I’m Sorry, Odd Ogg!

If you haven’t seen the new movie, Toy Story 3, wait until you’re ready to apologize to all the stuff in your basement. As soon as you get home from the theater, you’ll want to go down there to let everyone out of their box and tell them you’re sorry you haven’t played with them in years. Here’s one from my house.

Odd Ogg was a mechanical marvel. Your job was to roll the ball to him with the intention of putting it right under the middle of his body. If you did that, he’d move in your direction. If you missed to one side or the other, he’d open his mouth and “razz” you while backing away. If you could get Odd Ogg to come all the way to you, you’d “win”. If he wound up across the room, you’d “lose”. But getting him to stick out his plastic tongue was its own reward.

I suspect my parents found this appalling. The toy was an electronic gizmo. I’m sure they balked at having to buy batteries for the thing just because I didn’t have the imagination to bestow personalities on my toys. The toys had to come with personalities built in -but why did this one have to be so rude? After years of instructing my not to stick out my tongue and “razz” my brother, here’s a device that sends exactly the opposite message! What kind of adults will our children turn into after playing with unkind toys like this?

They turned into the kind of adults who get weepy and nostalgic when they think about their ill-mannered, totally cool toys.

What’s in your basement?

58 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, Odd Ogg!”

  1. very cool pics of Odd Ogg, Dale. it will be fun to see who has their “stuff” yet.
    what’s in our basement? about 40 pounds of potatoes with long, long sprouts growing up into the darkness. a bunch of cat perches that looked cool to me but that our cats never used. and maybe 30 cans of paint from other times that i’m sure i’ll use someday. the most deserving of an apology would be the potatoes. we ate and ate but the crop was too bountiful last fall. sorry, so sorry, Carola and Purple Viking. please forgive our wastefulness.
    good morning, All


    1. Hey Barb… next fall let me know how the crop is going. We got boatloads of potatoes in our CSA last year and none of them last past the end of November! With the teenager in the house, there is no such thing here as too many potatoes – I know she’d be happy to take some off your hands!


  2. Morning Heartlanders. Wish I had Odd Ogg in my basement… sounds a little more interesting than what I have. Besides the obligatory stationary bike and treadmill that rarely get used, I have more canning jars than I could EVER use in a year and a large, large collection of cookie tins that I’m sure I’m going to need for the holiday season (despite the fact that even on my biggest baking year, I’ve only used 1/4 of them). Oh, and two more dog kennels, just in case.

    Off to pick strawberries this morning….. so at least I will be using a few of the canning jars this weekend for freezer jam!


    1. Where do you pick strawberries? or are you lucky enough to be growing your own? We’ve had no luck with that in our shady and bird populated yard.

      Raspberries are coming in nicely though!


      1. Just got back… stayed for lunch and cup of tea at my girlfriends. We go to a place in Anoka called Berry Hill Farms. Very nice people and strawberries are always fabulous! Of course, now I have 18 pounds of strawberries in the kitchen. Good thing we stopped and picked up whipping cream as well!


  3. Dale, I’m curious — was watching Toy Story 3 your idea or someone else’s?

    I had a Huggy Bear, the earliest toy I can remember. Huggy Bear was really two pieces of cotton fabric printed to look like the front and back of a sitting bear in clothes, sewn together with some stuffing by a relative (which reminds me to ask my mother who exactly made it). But he was the oldest most well-worn stuffed toy I had and went to bed with me every night.

    Occasionally I would try to take one of the fancier toys like Dolly or Care Bear to bed, but they were stiff and had hard noses or eyes and hair/fur that made you sneeze. So it was back to good ole Huggy. (This experience also reflects my experience with cushions — or I guess Americans say throw pillows.)

    Huggy Bear got really lopsided after all the washings and from having the stuffing squeezed out of his neck. I wonder where he is now.


  4. Books, my old prom dresses, pet kennels, our daughter and all her stuff, a sewing machine, seasonal decorations that my mother used in her Grade three classroom, and my kids’ stuffed animals. I remember Huggy Bears. My aunts and older cousins sewed them for their kids.


    1. Hi MN-TX,
      We all agreed we’d love to see Toy Story 3. The animated Pixar characters are more human than most movie stars, and the storytelling is second to none.


  5. The basement, I go straight to either the washer or knitting machine and look neither right nor left. It is a disaster. Mostly other people’s stuff that has ended at my place until I can figure out what to do with it.

    The s&h is very gifted at giving his stuffed animals personalities-those and legos are about all he has ever been interested in.

