years old when I accumulated what would have been a pretty fair set.

Despite hard play (they kicked my GI Joe's ass, by the way), I still have Johnny, in fairy decent shape, along with a few other pieces in not so good shape. Although fully articulated, they were solid molded plastic, and help up pretty well. I remember seeing this poster in the store:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_zbqpMnEmvE8/RbVM9Fu8ALI/AAAAAAAAABw/bdo8QkWf5eQ/s1600-h/johnnywestposter.jpg

back to work

Bad days off. Really bad days off, with things going wrong on a family level in various ways, and that was before my brother and his wife got rear-ended in their pickup truck (They seem to be more or less okay, despite the efforts of several dozen people to get them to make a doctor's appointment).

Now  I seem to have picked up either a stomach bug or some very mild form of food poisoning. (We're getting by -- no need to call 911.)   The family stuff involves other people, and it's not my place to talk about it, other than to say I'm concerned and upset. For all I know, my digestive discomfort of the last several hours might be stress. Best way to handle times like that is to muddle through, think of others who have it worse, and keep plugging away at life. Mostly I wanted you to know that if I'm not around as much as usual the next few days, it's just real life intruding.

Meanwhile, I have the comfort of Emily and all my friends and family who've been voicing support and spreading the word about the release of Storm Chaser. With all the books that get published every year, it's wonderful to see how much attention my little piece of escapism is getting. I'm very thankful. Although it's still not up on Amazon.com or the Barnes & Noble website, I assume it's selling a copy or two on the Whiskey Creek website, and I expect to get my shipment of print copies in a couple of weeks. Soon I'll have enough feedback to know if I should tackle that sequel I've had on my mind ...

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