Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Memories for sale

My mother has three daughters. We're all very different, and always have been. Patty, the oldest by a year, liked baby dolls and puzzles. Kate, the youngest by 8 years, preferred Barbie and Stacy and Ken, re-enacting her favorite TV shows (usually The Partridge Family) with her dolls. In the middle was me. I wasn't much interested in dolls. I had plush animals and books, usually about horses or dogs.

As we grew, my mother kept our favorite toys in the basement, along with some of hers (she favored teddy bears). All of this is top of mind because, in addition to her own toys and those of her daughters, now has the playthings of two grandchildren down there and her basement is now well beyond full.

She's gone through everything, spending two days dusting and wiping and brushing and buttoning. She invited a toy collector to come over and review her stash. Over the phone she happened to mention my rocking horse, Blaze, and he practically salivated.

Blaze was my Big Gift from Santa, Christmas 1961. He not only rocked forward and back, I could get him to trot by bouncing up and down in the saddle. Like other Mattel toys of the day, he "talked" (neighed and whinnied) when you pulled the "magic ring."

I loved Blaze beyond measure … until I didn't anymore. My mother enjoys remembering me in a straw cowboy hat, racing through meadows in my mind but actually bouncing up and down on my sturdy plastic pinto in the basement, so she never parted with Blaze. He's been through a lot during the ensuing decades, including an altercation with my late father, who got mad at Blaze for being so big and unwieldy and accidentally broke off one of his front hooves. But Blaze retained enough appeal to be my nephew Nick's playmate. Nick not only rode Blaze but went through a Sunday afternoon ritual of making sure he had plenty of water and sugar cubes. But now Nick has moved onto cars and Cars (both Matchbox and movie).

The toy collector, who had been so thrilled at the prospect of purchasing Blaze, was disappointed by his condition. Blaze no longer "talks," and it's obvious where his leg was repaired. The man paid my mom $80 for my father's old slot cars and a few miscellaneous dolls … and left Blaze behind.

My mom and I are surprised by how glad we are about that.

1 comment:

  1. I have one too and many fond memories. It has now been passed down to me, and I love it so much that I can not part with it, even though it is pretty damaged and would not be usable for any children I have in the future. It's nice to see though, that someone else adores theirs too!