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A Toy for All Ages

After my grandfather died, my grandmother was ready to get rid of a lot of the “stuff” the family had accumulated in the 65 years they’d lived in the house on Abbott road.  I would visit my grandmother and she’d tell me to “Pick something and take.  Find something you like and take it with you.  It’s all going to go eventually, so take something you want.”  It made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know what was fair.  But Grandma really wanted to take something.

ballbearingtoyI thought about it.  It didn’t take long to think of the toy.  It’s a small, clear, plastic cube, a few inches on each side, with a ton of small metal balls inside.  The inside of the cube has a bunch of interlocking “steps” of clear plastic.  You flip the cube over, and the balls loudly cascade down the steps.  

I decided I could take the toy with a clear conscience.  It was cheap – I wasn’t laying claim to anything huge.  And if someone else wanted it, it was easy enough to hand off.  The toy has been sitting on my coffee table since then.

ellen-dan-christmas-72Fast forward to present day: Aunt Mary scanned some old pictures and forwarded them to the family.  Check out Aunt Ellen’s hair from Christmas of ’72.  Spectacular, isn’t it?  It’s like an alien spaceship landed on her head for an extended visit.

 I’m the baby in the picture; I’m almost 9 months old.  Once I got over the spectacle of the beehive, my gaze drifted to the toy that so clearly has my attention back in 1972.  My jaw dropped.

There’s the cube.  I’m a few months old, and I’m playing with the cube.  Thirty-five years later, Grandma asked me to pick something, and the one thing I asked for was the cube I’d played with as a baby.

It makes me wonder about brain development and memory.  It’s just a simple plastic cube, but it’s captured my attention for decades.  Do I still like it because I have associated good memories somewhere?  Or am I hardwired to enjoy bouncing ball-bearings?


Comment from rox
Time: March 29, 2009, 11:40 am

Something similar happened to me when my grandmother died. We were all asked to pick something from her home. I lived far away so I told my mother that I wanted the picture that I had given my grandmother the past Christmas and also if no one else wanted it I wanted her goose neck rocker. The goose neck rocker had always meant grandma’s house to me. My mother told me if anyone should get the goose neck rocker it should be me. I asked her what she meant. Turns out my grandmother had bought the goose neck rocker for my mother when I was born for her to rock me in. My grandmother loved the chair so much that once I was older my mother gave it back to my grandmother. I was in my early 30s and had never heard that story.

Comment from Darienne
Time: March 31, 2009, 2:22 am

Great story, great post. Funny the things that hold so much meaning at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

As for the hair: How did they do that?!

Comment from Leila
Time: May 14, 2009, 1:23 pm

I love that you found The One Toy!

Your cousins, however, are going to kill you.


Aunt Leila 🙂