“PUT IT IN THE BASKET”
Much excitement was attached to those five words. It meant that we were grocery shopping, and I had somehow guided my parents over to the toy aisle of our local chain food store. This store was gigantic and would be classified as a superstore in today’s terms. The magnificent toy aisle was next to the frozen food refrigerators, so I knew that we would make our way there. I was always a lover of toy cars and trucks and it was my choice when given the opportunity to choose one item from the aisle. Large ones, small ones, rubber ones, metal ones, it didn’t matter what kind. All were note free. As a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s, it was toy replicas of big boy cars and trucks that I dreamed of one day owning.
It was amazing, as I think back, that boys could be smitten with a toy car or truck, that unless you interacted with it, there was nothing to it. It could sit in the same spot for hours unless you put forth an effort to bring it to life. I don’t think many boys in today’s present day time can relate to this. There was no electricity, no batteries, not even a pull string. Just a boy, a vivid imagination, automobile sound effects and an abundance of energy. My mom kept patches on hand because the knees of my pants often wore out from pushing my lot of cars and trucks back and forth.
As I grew older, I handed many of my toy cars and trucks down to my younger brother and he too would find joy on the floor pushing his vehicles and wearing out endless pants’ knees. By this time, my mom and younger sister made pilgrimages to the city’s downtown shopping area by bus. My brother would make his weekly request to them to bring him a toy car or truck. There is only so many times that a young boy would give up his Saturday to spend hours roaming through bolts of fabric or waiting for mom to try on shoes at several shoe stores or for other items to be checked off of her list that she made. The toy car and truck ritual at the 5 & 10 interfered with mom’s shopping time, not to mention the pile of vehicles that took over the bulging toy chest. Each Saturday, my sister was told to remove a vehicle from the toy box and they would take it shopping with them. Upon their return, it would be handed over to my younger brother, bag and all. With amazement he would say, “Ive got one just like this!” Off he would go to search and he couldn’t find it because it was handed to him in the bag. He was a smart kid beyond his years, so this only worked a few times.
My passion never left me. Upon graduation from college, I landed a corporate position that I held for many years that included a vehicle switched every two years. Life is full circle. Again I was driving without a car note just as I had done as a kid many years ago.