1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Slinky: A Boomeresque Tangle

by Suzanne Fluhr on January 26, 2020 · 7 comments

slinky toy

When I was a child, not only couldn’t we entertain ourselves with I-Pads, we even had to watch a TV show when it was actually being broadcast. In my family, we were allowed to watch one half hour “educational” TV show after school. The rest of the time, we could read actual books, do our homework, ride our bikes, and play with toys. (I know some of you rolled your eyes and thought “O.K., Boomer” as soon as you read, “When I was a child….”)

During my childhood, some of our “toys” were pretty simple. When our sons were young, they learned some of their first “bad words” thanks to their parents (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Excitement) hopping on one leg while saying things like *&$^ or $&##@**%& after stepping on a Lego piece barefooted. We could elicit similar howls from our parents because we played with jacks, diabolical little pieces of spiky metal. We could also entertain ourselves with less lethal playthings; for example, Slinkys—basically, a metal coil.

slinky toy

One of the more fun things to do with a Slinky was to make it “walk” down a flight of stairs. (Credit: Wikimedia, Roger DeLassus, CC Lic. 3.0)

As a native Philadelphian, I was interested to learn that the Slinky was developed by Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer working at a Philadelphia naval shipyard during the Second World War. His job was to develop springs to stabilize ship instruments in rough seas. As with the antibiotic penicillin that was “discovered” when scientist Alexander Fleming accidentally contaminated a petri dish of bacteria with a mold, Mr. James “discovered” the idea for the Slinky when he accidentally knocked a nautical spring off a shelf at work and watched it “walk” across the floor. (Of course, I’m not equating the importance to humankind of penicillin and the Slinky, just the accidental nature of their discoveries.)

While idly “tangling” recently, I realized that one of the patterns I was using reminded me of my childhood Slinky. I searched all the tangles in and did not find that this tangle had been deconstructed and published. If it has been published elsewhere with a different name, let me know, but I find it useful, especially for borders, so I thought it was worth sharing. It is also fairly uncomplicated and there are many some days when uncomplicated is about all I can manage. It can be illustrated in only 4 steps, so I think it comports with the requirements for use with the Zentangle™ method.

Here are the Slinky “step outs” with some examples of how I’ve used it.

Step outs for Slinky tangle

Here I’ve used it as the border in a zendala (mandala):

Zendala, Mandala with Slinky as a border tangle

Here are the other tangles I’ve published on Boomeresque:  PhirstSegundoTerceroAurabeadAlohaSpearatorSpringishSpangles, Dinoflor, and Shorely.

Try some of the Hump Day Zentangle Challenges on Facebook. I’d be happy to add you to the group.

Copyright notice: You are free to “pin” these step outs to your or another’s Pinterest account as long as you link back to this post which will happen automatically if you pin from here. You may print these steps outs with attribution for non-commercial use. If you wish to use these steps commercially, please contact me. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Roz warren January 26, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Growing up in the 60s was fun!

Sincerely, an okay boomer


Suzanne Fluhr January 27, 2020 at 11:35 am

Growing up in the 60s had its moments. Then there was also radioactive snow from open air A-bomb tests, the Vietnam War, assasinations (JFK, MLK and RFK). Sometimes it felt like the world was spinning out of a control. But, one could always play with one’s Slinky for a few moments of escape.


Greenglobaltrek January 27, 2020 at 2:39 am

Hi, found you on Patti’s blog and jumped over to catch a read.

Ah, this brought back memories ( yup another boomer)…slinkys and jacks and did you play with yo yos? Loved those. Grew up with no TV, as it was banned in South Africa . Probably a blessing. Few toys, lots of art materials and nature.

Love your mandala. I’ve always called that design a curly Q, never associated it with the slinky, until now!



Suzanne Fluhr January 27, 2020 at 11:33 am

Thanks for stopping by. Our parents were quite strict about TV watching. We were allowed to watch the 1 half hour educational show and 1 other show per week. On the weekends we were allowed to watch cartoons. As a result, I think we all became accomplished readers. And yes, it was really painful to step on a wayward piece from a jacks set.


Nan Loyd January 29, 2020 at 5:43 pm

I recall we only got to watch television on weekends and watched whatever was on – OR, sneaky mom – whoever was doing the ironing could pick a show (yeah, right, from 3 channel choices and snowy Channel 13 PBS). I remember Wonderful of Disney and Wild Kingdom. And I LOVED my Slinky, pouring it form hand to hand. I remember, too, playing Marbles – cat eyes, keepsies, peewies, biggies… Leland began finding marbles when he was digging for a garden once – I have a huge bowl of beautiful marbles he’s found for me which is a reminder of younger days – and love!


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