Taxus puts the shtick aside to share a deeply personal account about why molded pieces of plastic can make lasting memories this time of year.
I am nostalgic to a fault, forcing my family to engage in a mantra of Christmas-related activities that would make Saint Griswold smile warmly in approval. The nostalgia is mostly born of a desire to capture those elements of my youth that I now realize I took for granted due to my blissful ignorance; a reminder given by the mnemonic mementos of toys. There is an innocence to childhood that no matter how much I might try to emulate, there is no way to capture the entirety of the emotions and cogitations that I experienced in my former being. The chief most of these revolved around the anticipation of presents. Just writing that statement now as an adult makes me realize how self-serving this element of the holiday appears, but in the pure spirit of pre-adolescence, it is a completely natural and blameless state.
One of my favorite experiences was flipping through the toy section in anticipation of Christmas Day. The treasures weren’t presented in a matter-of-fact style that might be presented in a buyer’s guide, but they were carefully arrayed in scenes reenacting the best parts of my beloved stories. Those master anglers in marketing knew where to fish and how to set that hook deep in my cheek. The anticipation built up day by day, hour by hour, until that blessed December 25 arrived! What random drop would I find in the pretty packages that morning from the potential bounty depicted herein?
Classified: Top Secret
As I step back and consider it, I realize how interesting it is that I would get worked up over molded plastic (Now with more molded plastic action!). Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Bellomo, author and expert on all things toy-related, about his book The Ultimate Guide to GI JOE. In preparation, I found an index card holder that I used to alphabetize the file cards that provided the biographical and technical information for the JOE and COBRA characters. I used crayons to emulate the logos on the box in my seven-year-old attempt to preserve them in an officially top-secret repository. As I began flipping through all the cards looking for trivia questions, that old familiar wave of nostalgia swept over me. I realize now that not only were those cards useful in fueling my imaginary story-line for the characters, they were a way for me to communicate and connect with my father who, like the JOEs, was a Vietnam veteran and had a full military career.
Why it Matters
Therein is the crux of the matter. When I see a pic of a toy from yesteryear, it isn’t the actual item that I cherish, but the memories that are inextricably linked to them. I think that is a possible impetus for collectors of vintage items beyond fulfilling the actualization need rewarded through a hobby. Of the various holidays celebrated in December, they hold a common thread of family and all that relates to their gathering together in celebration. I see this pattern reflected in the lives of my own children now, and I know that one day the cycle will begin anew for theirs as well. This is the reason I love supporting organizations like Toys for Tots, because I hope that somehow a child will experience the same thing that they can then pass on to others.
This year think not only on your past experiences, but also the ones you are forming with your own. That action figure may seem like a passing fancy in your adult mind, but to the recipient, it’s a link to the time you are spending together. Although the paint may fade, or the parts may become lost, the memories will last forever tethered to a piece of molded plastic (Now with more memories action!).
From the House of Taxus, Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you all.
I like accounting and the Dark Side. Co-host of Starships, Sabers, & Scoundrels.