I REMEMBER WHEN
One day when I had time to kill, I wandered into an antique store. I felt out of place since my only connection to the world of antiques is that my children think I am one. But once I started looking around, I spotted a Roy Rogers Chow Wagon lunch box like the one my older brother had in grade school. The matching Thermos had a picture of Roy seated on his horse, Trigger, reared up on his back legs, just like on the TV show. I also found a Crissy doll like the one I’d gotten for Christmas one year, a big seller because of the button on her tummy that allowed the length of her hair to be adjusted. And I smiled to myself when I saw the collection of Little Golden books, many of which my mother had read to us as children.
While I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, it bothered me that all the items looked brand new, as though a child had never carried a baloney sandwich to school, braided the doll’s hair, or thumbed through the books with sticky fingers. Perhaps someone, with an eye for what might be considered valuable in the future, saved these things in their near-pristine condition in order to sell them in an antique store some day. Maybe they were just gently used. I don’t know. But I’m glad my brother had the fun of pretending to be a cowboy while carrying his lunch to school. The Chow Wagon sustained its share of dents and scratches along the way, but if I catch my brother in a nostalgic mood he still talks about the joy he had eating lunch with Roy Rogers every day. And I still remember how I stumbled onto Mom’s hiding place for wrapped presents the year I got the Crissy doll. Everyday, for two weeks before Christmas, I took her out of the box and stroked her shiny red hair. She became one of my favorite dolls. I broke the mechanism that adjusted her hair long before I tired of playing with her. And I can still remember the pictures of The Three Little Pigs and Pinocchio in the taped-back-together Little Golden Books Mom read to us at bedtime.
I loved seeing those mementos of my childhood, and I’m glad to see that someone still sees value in them. But I wouldn’t trade the wear and tear we put on those well-loved possessions for their current prices. My memories of wearing them out are worth far more.