Of Gifts and Disappointment

The following question was posed recently as part of a writing challenge. Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? My first thought was something akin to, “Duh!” Then my introspective side kicked in, and I remembered something even more disappointing related to gifts.

In my childhood home, as in many homes, gift-giving included factoring in the age of the person receiving the gift. Many reading this, if many read it, will nod in agreement at this point. After all, manufacturer’s often label boxes with age ranges, and retailers offer online guidelines concerning appropriate toys for different ages.

As children grow older, sibling rivalry over gifts is not unknown, especially in cases such as mine. My younger brother and I were just over a year apart, which led my parents to treat us as twins for several years. They dressed us alike and acted as if we were equals in other ways until our DNA sequences led to me becoming the “big brother” chronologically, physically, and developmentally.

Truthfully, that was not much of a problem until I was in junior high school. Then some gifts and privileges were more appropriate for me than my much smaller, less mature younger brother. The first problem came when my folks told me I could not have a particular gift until I turned thirteen.

The gift in question was a CO2-powered six-shooter BB gun. We were big western movie fans, and our dad competed in quick draw competitions. That meant this was a BIG DEAL. I could start preparing for a real pistol and my turn at competitions.

On my birthday, I awoke expecting to be handed my first almost real handgun and holster. Mom and dad made us wait in our bedroom until they were up that morning. Then they came in. Dad smiled and handed me my six-shooter, belt, and holster.

I was in cowboy heaven on earth. My grin probably lit up the room enough people outside the house could have seen it if it were still dark. Then mom stepped up and gave my brother the same BB gun and holster. I guess the look on my face let my folks know I was a bit upset. They quickly started explaining why they gave us matching gifts on my birthday.

They didn’t think it was fair for my brother to wait another year for his gun. Also, the age thing wasn’t a problem because I would be with him to make certain he didn’t do anything dangerous.

So there I was. Not only did my kid brother get the same gift I had waited years for, but they saddled me with “big brother” responsibilities. Of course, that was just the beginning. From that point on, if age was involved, he got to the gift or gift of privilege at the same time I did.

When I received a real .22 caliber six-shooter, he got one at the same day time. When I was old enough to have a motorcycle for off-road use only, he got one as well. When they finally gave me permission to ride around on a weekend night in a slightly older friend’s car, guess who was sitting in the back seat.

© oneoldcop – 2021

About S. Eric Jackson

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3 Responses to Of Gifts and Disappointment

  1. Pingback: Friday Follies: You Talking to Me? | An Old Cop's Place

  2. Eric,
    Thanks for an excellent post that brings one right back to the “good old days”, although to be quite honest, I cannot remember any of my childhood birthday gifts. I was three years older than my twin siblings so your problem certainly would not have occurred. It is amazing what our memories consider important, particularly when it was many years ago. My memory is very selective, and while some things are crystal clear, others seem to indicate that maybe I was not even there. I am trying, very trying, to write a memoir, and that certain tests the memory cells. I will just have to stop procrastinating, whatever that long word means?
    Thanks once again, Regards, Phil

    • Phil,

      Thanks for getting back to me on the post. I have the same problem with my memory. In fact, I am almost certain some of my very early memories are the result of my mom telling stories over and over every time we met new people. Since we moved a lot, new neighbors and adult friends were common.

      Also, Dad was a professional (sort of) photographer. Until many photos were destroyed due to improper storage, much of our life was extensively documented with photos and old home movies. There are some incidents I can “recall” that must be reconstructions based on the stories and pictures.

      For instance, I cannot recall a documented case of a six month old having clear memories of a traumatic accident. I however, have “memories” of my great-grandmother almost killing me with boiling water.

      As for the memoir thing, I have one completed and awaiting a final edit. I even have a plan for a market test of sorts through my blog. The problem is getting up the courage to put it out there. I am working on a new webpage/blog site and hopefully will put part of it out there when that goes up.

      Take care,


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