Last summer, me & my brothers helped our parents sort through our stash of old toys out in the garage. It was, as I said at the time, funny and bittersweet and wonderful and exhausting.
Of the three of us, I have the hardest time letting go of things. I'm sentimental, almost paralyzingly so. I can stand there and rationally know it's just stuff -- stuff I haven't had any practical use for in twenty-odd years. But it was really, really difficult to be rational about what came out of those boxes. My brain knew it was pieces of molded plastic; my heart recognized them as objects that I used to make come to life. I lived vicariously through those toys & books -- they were never "alive," but for me, at the times and ages I needed them, they were friends. The thought of sending some of them scattering out into the unknown felt like a betrayal, as idiotic as that sounds coming out of a thirty-one year-old.
So when we started making the "discard" pile, oh, that was hard. Sometimes, a little prodding from my brothers or my mom would be enough to convince me to let something go. The baby buggy & shopping cart we used to race around the house when Dad wasn't home? Those went without any fuss. Our (well, okay, primarily my brother Nick's) collection of Ninja Turtles? Those went to a nice guy we found on Craigslist just before Christmas. Overall, I'd say we shrunk our heap by roughly 45%.
On the other hand, I wouldn't (and may never) budge on the Fisher Price stash, nor the My Little Ponies, and I feel better knowing that my Babysitter's Club books are currently resting comfortably inside a waterproof Rubbermaid bin next to the Playmobil people.
One casualty of our epic cleaning binge was the big pile of He-Man action figures and playsets (or, as my mother referred to Castle Greyskull, "the He-Man dollhouse") that had been taking up valuable garage shelf space since about 1990. I think all three of us agreed pretty quickly to letting those go, but I was immediately concerned with where they might go. Sure, we could give them to the local thrift shop, but would kids nowadays even know who He-Man was? Would our meticulously-archived collection (okay, not all that meticulously, since we had multiple Skeletors and quite a few broken bits & pieces) be sold off in 25¢ increments at a rummage sale? It seemed a shame to break up the band (so to speak). It also seemed a shame to wonder if they'd ever actually get played with again.
And then: a solution.
I'm happy to report that Castle Greyskull is under new management out in Helena, Montana, where my friend Emily's kids have given our old toys a bonafide Toy Story 3-style ending.