Goodbye, my dearest childhood playmates

My heart is rather heavy today.

You may remember that, back in April, I did some serious clutter-clearing and autumn-cleaning, giving away clothes I wasn’t wearing any longer, books I had read in the past and didn’t want to read again, and assorted things we had accumulated over the years but hadn’t used in ages.

It was very liberating, and we literally felt lighter, both physically as well as emotionally. It felt as though we could breathe more easily too.

Clearly, there are health benefits to letting go of things one no longer needs, and I’m sure it has a similar effect when one releases old emotions, particularly the heavier ones, such as long-held grudges and resentments.

But releasing things that are permeated with good and happy memories, now that is quite a different challenge. As part of the whole process, I have just said a final goodbye to all my sets of Playmobil (see my previous post: Do you remember Playmobil?).

Tuffy conducts a final inspection of the Playmobil people, helping me to say goodbye

To you, these may just be colourful plastic toys to entertain little kids between 6 and 10 years of age. Certainly nothing to hang onto until long into adulthood. But to me, they were far more than that.

They were my most trusted and beloved childhood playmates, my companions when I was sick and stuck at home, my confidantes when faced with the confusing peer pressures of the pre-teen years, and my most loyal friends when I was struggling to weave my way through the complex maze of friendships at school.

They were always there, ready for action, and eager to embark on any adventures my imagination could conjure up. They never complained that they were tired, or that they wanted to watch the telly instead, or that it was raining and wet outside.

“Yay, let’s play,” they cheered happily, when I opened their boxes to let them out. “Let’s have fun, let’s saddle up the horses, arm the cowboys, send the knights into battle, rescue the damsel in distress… Adventure, here we come!”

This afternoon, I finally met Philip and his son Dylan, who had travelled down from up-country to collect my Playmobil sets in person. (They are just too precious to send by mail.)

Much to my relief, they were really, genuinely nice and totally over-the-moon at being the proud new owners of all my Playmobil sets, in their original boxes nogal. Dylan was beaming from ear to ear with delight, as he opened some of the boxes to peer inside.

He picked up the figures with such obvious joy and pleasure that I knew in my heart that they had indeed found a good new home. He reassured me that he would take good care of them forever, and promised that he would send me pictures of them in their new surroundings, together with all his other Playmobil figures. Aw, bless him. 🙂

As I waved goodbye to them, I felt the heaviness in my heart lifting just a little bit.

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10 thoughts on “Goodbye, my dearest childhood playmates

  1. Hugs, Reggie. Releasing can be hard… Our son Christopher has been getting rid of lots of childhood memories this trip, as well. We brought two huge boxes to the Goodwill. He touched everything before he released it…

    • Thank you for your kind words and hugs, Kathy.

      The things from our childhood are so hard to let go, aren’t they? Each item carries the imprint of the family member that gave them to you for your birthday or Christmas or Easter or other special occasions. Some of those family members may no longer be with us, like grandparents for instance. And each item is surrounded by a haze of memories, of how you played with them, whether on the wooden floor, on a coloured carpet, or outside in the garden, alone or with friends who are long gone out of your life. So by giving them away, it feels as though you may lose all those memories too. Of course you don’t, not really, but…

      Humans are strange creatures, aren’t they? We tend to cling onto memories, both good and bad. Perhaps we are seeking reassurance of a connection to who we once were when we were little and perhaps still closer to our spirit nature, and perhaps we also long for a sense of continuity that links the past to who we are today?

      When I originally decided to keep my toys and books from back then, I thought I would one day pass them on to my own kids, you know? To keep them in the family. But I don’t have any children, and no siblings with children, and my cousins with children have their own toys and books to pass on to them. And when I met Dylan and his dad Philip, I just knew that they would give them the perfect, loving home.

  2. Never fails to amaze me how cats love to supervise. I can see Tuffy had a busy morning ! She really is a very handsome and striking person, isn’t she ? Lovely pics.

    • I haven’t seen those (yet), but you are correct. When I was researching the Playmobil figures, I came across people who actually make little movies with them! One of the techniques is called ‘stop motion’; I found a Western shot in that style, here. It’s rather, um, gory, shall we say, but it looks like suuuuch fun to make! And they even used the Drug Store, which I had too!

  3. Drat. And how I wished that was the kids and myself receiving that gem of childhood memories instead of Phillip. We came close, just didn’t have as much cash as them to purchase this gold mine from Regine.

    I was at a nearby shopping mall yesterday and, as usual, we ALWAYS duck off into the Toy Shop while Mum is across the way at Woolies… hoping to see some ‘reasonable’ priced new stock of Playmo (there are only 7/8 stores that sell Playmobil® in South Africa!).
    They had some new stock so I dug into my wallet for one of my Pavillion vouchers that I always seem to have left over from some Christmas or birthday and treated the kids to a box each.
    They played with them almost all the afternoon.

    Long live Playmobil and don’t forget, I’m here if anyone else has any they want to pass on…

  4. Those are not Playmobil but some related toys that will show you how they were enjoyed too 🙂 Janice is a multi faceted artist !
    http://postcardsfromwildwood.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/the-cautionary-tale-of-the-teepee-cake/

    I really like your post because it reminded of the endless hours we played my two sons and I imagining, creating stories with the Playmobil toys. I still have boxes of it in our chalet in the mountains; I am happy and not so surprised when young visitors sit on the floor for hours creating their own world. I understand what it meant to you to give them away, fortunately to someone who will love and share them. Thank you, Reggie.

    • Hello Isa – thank you for your comment. The Teepee Cake is toooo CUTE! I wish I had birthday cakes like that when I was little…

      I am so pleased to find a fellow lover of Playmobil – isn’t it incredible, how many stories one can make up with these little figures? I am really, really sad that I let it go, although it made sense, because we don’t have kids. Now that friends of ours are having kids, though, I’m sorry I don’t have it anymore… sigh… We recently went to a toystore to get some presents for little ones, and I was horrified at the COST of those boxes of Playmobil. Few parents can pay for that! So I’m pleased you’re hanging onto your’s, because I bet that every single one of your young visitors will carry those happy memories of playing with those boxes with them into adulthood. Yay for Playmobil!!

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