Once upon a time and long ago, a line of products launched by Topper Toys were almost every little girl's dream.

Once upon a time and long ago, a line of products launched by Topper Toys were almost every little girl's dream.  
Suzy Homemaker products were miniature working appliances designed to take playing house to a new level of reality.  Suzy Homemaker made a blender, a mixer, an oven, a super grill, a dishwasher, an iron and ironing board, and a vacuum cleaning with multiple accessories.  They were cute and they actually worked.  
Before I received my Suzy Homemaker super grill, I had an Easy Bake Oven.  And it did bake tiny cakes using the heat of a light bulb or mine did until some older friends tried to bake icing, not cake.
The sugar mess bubbled over the workings of the Easy Bake Oven and it was never quite the same.
I had a child size kitchen table and chairs, a play stove, and a French white trimmed in gold plastic buffet.  I had sets of toy dishes and pans but my young fingers itched to cook and my Suzy Homemaker Super Grill made it possible.
With some adult supervision, I grilled hot dogs on my grill and maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches. It fueled my ambition to cook and propelled me to experiment with actual stoves.
I hoped for the full-line of miniature appliances but the grill proved to me my first and only Suzy Homemaker appliance.
As the women's lib movement marched forward, the domestic toys that were advertised to teach little girls to be just like mom fell out of favor and became just a memory.
The phrase 'Suzy Homemaker' lingers in our collective consciousness though. Sometimes, it's used to refer to anyone who can whip on an apron and be domestic.  Sometimes it's more of an insult.
I don't know if I ever made Suzy Homemaker status.  I am descended from a long line of working women, my mother who was a Social Security claims representative, both of  my grandmothers who both worked before it was fashionable, and at least two of my great-grandmothers.  I spent a few sweet years as a stay-at-home mom when my kids were small but I also wrote.
I had a few ongoing writing gigs during that time and did freelance work before focusing on fiction.
Then, when my youngest was in the second grade, I headed back to work a substitute teacher.
I never dreamed of becoming a substitute teacher but I did subject my younger brother to endless hours of what I called "Little School".
My career aspirations tended toward writing.  I knew I wanted to be a writer at an early age.  I read a lot of biographies so I admired Nellie Bly, the female reporter who pioneered investigative journalism.  I also liked Lois Lane, the fictional Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who had her byline in the Daily Planet alongside Clark Kent, also known as Superman.
While I don't claim to be acquainted with Clark Kent, Jimmy Olson, or even Superman, now that I'm a reporter, one of my cousins dubbed me Lois Lane.  I won't say if I like it more than the Suzy Homemaker moniker but balancing the two roles can be challenging.  If I could wear one hat or another, life might be simpler.  As far as I can recall, neither Suzy or Lois had a husband or children.  So homemaker, reporter, wife, and mom combined make me a modern woman, beyond the scope of what the average Suzy Homemaker young wannabee ever imagined.
There's an old song that says from a Chevy to a Lincoln, from paper shades to curtains, from neon lights to crystal chandeliers but me, I made the journey from Suzy Homemaker to Lois Lane and found  some piece of reality somewhere in between.


Lee Ann Murphy is a staff writer and writes for the Neosho Daily News.