When I was a kid, I remember having a Mego Planet of the Apes doll. Now, I wasn’t a fan of the show, so the toy might have been my brothers, I’ve only seen a few of the movies, don’t remember the live action show, and think I remember the cartoon series. ( In fact, the only thing I like about Planet of the Apes is that Roddy McDowall played a part in the movies. ) I remember it was the summer, and I had just come home from shopping with my mother, brother and sister. In the yard our kid’s pool was out filled with water from a day’s swimming, and for some reason I will never know why, I threw the Apes doll right into the pool. I never saw the toy again.
As kids, we can play pretty rough with our toys, while others we’re very careful with. For instance, after The Empire Strikes Back came out, whenever we wanted a frozen Han Solo in carbonite, or any Star Wars figure in carbonite for that matter, we would take a plastic cup, fill it with water, place the cup in the freezer and wait until it froze. I did this once with a Han Solo in Hoth outfit. I remember taking it to the basement to release him from his carbon sleep with a hammer only to crash through the plastic cup and break off his arm. Breaking the figure was far from my mind that day and I doubt a lesson was learned cause we still froze our figures.
Another example would be when my brother and I would be playing with our matchbox cars (I never cared for those personally and only had some cause my brother had some) and whenever we wanted to “prime” our cars we’d scratch them against the concrete until the paint was gone and the metal was showing. I had no idea what “prime” was, at least not until I worked in a garage with my dad and brother. (For those of you who don’t know, “prime” is used before painting. Let’s say a door is hit in an accident. If it can be fixed, the mechanic will fix it, use some bondo to cover up the place that was hit (bondo is like car spackle I guess), then “prime” over it. Once the prime is sanded out smooth, you can then paint over it and blend it into the rest of the door color.)Again, we weren’t being brutes with our toys, we were just kids being kids.
Some toys broke by accident, some we broke purposely. I remember getting a model of a Star Wars van. I went in my room, took it out of the box, and then dropped a pool ball onto the van over and over until it broke. Don’t know why, I was just a kid. Weird gift for a kid anyway since I was very young and could never put together a model, and still can’t to this day.
I think every kid played like that with some of their toys once in a while. Some we treated carefully, some we gave a beating too, but all were cherished items in our toy box. I don’t think that will ever change either. Kids play with toys. It’s what they’re made for. When we are kids we aren’t the collectors we will one day become, or else we’d be extremely careful with them. We play with the toys in the snow, mud, dirt, sand at the beach. We try to make parachutes out of tissues and drop them from windows, we crash the vehicles into walls or send them flying down flights of steps.
They’re just kids being kids, and the memories of that is what counts. Remembering, “Oh, yeah, I had a Mego Planet of the Apes doll” and then telling the story about what happened to it. I’m sure there are thousands of stories out there. Some about toys one once had, some about toys they lost, or toys they gave a beating too. Either way, it’s what nostalgia is all about and what keeps me coming back to write this column, and I hope it keeps you coming back to read it too.