When I was growing up, my favourite-of-all-time toys was Playmobil.
I remember being ecstatically excited whenever I was given a new set for Christmas or my birthday, and spending hours and hours, and yet more hours and hours, playing contentedly on my own, in my room, in the lounge, in the garden, with the little men and women of the Playmobil tribe.
They gave me so much pleasure.
I loved opening the boxes, and checking that all the tiny bits and pieces illustrated on the cover were actually there: all the cups and plates, buckets and spades, swords and halberds, knives and guns, the ladders and tools, the chairs and tables.
I loved assembling a set for the very first time, and making it look exactly like it looked on the picture, which was on the front of the box. The Wild West Store was just awesome – you could climb up onto the roof to see into the distance, in case the baddies gallopped into town, and their shelves stocked everything from shovels, picks and buckets, to guns and revolvers, with whiskey barrels and a set of tools on display too.
I loved putting the cowboy hats, the protective hats, the feather headdresses, or the shiny silver helmets on the people, and giving them things to hold and carry, and putting them on the horses or sitting them on the bicycles. They always had a task to do – no sitting around and twiddling their thumbs.
I loved the crisp and bright colours of the people’s clothes, the silver tunics of the knights, the feathered headdresses of the Indians, the gunbelts of the cowboys, the swords and trumpets of the knights.
I loved the satisfying click sound they made, when you gave a little Playmobil man something to hold in his hand. The fences came in sections, which you could click together, to create a paddock or a field. That ‘click’ made them feel solid and real, almost as though they could spring to life in your hands. And of course, they did, in a way. The imagination was all one needed to enter an entirely different world.
I loved the animals – there were small white and brown sheep, and black dogs, and roaring lions, and cattle, and of course horses – oh, the horses! Particularly the horses! There were black ones and brown ones, and one single white one, who was my favourite, because the Lone Ranger and his horse Silver used to gallop onto our television screens in those days! 🙂
I was just mad about horses, and really put these ones through their paces: they had to walk and trot, and gallop and leap over hurdles and fences, and they had to be brave and intelligent and rescue their owners when they got into trouble with the baddies, whether they were cowboys or Indians or medieval knights.
Whenever there was a gymkhana or show jumping championship happening in the real world, and with the dust and smell of the horses and the arena still in my nose and my clothes, I would re-enact it at home afterwards – building jumps with sticks shoved through cardboard toilet rolls, and keeping score properly, but always making sure that my favourite horse and rider won in the end. 😀
Such happy memories.
Mom and I have been clearing out her garage this week. It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for years. Two weeks ago or so, the shelves in the cupboard collapsed, and all her old music notes (piano and recorder) ended up in a chaotic pile. Hubby managed to put in new shelves, but we figured that it was A Sign To Clear Out The Cupboard, and to Throw Away What We No Longer Need.
For a compulsive hoarder, it is hard to let go.
Not physically, no. But emotionally.
Each item brings back a flood of memories, some happy, some sad, it doesn’t matter. So it takes time to pick up something for a final time, to hold it lovingly in your hand, to thank it for the memories, and to let it go.
About 15 years ago, I decided that it was time to sell my Playmobil sets. So I took them out of the cupboard and cleaned them up, and made sure that everything was still there, and I even went so far as to place an advert in the local paper.
When a man actually phoned and said he wanted them, I suddenly panicked! The thought of giving my dearest childhood companions away to a total stranger was just too much to bear.
I quickly told him I wouldn’t be selling them after all, and I tucked them all away safely into the garage cupboard once more. And that is where they have been languishing all this time.
But now it is time for me to let them go, and to find them a new home, where they will be loved and cherished by some little girl or boy who will adore them as much as I did.
So, if you would like to buy some Playmobil sets for your children, or if you know of anyone who would, PLEASE let me know. (And it would help if you live in South Africa, but I’m open to suggestions. :-))