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17 October 2014

Will Your Toys Become Treasured Family Heirlooms?

Many families have treasures they pass down from one generation to the next.... jewellery, furniture, chests, vases, lamps, silverware, china, quilts, rugs, seeds, and more. In some families, toys become treasured family heirlooms where the value of the toy increases with each generation because they are filled with love from parents and grandparents. Here is the story of one such family.

After Annie's Father died, her Mum decided she wanted to downsize to an easier to maintain flat. However, before she could sell the house, she had to clean out the attic. Annie went over to help her Mum while the kids were in school.

Mum's attic was a treasure trove of cherished family keepsakes, beautiful antiques, and old household items. Every box they went through contained interesting items just full of family history. Annie began to cajole her Mum into telling stories, some of which Annie had heard many times before, but never grew tired of hearing. Secretly, Annie was trying to commit these stories to memory so she could tell her kids when they were older. Occasionally, Mum would drop in some new information and that was the most fascinating of all.

As Annie rummaged around to the bottom of a tall dusty box, her hand felt a smooth cube shaped object with indentions on the side. Before she even pulled it out, she knew what what it was. She suddenly exclaimed, "Oh Mum, I remember these! Johnny and I used to play with them all the time.... I didn't know you still had them!"

"What is it?" Mum asked.

Annie pulled out a single wooden block from the box and held it to her heart. "I just love these.... so many memories!" Annie's Mum took the block and rotated in her hand, looking at all six sides with a little reminiscent smile on her face.

"Yes honey, I remember.... you and your brother would play with those wooden blocks for hours, building things and then knocking them down, the same as your Grandmother said your Father and his sister did when they were children," Mum said.

"What? Do you mean these blocks belonged to Dad when he was a child?" Annie interjected.
"I thought you children knew that," Mum said.

"No, we didn't Mum.... that makes them all the more special, like Dad's spirit lives inside these blocks," Annie said as she pulled more of the blocks out of the box. "Here's the one with the number "4" on it... it was my favourite one because 4 was my lucky number... still is," Annie continued. Mum laughed when Annie said this thinking back how Annie use to like to look for four-leaf clovers in the yard and at the park when she was a little girl. "You used to get your dresses so muddy looking for those four-leaf clovers!" Mum finally said out loud.

"Mum, can I take these for Abbey, Alicia, Alex, and Andy?" Annie asked as she gathered up every wooden block she could find and putting them into a smaller box.

"Of course you can... I would love to watch my grandbabies playing with those blocks just like you and brother used to!" Mum quickly replied.

On that note, Annie and her Mum started clearing out another corner of the attic. As they scooted some larger storage boxes out of the way and turned on an overhead light, they discovered another old family heirloom toy. It was a charming wooden rocking horse with a bright red saddle. "OMG! I can't believe we found this. Your Father and I planned to give it to the grandkids for Christmas a few years ago but he looked and looked and couldn't find it! Then he got sick and you know...." Mum paused because she was getting choked up. Annie immediately gave her Mum a long warm hug.

Discover wooden toys - made of natural materials and painted with non-toxic colours.

"You know Mum.... William and I, and the kids of course, all want you to come live with us," Annie softly said as she continued to hug her Mum.

"I know you've said that but I don't want to get in the way...." Mum replied as she wiped her tears away.

"Oh stop it Mum... you know you could never be in the way... you could even help me with the kids and you know how much I NEED the help," Annie replied. This got a little chuckle out her Mum.
"I'll think about it... right now, let's get this rocking horse downstairs and get it cleaned up for my precious grandbabies," Mum replied.

As they were washing up the rocking horse, Annie said, "I remember how Johnny and I used to take turns rocking on this by the fire. I would pretend I was a fairy princess galloping through the kingdom."

"You always had a vivid imagination!" Mum replied.

"What did you dream about when you rocked on it when you were young Mum?" Annie asked.

"Oh, I sometimes pretended I was riding on a beach or through the forest," Mum said.

"I'm trying to remember when we got it," Annie reflected.

"Originally, it belonged to your Grandfather but your Father restored it and gave it some fresh paint when you were still a toddler... you probably don't remember that do you?"

"It belonged to Grandpa?!? I never knew that before. That's amazing! It must be really old then," Annie said.

"Well, your Grandfather was born in 1901 and his Father's brother brought it to the family when he was still a baby," Mum replied.

"I can't wait to show it to the kids! Just think... it's been in the family for four generations... maybe they'll pass it on to their kids!"

As you can see from Annie's story above, toys that are highly durable can stay in families for generations, passing down the love and joy in playing with the toy. In doing so, these toys become even more beloved because they belonged to Mum, Dad, and grandparents. Children feel a stronger connection to these legacy toys than they could ever feel for a new toy.

Unfortunately, most toys produced today are mass produced toys that are not made well. These poorly made toys tear up easy and are intended to be played with for only a short while and then tossed in the garbage and forgotten. Even worse, they end up in the landfill leaching out the toxic chemicals used to make them. It is a sad state of affairs!