I was over at Robin’s blog this morning, reading about her curio cabinet and how she lets her grandies carefully handle its delicate contents, and it made me think about the collection of strange little toys my mother’s mother kept for us.
Behind the couch at Grandma’s house, there were shelves, floor to ceiling. The top had glass menagerie, the middle shelves — music and books, and the lowest shelves — games, puzzles, and toys.
(I have gobs of cousins, but we all have that one cousin who is closer in age and more cousin-y than all the other cousins, right?)
My cousin-nest cousin and I played with the toys back there behind the couch, and those toys so did not go together. Most of them weren’t even toys, really. I specifically remember a wooden spool, a plastic giraffe and lamb, a blue teddy bear eraser, a tiny silver watering can, and some sort of smoothly carved wooden objet d’art which was an animal, but not a real animal of any sort, hence d’art. There were other things I can’t quite put my finger on. My mind is spinning at the idea that there was an oversize die with no side the same in color, but I can’t quite hold it still in my head. There were obsidian figures in grass skirts, and the longer I think on them, the more they seem like Buddhas…I’m telling you, these were not typical toys at all. These items, even the ones that seem related, were not to scale. That plastic lamb could have eaten the plastic giraffe!
I can remember playing house with these bizarre baubles. I can remember my cousin and I built a house from books and even had a farm with domino fencing…
I also recall that my other, much younger cousin did not play with the random toys properly and this caused many fights. By the time she could play with the toys, we’d long gone by a set script. We were mean that way. But then, our parents had fawned over her and her baby preciousness for years, so we felt justified in our exclusion.
I suppose my cousin and I both have fantastic imagination and a sense of make-do, although at the time, we were just kids at play.
I bet if you think about it, looking at kids you knew then, and kids you know now, you can imagine which ones could spend an afternoon at play with odds and ends. We were those kinda kids. Did Grandma put those toys out because we were those kinda kids, or are we those kinda kids because those are the toys she set out?