August 1950. A magical month for 8 year-olds at the Jersey Shore.

We got 25₵ each day to spend anyway we wished, on comic books (10₵) or candy or games at the arcade! Our best fun adventure, though, was crawling under the boardwalk to find fallen treasure – coins or small gumball machine prizes  – that had slipped out of tiny hands or torn pockets through the cracks into the sand below. It was a joyous time of freedom and discovery for our little barefoot band.

Funny Papers charms  Davy Crockett pins  Nursery Rhyme characters  Record Albums

Some of Myrna's charms collection  All the charms were wonderfully detailed miniatures from our everyday life – plastic and metal fans that actually spun, chrome toasters, one-inch playing cardsKnife charms frrom the 1950s, jewelry, record albums, Loony Tune characters, REAL knives, and Cracker Jack wiggle pictures.

Bulbs charmsGirl's Wristwatch charmRobin Hood Puzzle

In the evenings we traded with friends to complete our own collections, lovingly organizing charms by color, shape, item and uniqueness. At bedtime we returned our treasures to their cigar boxes and secreted them under our pillows.

I remember being endlessly fascinated with the visual trickery of Cracker Jack wiggle pictures.

Cracker Jack - Good    Cracker Jack - "Luck"I’m certain these must have been the first optical illusion playthings that started my journey to becoming an award-winning anamorphic toy inventor.  An omen?  Cracker Jack, thank you!

Wiggle pictures (or flip pictures) are technically known as lenticulars.