    I wonder sometimes if being an only child with an only parent has sort of made him create this community. That and the fact that I enjoy playing along.

    The animals have a production company in our attic (which one of them negotiated the use of with the resident monsters up there, so everyone could get along). Then there is Secret Agent Oinkers, who is sort of a cross between Miss Piggy and Indiana Jones (without the wasteful “mush” aspect).

    My toys were all just toys (scope for the imagination was not big at our house), which is probably why I am having so much fun with the crew at our house now.


  6. Rise and Shine Babooners:

    I’m impressed by a mechanical toy from– and let me put this delicately– someone in my age group. I don’t remember having anything mechanical or any friends having anything like that. But being a girl, our toys were pretty doll focused–although I did not play with dolls. I spent all my time in a red cowboy hat, silver toy six shooters strapped to my waist and galloping on a stick horse being “Annie Oakley.” I wish I had the hat and six shooters in my basement.

    In my basement I have some of my adult son’s toys: a large collection of Legos– the pirate ship, a train, and miscellaneous sets; a few stuffed toys; some battered micro-machines; a firetruck and a Tonka truck.

    I also have the vestiges of my mother’s long life in a closet. Almost two years ago she could not live alone anymore. She moved to my brother’s house where she still lives today after being diagnosed with Alzheimers. Because my brother had my mother and my sister managed her finances, my job was to sort and distribute her belongings. It took 7 months of weekends driving to Iowa to get this done. What is left in my closet are boxes of family history and small personal belongings. When I open these boxes the smell of her house, and my childhood, wafts up bringing sentimental tears to my eyes. Somewhere in her things I found my paternal grandfather’s wallet. In the front pocket was my Kindergarten picture with a four-leaf clover pressed onto it. Behind that was his fishing license. Grandpa died in 1964. Mom never threw that away. I’m crying just writing you about it.

    Not as flashy as Old Ogg, but that is my basement.

    Have a lovely weekend.


    1. That is wonderful.

      Stories like that are why I have to go through everything and can’t just toss things.

      Where in Iowa? I went to elementary school in Coon Rapids and high school in Anamosa.


      1. My ancestors settled Story and Grundy Counties. I grew up on the NW side in LeMars, but I was born in Nevada. The house I sorted was in Boone. Kinda all over the place. Sounds like you are from the East end.


    2. A lovely remembrance. I do feel sorry for your mother, though, Jacque, having to live in a closet all her life. I hope she has been let out on weekends occasionally.


    3. I know Le Mars (Ice Cream Capital of the World) well, Jacque! My parents moved to Akron (IA) 2 weeks before I started college and I worked at what was then the Good Samaritan Home every summer while I was in college.

      I think other than the SW corner of Iowa, I’ve sort of been all over.


  7. Good Morning to All.

    I’m back after missing two days of participation in Trail Baboon and I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms such becoming more grumpy that usual.

    It would be easier for me to answer “what don’t you have in your basement”. I’m like Catherine and should try to avoid looking at this mess. It is best if I don’t even think about all the stuff in my basement. There aren’t very many mechanical toys, but there are more board games than any one could ever hope to play. Of course there are all kinds of things left over from various home improvement projects that I think I might need some day, but really will never use. I could go on and on, but I don’t think I need to say any more this sad situation..


  8. Just sugar and spice and everything nice.

    (I can’t see the reply button on this thing so-Tim, Old Pig Face is fine)


  9. Jacque, I have a friend in Norway who wrote about the emigration to Story City IA…I bet your ancestors are in his book. I tried to help him with contacts from USA, but don’t think I was much help and I don’t know what the results of his search were.


    1. You can have him contact me on my website. Our Norwegians had a summer farm in Telemark, wintered in Bergen. My ancestor was the twelfth son, thus the emigration!


  10. Jacque, your story made me cry. How sweet about the fishing license and the four leaf clover… a treasure.

    I’ve been trying hard for the last couple of years to eliminate things and my basement is one place where I’ve begun to see some success. What’s left is the usual stuff: a rarely used exercise bike, dust, clothes that no longer fit, three dog kennels, more dust, too many canning jars, a table made by an ex-boyfriend, dust, music equipment and old posters.

    My grandma made a sock monkey for me when I was little. I still have him. His name is not Blevins (by the way, where’s Blevins today?)


