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Toy Story


By Charles Grace

Things we grew up with are usually met with a smile. An artifact of a simpler time makes us pause to appreciate what we have or had, or what we have become.

“I had that when I was little!” is a familiar cry at auctions or flea markets, but few follow through and actually pick it up, hold it, or even buy it. Again.
CRANK IT UP Sears ad for Mattel’s Character “Ge-tars”
SERENADING SIBLINGS My brother and sister are indifferent to my performance

Not the case with toy collectors. They will show you their collection but not before they show you their Holy Grail: the toy they grew up with. Cradling it like an ancient tablet, this is their connection to the past.
For many years I have scoured auctions (mostly online) to reclaim the toys that fed my imagination, woke the neighbors and terrorized the family dog. And while you can find just about anything you want on eBay, condition and price always remain factors.
Lost treasures such as the Woody Woodpecker “Ge-tar” evaded me for over a decade until that special day when once again I heard the familiar plink of the music box and strings.
I thank my mother for my rich toy heritage. Christmas was magic at our house. We believed in Santa. And if you were good, the toys would just keep on coming.
But after you grow up, the magic is kinda up to you. LL
OUTTA THIS WORLD The Ohio Art AstroRay raygun with target

Wish List
Here are just a few items still out there — somewhere — to reclaim.
Mattel’s Fright Factory
Part of the Thingmaker series of play sets, this toy was scary fun creating fangs, skeletons and shrunken heads.
Arant’s Santa Trap
A plastic, rubber-band-powered bear trap to catch and keep Santa Claus. Bait him with cookies — keep all the toys. Sounds like a plan.
Mattel’s Strange Change
Prehistoric animals and science fiction creatures are “brought to life” from compressed time capsule cubes via heat dome.