Procrastinating My Morning by Reminiscing
In my Facebook feed this morning, I came across a post leading me to a video of a short autobiography piece with Eddy Goldfarb. Looked kinda fun, so I pulled it up on my second screen and let it play while I worked on the first screen, letting my emails trickle in on the third. I didn’t really pay attention; most of the video progressed without me noticing, then I heard him mention Stompers. The dude invented the Stomper!
Stompers! Stompers were a big hit at the start of the ’80s. I was in elementary school, 5th grade. Since my mother taught in middle school, she’d drive us all to that building in the mornings, and then my sister and I would then walk over to the elementary. We would often wait 45 minutes to an hour before our short jaunt to our building because the middle school teachers had to be in their classrooms well before the elementary building opened the doors for students. I remember waiting with the middle schoolers who had formed a Stomper club that met in the mornings on the mezzanine overlooking the gym.
They had a Stompers sled-pulling, climbing, and racing contests. The PE teacher Dan Mullins or the shop instructor (my 52-year-old memory fails me) made a climbing mountain and a sled-pulling arena. Kids would tinker with the toys to make them stronger, heavier, or give the wheels more traction. Some Stompers were elaborately painted. Kids would spend a lot of allowance money on accessories and modifications.
I remember being quite envious of the toys; they were not something my mom would readily dish out money for an impulse purchase. She joked that I could get one out of the items she would confiscate from disruptive students during her Language Arts classes. Santa must have left one or two in my Christmas stocking because I did end up with a couple. Alas, the fad had waned by the time I attended class in that building, and the club lasted only for that one year. My interest must have moved on, too, as I never became engrossed with the customization as others had. Still, Stompers were a damn cool toy for us, old-timers.
Good ol’ fashion Stomper Pull
Wikipedia – “Stompers were first created in 1980 by A. Eddy Goldfarb and sold by Schaper Toys. These toys were battery-powered vehicles that ran on a single AA battery and featured four-wheel drive. They were driven by a single motor that turned both axles. They were the first battery-powered,
electric, true 4WD toys.”