Yes, I collect dolls, and I play with them too. It is not that I am suddenly turning female in second childhood, it is rather that as I near the ultimate end-of-life diaper time, I am taking things slower and appreciating everything.
I remember the mid-1990s.
At that time my wife noticed that I still had my childhood action figures and occasionally worked on restoring them. At the time those particular toys were hot collector’s items. With the internet came E-Bay, and with E-Bay came the power to find and collect old toys that were rising in value daily. Derfy nutcases like me were willing to spend actual money to revisit the toys of our youth. I bought things like the Captain Action vintage Superman costume, seen in my bedroom next to my hospital cup. My wife started the whole Barbie craze by buying some for herself and starting me on a downward spiral of me buying old and new Barbie dolls for her. That’s when the doll collection spiraled out of control. I did manage to sell some here and there and make a bit of money, but eventually, the collectors’ market dried up as nerdy derfs managed to spend all their money on dolls and couldn’t buy more.
I remember the mid-1960s when I loved G. I. Joe and Captain Action.
My relationship to toys goes back to a childhood where I basically had two younger sisters to play with. My little brother was eight years younger than me. So, most of the play time that wasn’t engaged in alone was all about me providing the adventure story that we were playing, and then directing my sisters either through my action figures and their Barbie dolls (Though one sister’s favorite was a Tammy doll) or through our imaginary selves to fight off the bog monsters, werewolves, and Nazi soldiers that tried to keep us from reaching our goals. We taught ourselves teamwork, problem-solving, and social skills by playing through fantasy adventures in the basement or in the yard, or, better still, in Grandpa’s barn.
I told you yesterday about Tagger, my toy tiger. I remember him as the longest-ago toy memory I can recall.
So, now that I’ve brought you all the way back to the 60s and the roots of my memories of playing with toys, let me explain to you why that’s been so much on my tiny old mind. My current WIP (Walnut Imitating Potatoes… no, correct that… Work In Progress) is called Fools and Their Toys. It is a story about desperately needing to communicate, even if you are a deaf-mute, an autistic young man, a victim of abuse, or a mentally challenged grown man. And the main character is a toy. That is, he is the narrator of the whole story even though he is actually a ventriloquist’s zebra puppet. I am not the only fool who plays with toys long past the appropriate age. And I have to tell this story because that’s the rule to this fantasy adventure game called life. Always play until the end. I have done that before. I am doing that still.
Here’s a link to help prove that playing with toys as a kid is not bad for you; https://wehavekids.com/parenting/How-Toys-Impact-Childrens-Development