Fond memories of The Fighting Lady

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 at 03:14 PM.

After what seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, Mom and Dad finally appeared. Yay!

Teasing us about waiting until after breakfast to open gifts and listening to our in-unison cries of “NOOOOOOOOO,” Dad commenced his service as Santa’s helper, doling out the gifts at a snail’s pace. My only real package was always passed over in favor of what turned out to be new socks or underpants.

Finally, Dad handed me the big box and announced, “To Barry from Santa.” I hungrily tore into that bright blue foil wrapping to reveal the best Christmas gift I ever received — The Fighting Lady.

The Fighting Lady was a motorized “assault battleship” toy on wheels equipped with a battery-operated, turreted gun whose rotation could be controlled by a lever on the ship’s “bridge.” Another lever shot plastic bullets across the room (often at my little sister) from the gun.

As if that wasn’t enough, Lady was bristling with depth charges and a spring-loaded, “flyable” airplane that could be launched from her decks. She had a loud fog horn designed to thrill boys and irritate moms. Wow, was she built. She had it all.

The Fighting Lady — she was the neatest, coolest toy a 7-year-old boy could receive in 1960. And she was the Christmas gift I best remember receiving as a kid, above all the others, even to this day 53 years later. She was my all-time favorite toy until, as young men are prone to do, I tired of her, ultimately finding more interest in real, flesh and blood fighting ladies.

In more or less in the same shape I received her from Santa in 1960, first my Mom and then I kept her lovingly preserved in her original box. Giving being more important than receiving, I gave her to my own son in 1988 when he was 7.

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