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The one Christmas present I always wanted

...but never got

By D-DonohoePublished 6 months ago 4 min read
The Fonz pinball machine

Now I’m sure most people have memories of Christmas mornings when they went downstairs to open what was left by Santa Claus and to their delight, they got what they had asked for. This is not one of those stories.

The year was 1978. A lot of things happened that year:

  • Superman, The Movie was released in cinemas
  • Van Halen put out their debut album, and air guitaring was never the same gain.
  • In Australia, the first recognized act of terrorism occurred with the Hilton Hotel bombing
  • Kenny Rogers released an instructional song about responsible poker playing called “The Gambler”

The year was also a bumper year for television shows debuting including 'Diff'rent Strokes,' 'Taxi', 'Battlestar Galactica', ‘Fantasy Island’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’.

But there was another show that continued to pull in audiences, because of its nostalgia and likable cast of characters, that show was ‘Happy Days’. It was pretty much a smash hit from the get-go. Milwaukee in the 1950s, the Cunningham family, and all the nostalgia, how could it not be a hit?

Then there was one of the central characters, the king of cool. He rode a motorbike, and got the jukebox to start with a hearty thump, women wanted him, and men wanted to be like him. Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler was known by every kid with access to a television set.

I would try on my dad’s black leather jacket to look as cool as the Fonz. Only years later did I find out that my dad was cool in real life, and I could have just emulated him instead. But at the time, I wanted to be the cool guy that hung out at Ralph’s Diner.

Now for whatever reason, I don’t recall there being a heap of toys around for Happy Days, I guess there was an oversupply of Star Wars-related toys at the time, so it may not have stood out in my memory. But there was one toy that had me keen from the moment I saw an ad on TV for it.

The Fonz Pinball Machine was amazing! It combined the coolest human on the planet with one of the best things to play at the Fish and Chips shop, a pinball machine. I could have a pinball machine in my own home! This was the present I needed that Christmas!

I set about articulating my argument for why I needed it. For one, it was a pinball machine, and I would happily share it with my sister (that was of course a lie but I needed to make the claim).

Secondly, it was so cool. It was just so cool. I needed to have it. Denying me access to the Fonzie pinball machine would be some form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Lastly, it was the only present I ever wanted and if I got that, I would never, ever, for the rest of my life ask for another present again.

I mean this ad basically did the selling for me

I was certain that with such a compelling case, Santa Claus would of course have to get me the pinball machine. But it was as if my parents had a secret adult connection with the big guy in the red suit because they were sending me messages that I shouldn’t expect to receive my requested present.

Now I had to up my game. So, I turned to the nagging strategy. We spent that Christmas down at my grandparents’ farm and I was sharing my request with everyone that would listen. It went a little bit like this:

I want the Fonz pinball machine. All I want is the Fonz pinball machine. I need a Fonz pinball machine. I can’t wait to see the Fonz pinball machine on Christmas morning. I want a…

At that point, my Nanna stepped in. She was a woman who stood about four feet tall, and yet everyone in the family was terrified of her. She had heard me talk about the Fonz pinball machine for the week leading up to Christmas and she had enough because she told me that if I mentioned a Fonzie pinball machine one more time she’d whack me with a broom. As I said, we were all terrified of this woman and I had no reason to think she wouldn’t take to me with her broom, so I didn’t mention it in her earshot at all on Christmas Eve.

The whole family went along to Midnight mass, and then exhausted we fell into bed. The next morning was filled with excitement and wonder as my sister and I raced out to the Christmas tree.

Now I don’t remember what I got for Christmas that year. I do remember that I didn’t get the Fonzie pinball machine.

I know that I’m sounding like an ungrateful child. I know that whatever Santa brought me that year was a really nice present, I just never got to realize my dream of a Fonzie pinball machine. A friend of my sisters got one, and I kept trying to find reasons to go over to their house, but I never got the chance to play it.

Bright colors to get you in

It’s one thing that remains on my bucket list, to track down, purchase, and enjoy. With a significant birthday coming up soon I have dropped a number of not-very-subtle hints to my wife. I am not sure if she has picked up what I’m putting down yet.

But one day I hope to be saying “Aaaay” as I reach a high score on the Fonz pinball machine.

Thanks for reading this stroll down memory lane. If you enjoyed it, please like, comment, or even feel free to leave a tip to go towards that pinball machine.


About the Creator


Amateur storyteller, LEGO fanatic, leader, ex-Detective and human. All sorts of stories: some funny, some sad, some a little risqué all of them told from the heart.

Thank you all for your support.

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Comments (2)

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  • C. Rommial Butler6 months ago

    Enjoyed this so much! Written well, and evokes the inner child!

  • Babs Iverson6 months ago

    Fabulous story down memory lane!!!😊💖💕

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