Posted December 7, 2011
Remember the scene in the original “Toy Story” movie where the family car and the moving van pull away from the house, leaving a handful of toys behind?
It’s a scene right out of my childhood. In the movie, of course, the toys that get left are eventually reunited with their owner.
My case was a little different. My dad was in the Navy, so we made lots of moves (I attended 11 public schools in 12 years).
With every transfer, the Navy provided a moving allowance for our belongings. And if we exceeded that allowance, the difference came out of the family budget. So, moving meant weeding out … having to choose.
And what I always chose first were my books, a cherished doll or two, and the occasional school project or award. To this day, I still have my childhood copies of “ The Secret Garden,” “Little Women,” and a handful of Trixie Belden mysteries. I also kept three prize-winning photos I took in junior high. And three dolls: a 1950s Madame Alexander Cissette; 1950s Littlest Angel; and the Raggedy Ann I wrote about in “Providence.”
A dozen years ago I started my antiques business after purchasing several collections of early Steiff animals. To this day, antique toys are an important part of my business. Like the early Bliss toy highchair I recently acquired, along with a J&E Stevens toy cast iron dresser, a pair of antique bell toys, a late 19th c. rag doll from Vermont, a handcrafted miniature sideboard and more.
I come across a toy with a date, a name, a place, a maker — something that anchors it in time, like David’s Doll, Helen May Neumeyer’s miniature table, Christmas 1886, and Charlotte’s Bear “Pierre,” pictured in this 1920s photo with Charlotte’s father (also named Pierre), who gave her the bear.
I don’t always know the origin of every toy I find. But I do know this: Eventually every toy finds its way home. And every toy has a story.
Leave a response, or trackback from your own site.