Changing schools as ofyen as I did in elementary grades, I only got to see the Yo-Yo man at one school. It was understood that a visit from this magical person would come once a year.
When I was ten, and living in San Diego, the playground underground began buzzing with the news that the Yo-Yo man was coming to town the next day. I did not own a yo-yo, so my Dad took me to the local dime store to buy me a bright shiny red Duncan yo-yo. The model he bought was the OH BOY, and it had tiny silver stars painted all over it. I thought it the most beautiful thing I ever saw.
The Yo-Yo man was the salesman-demonstrator from the Duncan Yo-Yo company who traveled from school to school, seducing kids with the most exciting tricks imaginable.
It was astonishing what you could do with with two round chunks of wood on an axel wound with with a few feet of string. The tricks had cool names like Walk The Dog, Sleeper, 3-Leaf Clover, and Round the World. Every kid could could do a gravity pull, but it took real skill to master some of the others.
My Dad spent the evening before the big event teaching me the finer points of yo-yo while my Mother shook her head in disbelief that a grown man could take such pleasure in tossing the new toy around. I was so impressed that my father, old as he was, could actually do yo-yo tricks.
The children were allowed to come onto the playground and watch the display class by class. Every kid had a yo-yo clutched in his or her hand while watching breathlessly. The teacher monitor stood in the background to make sure there was no undue rowdiness. As the Yo-Yo man performed his tricks. everybody tried them out themselves.
A large box of the product was beside the man ready to sell to anyone who had the right number of coins. Most of the boys especially had been saving their pennies for this occasion.
At the end of the demonstration, the Yo-Yo man invited a few kids who looked like promising customers to come up and do a few loop the loops in front of thje group. After the exhibition, two or three lucky ones got free yo-yos to take home and brag about. I wonder if there are still kids around who can Skin-the-Cat?