Old playthings new again

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2009

By Staff
Heirlooms in my family aren’t quite what you might think. We don’t have a lot of antique furniture or precious jewelry to pass down through the generations.
After my grandmother died three years ago, my mother gave me a set of plastic coasters from her house. I was puzzled, at first, until I remembered the story about my favorite toy at Grandma’s house in Erie, Pa.: that set of orange and pistachio-colored coasters, marked with “General Electric Picnic 1975” in gold foil.
I would head straight for the back bedroom and pull them off a shelf, to stack and unstack with abandon.
I had forgotten about those coasters again until Saturday, when I followed my son into our guest bedroom and found him trying to stack those same coasters.
I’m not sure why we buy shiny new toys. At my mother’s house, my two nephews — who visit every week — play with the old Fisher-Price Little People toys that my sister and I enjoyed.
Watching all three tow-headed boys find pleasure in old playthings makes me realize that what we pass on are not just old plastic toys but the value of play itself, the sense of imagination and wonder that turns the ordinary into something fantastic.
I’m glad my grandmother kept those old ugly coasters, but I wish she had been able to see three sweet boys who would have been the light of her life.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.

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