The Younger Me

August 28, 2011

Today I remembered something about myself when I was just a wee lad. 

I was freaking cute.

I was also keeping the future in mind…

Star Wars fandom took over my life at a relatively young age. I remember seeing my dad watch The Empire Strikes Back back when I was around 7 or 8. It was the battle of Hoth scene, and I remember thinking, “Woah, this is super cool.” After that my friend Bobby let me come over to his house and play with his “aliens” that were characters from the Star Wars films.

Then Bobby let me borrow one of his Star Wars toys to take over to my house. It was all over after that.

It was like a drug. I needed more. Much more.

I would go to the store with my mom and always beg for an action figure. It didn’t always work, but when it did, I felt like I was assembling the worlds greatest collection of awesome toys ever. The scale of my collection really isn’t anything to sneeze at, it’s quite good and was meticulously taken care of, but it also served another purpose in my life.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this on the blog or not. (So if I have, I apologize for repeating myself, but there are so many posts on here by now that I have no real idea what I have/haven’t said about my life)

But my brother was a high demand special needs child. He always needed attention to make sure he was doing good. If he ended up in a bad mood he could harm himself or others. He was also prone to having serious seizures, so we always needed to keep checking on him to make sure we knew if one occurred.

As a kid I understood full well what that meant. It meant that I would have to entertain myself as best as I could because my parents were quite busy taking care of Todd (we’ll just say that’s my brother’s name).

This explains why I watched T.V., movies, played video games, and fiddled with toys all the time. If I was home, I needed to be in my room. Todd couldn’t play with my toys because he would likely destroy them. (He would also drool all over them and they would get super icky.) He was also much larger and stronger than me, so if he decided that he didn’t want me to be around him, he could physically dominate me. So, me alone in my room was the safest and most fun place I could spend my time.

So, back on topic. 

I spent a lot of time in my room playing with Star Wars action figures. And when I moved to Florida from Georgia I made friends with many more kids that loved Star Wars. My collection expanded to not only action figures, but MicroMachines and assorted items as well. Then one day my enjoyment took a strange turn.

I thought about how these toys may one day be worth money. I think I saw one of my neighbors collection those 12″ G.I. Joes. They were nicely displayed and kept in the boxes and I figured the same had to be true for Star Wars toys. If their toys were important…so were mine. Star Wars was waaaay cooler than G.I. Joe anyway.

And I began collecting and amassing toys that were still in their packaging. I proudly displayed them on my wall. I would routinely make sure they were dusted and unaffected by anything that would potentially affect their value. I used thumb tacks and pin them to my wall. The tack would then but used as a hanger to slip the packaging onto. (I never punctured the packaging at all.)

I even had toys in boxes that I really wanted to play with. Still, I held out. The whole packaging issue became so important to me that I eventually started keeping the packaging of toys that I decided to open. It just felt wrong to get rid of it. Even if the price was now nearly worthless because the package was open.

This continued until I was around 13.

I stopped collecting and didn’t feel as proud about my mint conditioned Star Wars action figures. I guess I was growing up. Or maybe I was told that I need to clean out my closet or something.

Then the day came when I decided that I needed to put them away. They needed to be put into the closet with my Jurassic Park, Power Rangers, and Batman toys. They were going to be officially retired.

As I was putting them into boxes I started to think about time. All the time that it took for me to collect these things. All the time that they spent on my wall. All the time that I missed out on playing with these guys. But then I realized that I didn’t even play with my opened packed toys anymore… so why should these be any different.

I might as well throw them away.

I found a whole mess of packaging with no toys inside. It was just garbage. It had no value at all. So I decided to throw it away. Then I found some of those silly little toys. Maybe it was from Taco Bell in a kids meal or something. And I threw those away. I even grabbed a few opened action figures and thought about throwing them away…

But then I said to myself something along these lines. “Maybe I will want to play with these later. When I grow up I might want to sell them when I get into college. Maybe I’ll still think they’re cool and will find a better way to show them off. Hey, I can even get a job one day and I can start buying more.”

But none of those reasons seemed to be really feasible. I didn’t’ really think I would keep a hold of them for much longer.

Then it hit me.

What if I have kids and they want to have some cool toys?

In that moment I decided that I needed to do it because of them. Just in case they had a brother like Todd that needed a lot of care they would have some cool toys to hang on their wall. They could even play with them if they wanted to.

I would let them open the package. If they wanted to. I would still tell them they should not open it, but if they really wanted to they could.

And that’s the really cool thing about my young self I remembered today. I was thinking about my future children having my Star Wars collection.

I’m not sure if that is more nerdy than cute but I’m still pretty happy about it.

I just hope I find a wife who’s okay with me moving my boxes Star Wars junk into our first home.

If she asks me why I still keep these toys, I’ll just smile and say, “What if our kids want to have cool toys?

Still making flying sound effects with my mouth,

D.A.

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122 Responses to “The Younger Me”


  1. Great story! Thanks for taking the time to share it. (When you meet the future Mrs. B., just give her a copy of this post & I bet she’ll take on your collection, no problem.)


