I'm not that adventurous when it comes to the variety of balloons I play with. Buying Tilly 76s was a big step for me. Almost as big as finding the courage to blow them up. Mostly I have Qualatex 11s and 16s, and I don't even get the chance to use the 16s that often.
Those balloon sizes are actually a change from what I grew up with. It mostly had to do with availability, but I do sometime have a little bit of longing for the balloons I used to play with as a child, a teen, and a young adult, and frankly I think they affected the course of my fetish. It may have manifested itself very differently had I had access to the balloons I use now.
For one thing, the balloons of my youth were smaller. I often was limited to what we used to call "penny balloons," which I now know were 5s and 318s. Most of these were cheap brands, some were from Bluebird (Ashland), but occasionally I would get lucky and find Qualatex.
I remember the original Qualatex clown logo from when I was very little. It was the brand my doctor gave me after a visit. Can you even imagine doctors handing out uninflated balloons now, with latex allergies and choking hazard concerns? Wow.
The balloons my doctor gave out, though, were not 5s or 318s, they were 9s, which seemed like big balloons to me at the time. They are also the balloons I began to stuff into my pajamas. Would I have started that if the balloons had been bigger? I mean, two inches doesn't seem like much, but it makes a real difference.
Anyway, that's just speculation. I have a lot of fond memories of developing my fetish for balloon with nine-inch balloons. Sadly, as far as I can tell, Qualatex no longer makes them.
Also missing from the Qualatex line-up are 318s and 524s, the long balloons I also used to enjoy slipping down the legs of my PJs on the rare occasions when I had them. I had the same fear of blowing them up that I recently experienced with the Tillys. I had a lot more accidental pops with airships then with round balloons. Keep in mind that I was a complete non-popper until my teens.
I also remember the colors being different, especially for a time when I was a young adult. The greens and pinks, especially, had a different quality to them that I can't describe. If I saw them today, I probably wouldn't find them as attractive as the standard colors now, and of course, they didn't have the beautiful jewel tones that I mostly buy now. But those color do bring back memories.
I also remember that black balloons never got firm. I never blew them up even close to popping, of course, but they stayed so soft and squishy. I enjoyed that, but I also always expected them to pop too easily. Even now, I prefer a balloon that takes some punishment before it gives up.
There's no sense trying to recapture the past. Not only are those balloons no longer available, but I've changed, too. My balloon play is different, and with a wife and children, my circumstances are very different, too. If I had a bag of Qualatex 9s, I'm not sure I would really enjoy them that much.
But I'm glad I had them when I did. They serve me just fine as satisfying memories.