The YoYo Man
How many people remember the YoYo Man? He was the guy who came to our school every year putting on YoYo demonstrations and selling his ware to any of the kids who wanted one. YoYo's used to be a major toy. Some guys (girls usually didn't do YoYo's) would get very good at the art of YoYoing. It would be announced about a week ahead of his coming that he would be at the school. All of us who wanted a new YoYo would have time to scrounge up the money to buy a fancy model with rhinestones on the sides or some design crafted into it. In addition, the YoYo Man would carve your name on your "unique" YoYo in Chinese. I guess it was Chinese, who knows? It was something that looked Chinese anyway and we were no less proud of it.
On the given day we would be given a special, longer, recess at which time we could buy our YoYo and also see a demonstration by the YoYo Man as to how to use one. He could do all the tricks. 'Round the World, Walk the Dog, the Porch Swing....all of them. He was a genius! His YoYo never lost its spin. It never got tangled up. It always jumped up to his hand after he had made it hesitate at the end of the string. He was really good! We all thought that if we had one of his YoYo's we could do the same tricks especially if it had our name in Chinese on it...fifty cents extra! All the boys thought they had the coolest YoYo especially if they had enough money for one of the ones with the rhinestones AND then their name in Chinese!
I wonder whatever happened to that YoYo Man? He was a passing fancy in a bygone era. But, he was important to all of us who bought his hand-carved, rhinestone studded YoYos in whatever color we wanted. I still like YoYos. I have a small collection of them that I pick up from place to place. I bought one at the gift shop up on Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. I played with my YoYo and looked at several states at one time. I got one at the SBC meeting one year. A Baptist College was giving them away as favors at their booth in the convention bookstore. I pick them up everywhere. Can't pass one up. The YoYo Man "hooked" me. My grandchildren love to play with them and always ask me to show them how to make it work. So, I put on a demonstration with my limited abilities and they are astounded when they see it work. "Takes a little practice," I tell them so they won't feel too bad when they can't master it right away. But, they have fun. One of them always says....PaPa Bill, can I have one of your YoYos? "No....you can't." "Sorry." "I love you but my YoYos are not give away material. I will buy you anything, but you can't have one of my YoYos. I love you no less but the YoYos are off limits." "Be sure you put it back where you found it and wind up the string, please."
That YoYo Man was never aware of the impact he had on the lives of many a boy. But anyway, I'm glad I lived in a day when I could meet The YoYo Man! It was an innocent day when the kids were not burdened down with all that they are exposed to today. Kids had a "childhood" and they were allowed to live it. Today, the YoYo Man would be considered an oddity. He would not be exciting enough and would never draw a crowd. It's sad to see that day pass by when we could all enjoy seeing The YoYo Man.
William F. Harrell