Today I found the most amazing toy store along Solano Avenue. It is a cramped little place stuffed with new and old toys. Half the store has the new stuff-the trendy Melissa & Doug toys, all brightly colored, no batteries required, wooden treasures, the plush animals, the top-of-line soft-sided lunch boxes and the cutest tea sets. But better than anything they have several shelves with bins of 1970's era play things. My toys. Mostly Fischer Price. They have the Little People Barn, The House, The Garage. They had the chatter phone, the plastic train set. They had toys I did not remember until I saw them once more in all their plastic glory. I had to have them. For some reason My Toys, seem so much better than the ones that fill the aisles of Target today. All the noisy battery-operated gadgets my sons play with. My Toys required imagination, My Toys were cuter, My Toys were simply more fun. Or whatever. In any case I had an urge to posses these Fischer Price wonders once again.
These toys must be in high demand. The Little People House with the yellow roof, which I remember so vividly ran $300. $300! So apparently I am not the only one overcome with nostalgia when presented with the toys of my youth. So rather than springing for the big ticket items, I opted for a Ziploc bag containing two little people with of their "toys" a blue airplane, a green and white horse on yellow wheels, a blue car with a white steering wheel that moves up and down and a bright red choo-choo. And then I saw the fire truck, and the memory was so very vivid. Red plastic with a yellow retractable latter. The fire man in white and black. It was crazy. Seeing that fire truck, it felt like it was just yesterday I was five years old and zooming it around my bedroom floor. Building a city with wooden blocks, and driving my little people in and out of it in their various automobiles. As I grew a little older my sister and I would play with those toys for hours and hours. Touching it, I felt almost transformed to my preschool self, and I think I love that toy as much today as I did then, perhaps more.
I bought those toys for my children, but have an urge to keep them tucked away in my dresser for myself. For what? So I can take them out and play with them when nobody is looking? Well that is just silly. So I let Zachary play with them, and he regarded him with as much interest as he does any of his toys, with an initial burst of enthusiasm which will soon give way to general ambivalence. I look around his crowded playroom and wonder which if any of this toys will he remember? What memories will he treasure 30 years from now? Perhaps he will remember our walk along Solano today, buying pumpkins on a cool fall autumn afternoon, and stopping in a toy store where his mommy bought him special toys, and took him home to play.