TOYHEM! I lied to my mom and lived to tell the tale…
Welcome to TOYHEM! For the third straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan
UPDATED 11/28/21: This story has become a Chanukah tradition here at 13th Dimension. It first appeared in 2014 and I’ve re-presented it every year since — now as part of TOYHEM! Have a safe and joyful Chanukah! — Dan
When I was 8, it was all Megos, all the time. So after school, I’m watching TV and this comes on:
And the skies opened and the Lord spake and He said, “Young Daniel, you must have this for Chanukah.”
And it was good.
We were not a family of means. My folks had split and my Mom did the best she could. So asking for a Batcave was no guarantee. But ask I did. Over and over again.
Anyway, late some Saturday afternoon, with the skies dark and Chanukah right around the corner, I found that I just couldn’t take the suspense any longer. I had to know: Did I get the Batcave or not?
So while Mom was downstairs ironing in our Old Bridge, N.J., garden apartment, I crept into her bedroom and went into her closet, where I knew she hid the presents. I burrowed to the back and saw the piles of swag still in shopping bags. I poked and prodded as quietly as I could. And there, in shadow, was a box that looked just like this:
Oh, my Lord, there it was. It may have been the most exciting moment of my young life. It was a moment rivaled only by the first time the skies opened and I saw Mego Batman and Robin for the first time, standing on my friend Phillip Tagliaferri’s dresser.
Also there? Mego Batgirl. And, if memory serves, that clog with a propeller they called the Batcopter.
Then dread. And guilt. I got what I wanted, sure. But I found out in such a sleazy fashion. I cheated!
But I wasn’t stupid enough to confess.
I went back downstairs, and hey, guess what Mom asked me: “So, Daniel, what do you want for Chanukah?”
Think fast! Think fast! Does she know? Think fast!
“Oh, um, I dunno, a Batcopter, I guess…” — and, in order to throw her off the scent, I made up some other things.
But I also knew if I didn’t mention the Batcave, she’d smell a rat. But I also wanted her to know that she did right by me. She’d been through enough shit even an 8-year-old could see it.
So, I added: ” … and, of course, I really want a Batcave.”
She just kept ironing.
So Chanukah came and I opened the presents and life, it was good.
Years later, when I mistakenly thought I was over comics, that Batcave and all the Mego figures and vehicles that went with it, made their way to the curb.
Well, I’ve managed to rebuild that collection, in a fashion. Plus, now with companies like Figures Toy Company and Diamond Select Toys building their Wayback Machines, everything old is new again.
As an adult, I finally ‘fessed up and told my mother this story and she said she’d had no idea. She thought it was amusing, though.
But you know what?
I never snooped again.
— The Complete TOYHEM 2021 Index of Features and Columns. Click here.
— 13 MEGO BOXES: The Great and Less-Than-Great. Click here.