  11. Well, glad it’s not just our basement full of ‘stuff’. A friend moving once told ‘Every room has to have a purpose or it just becomes a junk room’… man; how true is that!
    We have boxes of left over wood flooring, (waiting for the next room to be done), old maps (they were cheap!), a foosball table my wife won in a drawing, two old TV’s, the extra fridge, the ‘guest room’ bed covered with winter clothing, my ‘office’ and, like so many others, boxes of stuff from deceased aunts and uncles and parents; or just the box of papers from a desk of the divorced brother in law– don’t ask!

    Another friend called a room her ‘Arts and Crap’ Room! Love it!!

    See ya–


  12. We don’t have a basement, although that is about to change. And then the basement will have a drumset! (Husband majored in music and physics.) The drumset will live next to the off-season outdoor gear, motorcycle spare parts and electronics odds and ends (our temp quarters won’t have a garage or shop). I can see it all already.


  13. Someone once commented that I have a “project-oriented lifestyle.” Basement holds things like baby clothes on the way to an orphanage, supplies for next year’s Easter baskets, and extra school supplies. Nothing cool like 4 leaf clovers, still too valuable to toss (?)


    1. Good to know I’m not the only one with kid clothes in the basement waiting to be donated. Also have a crib – but it may be trickier to find a new home for that since it’s an older crib (maybe I should turn it into sculpture).


      1. My favorite option for kid clothes is Joseph’s Coat on West 7th in St Paul. The stuff goes straight to folks who need it. I love the way the folks at Joseph’s Coat treat their clients with such dignity. They have a website for directions, etc.

        I think the crib is waiting to be part of a set.


      2. Thanks for the tip on Joseph’s Coat. Thus far I’ve mostly given things to ARC (sheer laziness, really – they have regular pickups in the neighborhood). Will look up Joseph’s Coat.


  14. Lincoln Logs, mom’s china and a bunch of stuff “I’m going to get to.”

    I’m not sure if I can see TS 3. I kept starting to cry in TS and Bolt. I feel so bad for those left behind.

    Completely off topic: just watched Crazy Heart this morning while donating platelets. Very good. Could imagine a couple of songs from the soundtrack being played by our friend Mike.

    Thinking of Barb, Steve and the goats today. Imagine this is a bittersweet day for the Blackhoof family.


    1. we just waved them down the lane – oh, boo hoo! Alba and Dream are yelling like mad. (only because they think the triplets are getting to do something outside and they want to be there too.) i was thinking of kidnapping Crema, but caved. their new goat mamma is great and they are very lucky.
      thanks for the good thoughts, Cynthia in M


      1. Glad the new home will be good. But boo hoo still! Do something nice for yourselves today. 🙂


      2. Barb — also thinking of you today. Change, even when it’s probably for the good, is always hard. Take some time to curl up on the sofa with a few tissues today!


  15. Along with the above mentioned kid paraphernalia (and more kid stuff), my basement includes: an assortment of power tools, a rowing machine, off-season clothes, books, my grandfather’s collection of wood planes (some of them are really cool looking – just need to find a good place to display them), a metal file cabinet I kicked (and dented) in a fit if pique, and the little grey cat’s favorite hiding places.

    Odd Ogg sounds like one of those toys that is strangely compelling – the sort that one would continue to play with way past when you’re “too old” to so so.


    1. Anna, do you mean woodworking planes or airplanes? I suspect wood working planes… and that’s *very* cool. I’ve got one wood jack plane (I think it’s a jack plane) and several older metal ones. I need to learn how to use them better.


      1. Yes, Ben, wood working planes. Some of them functional, some not. But all of ’em are elegant or pretty in some way, even the plain ones.


  16. Krista and sherrilee,
    An accumulation of canning jars is manageable – make jam and give jars out as holiday gifts. Some jars make their way back to you, and some don’t. The supply dwindles over time. You just need to invest in some fresh lids.


  17. A red and black stuffed bear and a stuffed dog sit on the couch in my basement office. They were hand made by my Grandmother when I was little., They were her toys we got to sleep with when we stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I remember them as story time friends when Grandma read to us at bed time.

    The bear I acquired at my Grandmother’s auction sale. Grandma was moving off the farm to an apartment in town and everything had to go. I was working the auction wagon holding up things for people to bid on with my brother. It was a lot of fun, we were joking with each other and the crowd was having a good time. I remember clipping the battery charger to my brother and trying to get someone in the crowd to plug it in.

    We had just sold a baby buggy full of dolls that Grandma must have acquired after I went to college. Just as I was handing the baby buggy down I saw the bear and I pulled him out. He was already sold so I put him back in the baby buggy. But there is a reason I don’t play poker. The whole crowd could tell the bear meant something to me. After I was done on the wagon the baby buggy buyer found me and I bought my bear back. So there was some drama but everything worked out well.

