I have basically written an awful awful lot about my toys. (The awful is repeated on purpose because I have been having a really awful time this week for reasons I will post about if I survive them). And there is a reason a retired old man who seems to be rotting away into a second childhood is so obsessed with toys. Playing is my primary goal for every day right now because darkness is closing in and, while play for children is practice for life in the future, play for an old man can be the reanimation of all the good things in life.
I have been a toy-maker and a toy-restorer as a part of my over-all quest to be an artist. I even made some money with an online e-Bay store where I sold collectibles and restored toys. I bought toys from Goodwill and re-sale stores, repaired them and cleaned them, and sold them for twice the sum I bought them for. I also made a few porcelain dolls in a kiln I bought in the 1990’s when my mother and I became porcelain doll-makers. I would show you some of my babies, but the real live children have managed to break all the dolls except for a couple my mother made. (Well, toys are made to be played with, right?) But I do still have many of the repaired and cleaned toys that I either didn’t sell or couldn’t bring myself to part with.
I have also been a model railroader since childhood, spending countless hours building tunnels and repainting rolling stock, and making buildings and scenery from kits and plaster. I haven’t rebuilt my layout since moving north away from South Texas, but maybe I will get to that too in my retirement and second childhood.
I do still have some trolley street scenes on the tops of book cases.
And toys serve as memory objects. They can do magic with time and space. I have saved many of my toys from childhood. Toys were precious and mostly Christmas and birthday gifts. I learned to save and salvage them because they treated me well, and… well, I owed them the same in return. My own children were not like that. They loved toys to pieces and even sometimes ate them, to a point where many of them were un-fixable junk. But toys bring things back to life from the long-gone past. Take for instance the toy in this next picture;
No, I don’t mean the baby doll. He grew up and joined the Marine Corps. I mean the stuffed white tiger in the background. That was the first toy I ever bought for baby Dorin. And it is still with us, though not as fluffy and pretty as it was in the picture. My daughter, the Princess, inherited it and christened it “Baby Tiger”. That is, of course, still its name to this very day. I look at it and see all three of them… my super-destructo toy-flinging and clockwork-wrecking children. And it is the toys that we have all played with that still link us all together even though they are almost grown.