Someone I love recently subscribed me to StoryWorth, which prompts a weekly question for me to answer. The first question was “What were your favorite toys as a child?” To which I responded:
To help you understand my favorite toys as a child I’ll first say that I loved animals! As soon as I could talk I asked my mom to horseback ride & my family always had dogs. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the fake animals just as much as the real ones:
Puppy in my pocket. If you ever wonder why I can name almost any dog breed from just seeing a dog on the street it’s because of these small plastic dogs. Each dog came with a card, sharing the breed and the dog’s name. I’m pretty sure they are still in a shoe box (a Hush Puppies brand shoe box of course) in my parents’ basement. Check out the attached photo for a glimpse of what these puppies looked like.
Breyer horses. These model horses were a higher priced toy item and it was always a special treat to get a new one. I had Black Beauty, Man of War, Secretariat, Ruffian (photo attached), all the “famous” horses, and then others that were just as special. I gave them all names and played with them with my friend Lauren. We’d create our own equine sitcoms (or often times soap operas) with the characters we created and plots we developed. Horses had stallionfriend drama, friend fights, gossip, successes and failures, just as we experience. I also had smaller plastic horses, more similar in form to the puppy in my pockets. However, they did not intermingle with the Breyers.
Stuffed animals. Let’s just say I could fill a bedroom with just stuffed animals. I collected them over the years because family knew me to love animals and gifting a fake plush one was a suitable substitute (and more favorable from my parents who were not excited when I brought home a live gerbil from a friend at school in the third grade). These plush friends brought much of the characteristics as a real friend…comfort, hugs, a shoulder to cry on, and a great listener (they never talked back and always agreed with me!)
Beanie babies. I struggle to include these small bean filled animals as toys, as they were more of an investment. They were supposed to pay for my college education when their $5 cost became $5,000 in value. Heck, that could’ve also paid for retirement considering all the Beanie Babies I owned. Even if they did appreciate in value ours probably would have still been worthless, since they made great amo for my siblings and my “beanie baby wars” during which we’d throw them at each other from across the basement floor. Once the tag was removed, the value was stripped.
With my imagination, all of these toy creatures had names, lives, personalities. They were my storyboard for creation in addition to childhood toys and entertainment. They were friendly compliments to the sports’ toys – basketballs, soccers, skates, or other recreational games. A basketball wasn’t something to cry on or talk to about my day at school. My husky stuffed animal was always there with a warm hug and listening ears, even if they weren’t real.
Am I missing anything, mom?