A Childhood Joy: Withheld Granted

You know how people like to claim that, if their parents had not thrown out their childhood toys/comics/baseball cards, they’d be rich? Yeah, as I’ve proven time and time again, that’s not true. I still have all my baseball cards and comic books from those days, and they have not appreciated much if at all. Most of the comics I own retail for less than the cover price these days, okay?

Another thing my mother did not throw away (among the everything my mother did not throw away): My old G.I. Joes.

Now, my collection began in like 1983 when my father’s then-girlfriend tried to curry my (and my brother’s) favor by buying us toys–and I got my first G.I. Joe, Flash. This was not the big G.I. Joes, but the four inch figures. But my first three (Flash, Snake Eyes, Rock and Roll) predated the swivel-arm grip, so early eighties through the middle 1980s. As I a bunch of comic books last year, the lot included a bunch of G.I. Joe comics, and I could follow along with the introduction (and my acquisition of) the action figures as they were added to the comic book.

The heyday of my collection must have been between 1983/1984 and, what, 1987? In retrospect, it was a blink of an eye, but my brother and I gathered a bunch of them. We even got some mail-away items that you got if you sent a couple of proofs of purchases and a couple of bucks to Hasbro, including the hooded Cobra Commander and a windsurfing board. The growing collection moved with us from Milwaukee to Saint Charles to the trailer park in Missouri. Did we play with them when we were in high school and lived in the valley? I don’t think so. I remember playing with them in the trailer, though, and envying some of the kid across the street’s collection.

My mother kept that collection in her basement in an old toy box.l At some point, I retook custody of it. The toy box, a cheap thing clapped together of particle board, disintegrated, so I put it in a translucent bin. Which has been in the Nogglestead garage for nine years (?!).

And for a long time, my boys could see them, but I would not let them play with them.

Why? A sense of possessiveness? Perhaps. I am particular about my personal relics, and my children are, well, boys who are a little rough with things. Also, I figured that cleaning up and assembling the various pieces would be a little time consuming.

But I recognized that the time window of my children’s interest is closing, so since the boys had a holiday on Monday, I brought the bin in.

I was right about the undertaking: it took me about two and a half hours to wash the items (with a toothbrush at times!) Most of the pieces were here, and only a couple of things were broken (which made me want to seek out my brother and get into a fist fight because undoubtedly HE BROKE IT!). The washing itself was a bit of nostalgic deja vu–when the boys were two and four years old, I’d sometimes pull all of their toys into the kitchen and wash them because they put everything in their mouths at that age. So, on a snowy day, while my boys played in the living room, I washed toys, and was taken back to that.

At any rate, they started playing with the toys as soon as I washed the individual pieces, and they loved it.

They’ve got a snow day today, so they’re playing with them again.

For the geeks amongst you, my collection includes:

Action figures include:

And more, of course.

A couple of the action figures had broken bands, which means I’m going to be reviewing on YouTube how to fix them and ordering parts from Amazon sometime.

At any rate, a bit of my boyhood I finally shared with my boys.

And they’ve only broken one thing so far.

Which I’m going to blame on my brother and have to fight him over in one of those sibling fights that is mostly wrestling until we get tired, and then we’re friends again.

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