Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Day the Circus Came (Back) To Town

This weekend, the Circus Train rolled back into town after over a quarter of a century on tour.

This train was my first birthday present from my parents. The pieces traveled around the country as my family moved. I can remember the train tooling across our arid Texas driveway and stalling on the thick lime green shag of our Indiana home.

As I got older, the train rolled on to my younger cousin. When we visited, he and I would play with it on their brick hearth or shady back patio. After it was cast aside for other toys, my wise aunt kept it (along with an airport, a parking garage, a farm, and a house) for the quiet years until an older cousin's children brought fanfare back to the center ring.

At least 5 children and two decades later, the train (and airport) arrived at my house. Even considering the monkey's decision to become an ape (he apparently opted for tail removal surgery), it's in amazingly good condition for being 30+ years old.

Ranger, Jim, and I are really enjoying these great vintage toys. It's exhilarating to simultaneously connect to my own childhood memories while playing with Ranger.

Thanks, Aunt Carol, for years of storage and sharing the toys with us now!

Did you or your family save any childhood toys for intergenerational reuse? Are there any toys you plan to save for the next generation?


Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish we had kept that train (and the barn, and the garage...) -- my daughter would love it now in her current train obsessed phase. We got rid of all of our toys and I sometimes wish we had kept just a few. Your post made me do a quick search to see if I could find one for her and, boy, are they expensive! Anyway, thanks for the jog down memory lane!

the milliner said...

OK, not a toy per se, but...We just had our first child, and I managed to get the cradle my Mum & Dad used for my brother and I (almost 40 years ago!).

Like your train, it made the rounds to family and friends over the years, and it's been really nice to have the same cradle (re-finished & checked for safety) to use for my son.

My Mum had kept a list of all the babies that used the crib. I love that we have a record of its history, so I am going to have all the babies names & DOB engraved on the head of the crib, with of course, our son's name being the last entry. I hope that it can keep on making the rounds.

Anonymous said...

My in-laws have kept all the toys my wife and her siblings played with when they were kids. Now our daughter and her cousins love playing with all those toys.

My daughter especially loves the Sesame Street Clubhouse so much at their house that my wife and I bought one on eBay from a vintage toy dealer. She barely plays with her other toys now.

Why do so many toys have to make sounds and light-up now? What happened to imaginative play toys??

Anonymous said...

My Mom saved a lot of our toys. My boys right now are having a blast playing with my brothers old "guys" (which is an odd assortment of TNMT, Chuck Norris, Dick Tracy, and what all) and the small train set we had. I plan to keep the train set we've put together for my grandkids, probably the doll house my daughter is going to get, and a few various dolls, guys, and Legos. Got to keep the legos.

Anonymous said...

i LOVE to see this! my son has my hub's transformer books from his childhood and my daughter has my AUNT'S barbie van from the 60's! my mom kept all my clothes from when i was little, too, so maddy gets to wear my strawberry shortcake sundress among other cute little outfits. i will definately do the same with my kids and keep the tradition going!

great blog! i found you thru karen :)

indywriter said...

I never really had any of the little people toys, but I did have a Fisher Price record player. It looks like a record player, but the sound is produced more like a music box. I dearly loved it, and my mom saved it. Now my girls play with it.

But the one that got away is the Fisher Price clock that winds up to play "The Grandfather's Clock" and shows scenes of what you do at different times of the day. I donated it to our church nursery and it soon disappeared. I have seen new versions of it, but it's now made of plastic instead of wood. If you ever read the lyrics of Grandfather's Clock you will likely be depressed, but that song is able to make me 4 years old whenever I hear it.

Unknown said...

What joy came to me when I saw the picture at the top of your post! We too had that train in our toy chest, along with the parking garage, the farm and even indywriter's record player and grandfather clock! My parents saved a few boxes full of toys that have been brought out for my nephew and niece. And once my little guy is old enough he can play with them too!

I still have my CPK dolls, barbies and accesories, My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Hopefull we will eventually have a daughter...

Jennette Fulda said...

I've saved all of my She-Ra action figures (plus the Crystal Castle and Crystal Falls), but I don't know if I'd ever let a potential PastaPrince or PastaPrincess play with them. I keep them for me!

I find it interesting that toy characters that were popular when I was a kid are making a comeback: Strawberry Shortcake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. It's like the toy makers know we liked then, so now that people my age are having kids they know we might like to buy them for our own kids.

Anonymous said...

That is a very cute train set. Sadly, I have no toys saved from my childhood to pass on to my kids.

Jeremiah McNichols said...

oh, i loved that train.

Jeremiah McNichols said...

I have a 5-gallon tub of Legos from my own childhood. I also have my father's Lincoln Logs from his childhood.