By: Ross Ballard
A few days ago I went back to my childhood home in Tete Jaune Cache. Most of my belongings from my younger years (6-16) were stored in an old shed on my step-mother’s property. It was time for a clean out, and a wonderful trip down memory lane.
Among my possessions were mingled many things my father left me when he passed (R.I.P). As we pulled out an assortment of fishing gear and boxes of encyclopaedias, my eyes locked on an old white desk that was plastered with magazine cut outs of my favorite musicians. Unlike the other boxes, I knew what awaited me in this “treasure chest.” I quickly worked my way through the boxes to the old desk. Diane helped me pull the beat up relic out into the sunlight. I stared at the old CD covers for a moment. Temple of The Dog, Pearl Jam Live; and a large cut out of Claudia Schiffer which I stole from one of my sister’s fashion magazines. I laughed out loud. My taste in music has not differed nor has my taste for the opposite sex.
I opened the drawers of the desk and came face to face with my childhood obsession. LEGO! Thousands of little pieces interspersed with the odd helicopter or pirate ship which remained somewhat intact.
I am 32, and most of my close friends are having or have had children. Due to my battles with cancer, I cannot have children of my own, so I decided that once found, I would disperse my collection among my friends’ kids, so they can enjoy the true bliss of what I believe to be the perfect toy for a growing imagination.
The last time I went shopping for one of my best buddies’ kids, I was truly amazed at how hard it was to find a toy without weapons in it. Let alone a toy that required thinking or building. The Lego section was packed with boxes themed around the latest comic based movies (TMNT, Star Wars, Avengers). When I finally found a box without weapons I looked at the price and immediately said a prayer of thanks to Mom and Dad for being so amazingly cool! When I look at my old collection, there is nothing based on a movie, and there are no guns. Spacemen, knights, pirates, and the odd police or firemen are the majority of the box themes. With only a few rounded swords and lances to show for weaponry, much more was left to a child’s imagination. As I wash these plastic blocks and ready them for their new owners, I say hello and goodbye to the days before computers and video games – a simpler time when more was left to imagine. I thank my mother and father for blessing my childhood with the gift of limitless outlets for my energy and teaching me to enjoy the small things in life.
This is Ross Ballard reminding you to save some part of your childhood and pass it on.