In preparation for my visit home last week, my mother took out many of my old toys. I had no idea she’d kept them. There was the telephone that is pulled by a cord and rings as the rotary numbers are dialed. There was a round ball that when rolled rocks the carousel-like horses within and makes music. And there was something that looked like an hourglass, with colored beads that moved from one side to another and a mirror on either end. And there were the building blocks that may or may not have been painted with lead paint.
I didn’t remember the hourglass but all the others brought back memories from long, long ago. My mom, an antique collector, said she held onto the Fisher Price toys because they hold their value. She said she saw one toy she kept, a see-through robotic toy that you wind up by cranking and you can see all the gears move, in an antique store for $300. I remember playing with that. I am now an antique – scary!
We just bought River a Fisher Price toy – a bag shaped like a potato that is filled with a variety of plastic tools that make different sounds. I wouldn’t have thought about keeping that, or really any of his toys, beyond our childbearing years. I wouldn’t have expected a pretty cheap plastic toy to have any value. But I forget that what seems insignificant now may be unique later on. More importantly, I learned that coming back into contact with childhood toys can bring back feelings from an era decades old and almost forgotten. That’s worth more than any antique shop could fetch.