Weekend Assignment #360: Toy Show
Do you have any old toys or dolls from your childhood, either the originals or replacements purchased as an adult? If so, tell us about them.
Extra Credit: Is there a particular toy from your childhood that you especially remember as a favorite?
I don’t have a lot left from my childhood. Having a single father vanish one day, leaving a suicide note and a pile of bills the week after you graduate college, tends to fuck up your childhood keepsakes.Years of couch surfing afterwards don’t help either.
So I only have one toy left from childhood, And it’s not really form childhood, but a reminder of that childhood. It’s a troll, up in my daughter’s closet. He’s grey, furry, has bare arms and legs, and was made by my grandmother. He’s also one of the few things left of one of the best memories of my life.
By the time I came along, my grandparents were retired. Heart attacks had stopped Grandpa, and a broken back had ended my grandmother’s nursing career. My grandmother loved to sew, so when she got bored one day, she started making stuffed animals. She started with teddy bears, but by the end, she was making two foot tall mermaids, Popeye dolls, and dinosaurs
As her only grandson, I got pretty much all of them. My personal favorite was an orange tyrannosaurus she made for me when I was seven. His name was George. The day my grandfather died, I think I came home from school and just sat on the bed, surrounded by a stuffed menagerie, knowing deeply that nothing was ever going to be the same again.Soon after, she stopped sewing. I think a lot of her left with him that day.
My grandparents were the best thing to ever happen to me. They(and my Aunt Rosie) are the only reason I’m not a complete asshat. They took me cross country, took me in for summers, and made sure I had some time where I was a kid during my childhood. My dad was too busy being an emotionally abusive workaholic, and mom was too busy being a bi-polar drug addict to pay too much attention to me as a kid. To this day,I never need to hear “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, because I’ve fucking lived it.
Sadly, she’s no longer in this world. She died the week before we moved here to North Carolina. Between being in a nursing home and senility, there wasn’t much left of her at that point. She’d endured a broken hip, a scumbag second husband, and all my teenage nihilism . But she got to see me married and raising a family of my own. She and Archie left some big shoes to fill, and I try every day to.
So when I’m feeling lost in this world, I take that troll down. I swear I can smell their house, the scent of oil soap, her Oil of Olay, and Granddad’s talc all mingled together. I can hear the polka music, and them arguing who won this round of 500 rummy. And I listen to my daughter sleep and think, Hey, it’ll be OK.
Extra credit: Best kids toys, other than the ones I mentioned above, were Micronauts, Legos, Dark Tower, Macross model kits, and Star Wars action figures.