    I wondered where the stuffed dog went, since in my mind the bear and the dog were boon companions. I didn’t know until after Grandma settled into her new single bedroom apartment. She had kept the dog! He sat behind the door for years, as sort of gentle door stop.

    Years went by, and on a spring day 1 month short of 20 years after my Grandfather died, my Grandmother died. Grandma did not want an estate sale. She said have the kids and grandkids take what they want and donate the rest. So after the funeral we all went to Grandmas apartment, 4 kids, 10 grandkids their spouses and the great grandkids. It was chaotic as you could imagine, going through 93 years of mementos from a full life, but every knew I wanted the dog so everyone made sure he came home with me.

    Other grandkids got furniture, or silver serving utensils, but I could not be happier.


    1. Way cool. (When my grandmother died, we did a similar “divvy up what folks want and donate the rest – without talking to each other, all 5 grandkids wound up with a piece of furniture my grandfather had “blonded” in the 50s…)


  18. I’m trying to remember the commercial-
    Odd Ogg, Odd Ogg
    Half turtle and half frog
    Don’t you laugh at Odd Ogg
    Don’t you laugh at him at all
    Odd Ogg plays ball!
    Can any one confirm or amend my memory?


    1. On You Tube there is an amazing sales film that includes excerpts from the commercials made by Ideal in 1962-3. Just look for this title on you tube: Ideal Toy TV Commercials 1962 1963 part 1 of 3

      They play the Ogg song along with Thumbelina and Robot Commandoy.

      Enjoy the trip down memory lane!


  19. Well, after a day rooting around in the basement, I think everybody’s Grandma lives in there.

    Dale, tomorrow is the day off. Could you let us know next week how life is going for you? How do you like the new blog? Are you going to meet with us at the State FAir at noon, Saturday August 21 at the Biergarten? Will you ask Ann Reed to come and write a song about unemployment and rejection? Do you still rise at 3:30 am? Is this a new beginning or a painful ending or both?

    This blog is the worst internet addiction I’ve ever had. Happy Sunday. See you all on Monday. Now I’m going to the basement/Family room to watch PBS broadcast of “The Way We Were.” And I saw it the first time around.

    Night Jon-Boy


    1. Thanks for caring about the answers to all these questions, Jacque.

      The easiest one to answer is the new beginning/painful ending question, and as you have already guessed, the answer is both.

      I think the new blog is a hoot, and I love the way everybody is using it. Sorry it has turned out to be an addiction for you, but that’s what makes it fun for the rest of us.

      I will have to check on the State Fair idea. It certainly sounds like fun and I love the Fair enough to assure you that I will go, even though I’m not “working” there this year. And I can’t speak for Ann, though she is always helpful and seems to like the songwriting challenge. But I don’t know if a person can just show up and start performing music at the fair. There might be RULES.


  20. Thanks for the fantastic stories everyone. This blog is a pleasure to read thanks to you!
    Here is the Ideal Toys promotional video Beth-Ann mentioned on Youtube.
    The Odd Ogg snippet comes at about the 4:20 point in the 6 minute video.


  21. The Odd Ogg is so very you, Dale–whimsical, whimsical. I love that you still have it.

    Dadkat was raised by two packrats who saved EVERYTHING. Need a couple dozen ice cream buckets? A few boxes of tired Christmas decorations? So our unfinished basement is a big closet for his packrat ways. Old computers, computer parts, computer books. The basement also houses my feline foster room, currently occupied for another month by humane society stray Ms Dandelion and her babies Earth, Wind and Fire.

    Best blog ever, Dale.


  22. i had 5 baseball games to go to yesterday. 3 of my daughters team that i coach ( we won the championship game and have bragging rights for a year) 1 of my sons and then on to tatget field where a bunch of the boys my son palyed ball with got to win the state championship game for eden prairie(he hopes they can do it again next year when he’s on the team.) then off to the after party and home at midnight. a full day was great fun. no way to get to the blofg except for one second to say hi to old pig face. but the beauty of tis blog is it is as much fun reading it as it is being there in this scenario.
    my basement was outsourced a long time ago i have warehouses full of stuff i can’t bear to part with. 3 motorcycles in boxes, giant speakers for sound systems from the 80’s , bicycles sperakers furniture to be repaired art projects half done, boxes of books , cassette tapes vcr tapes.


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