When I look back at some of my most memorable childhood toys, they all seem so simple next to today’s many gadgets. Here’s a quick little doodlewash of a tin toy train I had back then that was super cool! Not only was it powered and could move around on its own, it made steam engine sounds, occasionally blowing its horn. The lights actually lit up and the front part sort of jiggled making it seem like it was truly letting off steam. It didn’t have to sync up with a phone or iPad to be entertaining, it was just fun on its own. Toys like I had back then are now all labeled vintage, which makes me feel really old. But I think I heard someone referring to early 90’s toys as vintage so perhaps mine have already moved on the category of antiques. But looking back at many of them now, they still really impress me. These vintage toys had lots of intricate details that get skipped over these days in the race to make something quickly and in the cheapest way possible. And those wonderful details still manage to charm me.
Many toys that I had back then are still available today, but the updated versions all look like cheap knock-offs. As a child in the late 70’s, Star Wars was my absolute favorite movie and I collected all the action figures. After they released the last Star Wars film the little kid in me wanted to rush to buy an action figure, for old time’s sake. Rushing to the toy aisle in Target, I was immediately disappointed. The droids were no longer glistening in a shiny metallic finish, but were hanging there lifeless in a poorly painted, dull plastic. I rushed home to dig out my original action figures, instead. They were all so much better made than what’s available today, and suddenly I felt rather privileged to be older. I marveled at all the detail that had been lost over time and felt happy again.
As Christmas grows near, I may not be a kid anymore, but I still have my childlike excitement. I no longer have this particular toy train as it was lost over the years, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. I cherish my beloved vintage toys that made such happy memories for me so many years ago and it’s fun to sit and try to recall my favorites. I hope that all of you are enjoying the moments and memories that make you happiest this season. I personally love this season because it’s a wonderful excuse to be a kid again. Filled with wonder and waiting to see what toys will appear under the tree this weekend. Brand new memories to be made that I can happily look back on. And brand new shiny gifts that I can look back on years from now, and think just how much better things are when they’re vintage.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!