Monday, December 21, 2009

the ghosts of Christmas past.

when I think of Christmas so many memories come to mind.
baby jesus in a manger, christmas lights on trees, snow balls,
hot chocolate with whipped cream, a fireplace, and of course:

as far back as I can recall, toys were always what it's about.

only my family members know this, but I have collected
many things from Christmas's past, or more correctly
things from Christmas have often been the starting point
for collections of things I still cherish.

I was reminded of this over the weekend when my girls
begged me to show their friends my toy soldier collection.
I let them set the soldiers up (all 440 of them)
in mock battle positions for the "good war":
the kind where no one gets hurt and no shots are fired.

I began accumulating these toy soldiers from age 10,
but continued to find rare matching packages of exactly
this type at ma and pa stores around the country
well into my twenties.

I keep them in a wooden box my grandmother gave me.
I know it's silly but somehow I treasure these tiny guys
with their little jeeps and tanks, cannons and trucks,
all standing firmly in their fixed positions.
soldiers with rifles, captains with pistols drawn,
truck driving soldiers, marching soldiers, bazooka guys,
hand grenade throwers, kneeling sharpshooters,
lying down sharpshooters, officers with binoculars,
and soldiers standing guard.

they are a window into a simpler time.
Christmas as a kid.


  1. As a kid, one of my favorite activities was to catch these little green guys on fire and drip whistling/sizzling molten fireballs on the advancing army. Fun stuff, and good breathin' too. Happy Solstice!!!

  2. so cool, im glad I saw this post. Always wished I had a bunch of them. All time classic plastic toys for boys!

  3. i really enjoyed reading this post... Simpler times definitely.

  4. Very cool! There was a magical hardware / garden store with a big toy department in my neighborhood in the late 60s, when I was all about 'army men', model kits, Matchbox and HotWheels. Still can't smell fertilizer without smiling and happy memories...

  5. Adrian! I am pro simplify,frisk(y),zest.And I wish you all of the above,because you are cool and wow!And thanks,Man.

  6. Early sixties, south side Chicago. We had two games we played all the time 'Big Army' - where we'd roam around the neighborhood with our potato guns or Freddie's Johnny-7 O.M.A., pretending they were Tommy Guns, or if you were the Lootenant, the carbine. Hurling 'grenades' into Nazi bunkers (or oommmie, depending on the day). Good times.

    The other game was 'Little Army' reserved for rainy days or the winter with some of those same sets as yourses, plus some odd fellers who had got separated from their units in earlier years or had been 'drafted' from your pals brigades...and of course an Injun or two - looking out of place in tan or red against all that green...

    At any rate, thanks for everything since seeing ya's on Halloween at the Auditorium with FZ. Great stuff Maynard.

  7. I collected them as well but all are long, long lost - and the green never worried me!

    I used to look longingly at the aircraft carrier, too but my folks / Santa never got the hint.