By Susannah Clark
There’s an Easy-Bake Oven in my basement.
While this statement is probably applicable to countless other suburban family households, I have a feeling no one else can say theirs was purchased for and by the same 17-year-old brat.
My mother was, among other things, a toy snob. She avoided the commercial and the tacky.
I grew up with homemade Halloween costumes and American Girl dolls, no batteries required. There was no Nintendo, no Super Soakers, and most tragically, no Easy-Bake Oven.
I’m pretty convinced that my lack of cooking skills today can be attributed to this deprivation.
Every Christmas, every birthday, every trip to the toy store meant to be shopping for someone else, I begged and begged for Hasbro’s mock-oven, and to no avail. The miniature cookies and cake remained unbaked, and I was forced to lead a childhood of desserts made from Play-Doh.
Whether my desire to bake unidentified powder with a light bulb stemmed from a future-desperate-housewife complex or a mere excuse to satisfy my sweet tooth, I cannot say. I can say that my yearning did not go away with age.
Hence that fateful Saturday morning when I lugged a used Easy Bake Oven into the house, purchased from the yard-sale Mecca that is northern Virginia.
Here’s the thing of it: it’s been three years, and I still haven’t used it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my desire for an Easy-Bake Oven was out of pride rather than nostalgia. This is my way of sticking it to my parents.
My overly-trusting parents were not strict in the slightest. I was that kid who didn’t have a curfew, but was somehow by home 1 a.m. every night regardless.
I missed out on classic teenage rebellion, and how am I making up for it? I’m re-seizing my youth through material objects.
The Easy Bake Oven was just the beginning.
In my final three years of teenager-hood I have purchased formerly forbidden items such as Doodle Bears, Spice Girl Barbies, the first season of the ultra-vulgar “Ren and Stimpy Show,” and “Saved By The Bell” …the board game.
Take that Mom.
At least I never got anything pierced.
As the junk piles accumulate and I constantly pay homage to my former child, the ghost of Susannah Clark Present has started her nightly visits.
Now that the thrill of being able to eat McDonalds whenever I want has subdued, I realize my efforts to prove my new found freedom are not only in vain, but rather expensive. It’s time for the spoiled brat to sit in the stewpot.
Quite frankly, the thousands my parents are currently paying for college tuition pretty much makes up for the $29.99 they saved by not buying me an Easy Bake Oven.
Maybe there’s more to parenting then buying toys after all.
But I am still waiting for that Barbie birthday cake I never got.