I’m happy to report that I finally have a beautiful toy box – Shaw Local
I don’t think I’ve ever had a real toy box. But that has changed.
When I was very young and we visited friends – friends who had children our own age – I was excited. It didn’t happen often and my joy depended on who we went to see.
Or should I say… What we were going to see. Unfortunately, I remember toys more than playmates. Especially when their toy box (or often their bedroom floor) was one big treasure chest.
It was like Christmas morning, pulling out toys: farm tools, dump trucks, graders, horses with little saddles, tanks and army soldiers and other surprises.
My excitement was rooted in envy. I didn’t have many toys. (So I didn’t really need a toy box.)
I have old black and white photos of me wearing a cowboy hat and a holstered gun. And there’s a picture of me on a tractor – the kind you pedal.
So I had toys and I remember things that I treasured.
I loved those cap guns with that special aroma. And baseball cards (probably valuable today) strapped to the spokes of my bike – the more “motor” noise the better.
I remember roller skates that you had to attach with a “key” to your shoes. I pushed and pushed that wrench, but the pads rarely stayed on my slippery, rubbery tennis shoe soles for long.
There were ice skates, baseball equipment, my first new bike. And I can’t forget the large piece of wood carved into a knife that I had stuffed into a fur sheath. I took it with me to climb trees. (Think of Tarzan).
Some toys were very important. Like the pool table that appeared in the basement on Christmas morning. It wasn’t regulation size, but neither was I. I’ve had this toy for years.
So I had my toys when I was a kid. And here’s the thing…I always do. And always will be.
We all enjoy our toys. No matter how old you are, you probably have a “toybox” somewhere.
Toys are the things we associate with fun. They give us joy. There is no age limit for this.
Toys evolve, of course. I’m no longer into cap guns. (I miss that aroma, though. And my Tarzan “knife”.)
Some toys we don’t leave behind. I have a friend who loves all things Superman. And another friend who buys small, expensive replicas of historical soldiers. Both men are retired.
Today I have a lot of toys. This is where I should offer a little confession. When I visit others, especially for the first time, I still explore their rooms for toys. In particular, I search for my favorite toys. The kind that still makes me want to grab and play.
Yes, I’m talking about books. I have hundreds of them stacked on shelves along several walls in my basement.
And it might please you to know that I can say with great certainty that a basement makes a wonderful toy box.
• Lonny Cain, retired editor of the Times in Ottawa, was also a reporter for the Herald-News in Joliet in the 1970s. His paperwork email is [email protected] Or mail The Times, 110 W. Jefferson St., Ottawa, IL 61350.