  2. What an awesome childyou must have been!!! I always thought ahead like that and tried to instill that in my kids. Enjoy now ans rememer that someday, things will be different and you might want that to look back on or hand down.
    What a stroke of luck your mind finally found the subconscious reason you should keep that “junk”! Great post congrats on FP! :) AmberLena (I love collecting and Star Wars!)

  3. j6urban359 Says:

    Man i wish I had the will power to keep my star wars toys in their boxes, Even today at age 17 I still enjoy them every once in a while

  4. wadingacross Says:

    I kept my Lego blocks with the express intention of handing them down to my children. This I have done, and they love them. Lego is expensive.

    Other than a couple of favorite stuffed animals, I think I kept only a few toys from my childhood.

    Books and comic books on the other hand, I have plenty of… the comics are for sale if anyone wants them, for there they sit forlorn in boxes… along with the real sword I bought that’s for sale too.

    My wife shakes her head at all of this stuff… a packrat I am, following in the mold of both of my parents… however, like you, I knew some things were worth keeping and handing down. I have things that belonged to my great-grandfather and are over 100 years old. There is something neat in that.

    And the kids do play with the Lego blocks – half a steamer trunk full.

    I didn’t have very many action toys… and I believe they all made their way to garage sales or my younger siblings… so who knows where they are now.

    Toys are meant to be played with.


    • You tell me the kinds of comics…and we could have a deal going down right now…

      • wadingacross Says:

        Mostly Marvel Thor. I easily have over 350 of those titles alone, stretching from JiMwtMT 95 all the way to 500 +.

        I’ve got a lot of others, but I’ve never sat down to catalog them, and it’s been a while since I’ve flipped through.

        Most of the titles I have are Marvel. I was never into DC. I might have some indies. Shoot me an email via my addy connected to this comment and over the next day or two I’ll look at what I have.

        Thanks.

  5. pepsiology Says:

    its a very nice work


  6. Boys and their toys. My son indeed plays with his step father’s collection of Star Wars toys. They are very special toys, no doubt about that.


  7. I LOVE that you were thinking about your future kids! To be honest, I didn’t think that far ahead when I was a kid, so once I stopped playing with Star Wars figurines, G.I. Joe stuff, and Micromachines (yes, I actually did play with these…guess that’s what happens when you have an older brother…haha), I was ready to throw them out.

    Thankfully, my Mom had the foresight to keep many of them! Just this past weekend I got to pull out a bunch of our old toys for my nephew to play with…well, I kinda played with them again too…haha.

    Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! :)


  8. Haha…I’m sure you were freakin’ cute!

    So I saved all my Barbies from my growing up years, and my daughter loves loves LOVES to play with them. Except now, the one that winks when you push the button on her back totally creeps me out. And “Western Barbie” — she’s clearly “experienced.” Just sayin’…

    I guess aging also adds a little context to the toys and their backstories!


  9. Ahh… Star Wars… I must’ve been around 10 years old when the first movie came out, and me being a very girly girl interested mostly only in pop music, looking back it is surprising that I was absolutely facinated by that movie. I still remember sitting in the movies, thinking how cool everything was, how it was something no one had ever seen before…lol. Good memories. And hey, remember when looking for the missus… if she does not appreciate your Star Wars memorabilia, she may not be the one…. :o)

  10. pezcita Says:

    Indeed, what to save and what not to save is such a huge dillema! I keep saying I don’t want to save every toy I had as a kid, especially since I have no immediate plans to start a family. Then again, how could I live with myself if I unloaded my old favorites and then had kids? Being that Star Wars’ popularity has held up so well, you’ve probably made the right choice!


  11. Great story – my husband’s family kept all of his tractors and ranch animals on hand for that reason. However, I doubt he thought about his future children’s toy needs while he was playing with them.


  12. Just marry a Star Wars fan. She may even think it’s cool and start ploting the best way to indoctrinate your children so that they turn into loyal fans.

  13. Alekber Mestan Says:

    hehe=)

  14. TJ Johnston Says:

    “When I was a child, I spoke, thought and understood as a child. Then I grew up and I put away childish things.”

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  15. The Hobbler Says:

    Star Wars will never go out of style. Are you getting the lego star wars stuff too? The perfect combination of two classics. My son loves those. Good luck with the wife thing…she will probably at least like them until that “in love” stage is over. http://wp.me/p1Cvgh-7p

  16. Luna Kadampa Says:

    I’m with Vicki. Your future wife will probably think you’re still freaking cute.

    congrats on being Freshly Pressed, and I like your style.

  17. alejandra h Says:

    hi…


  18. We just brought my husband’s Star Wars action figures (not toys, he says) to our house from his childhood home. They are all in the packages and pretty dusty. Maybe I can convince him sell them or at least garage sale them.


    • Did you not read my post?!?!

      He should keep them! And, you know, do something with them. Like take photos of them in funny positions. Or make a stop motion film of them recreating Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video…

      Wait…don’t do that…I should be doing this…


  19. haha this is a great story


  20. You may want to check the value of some of those unopened toys now. My son collected TMNJ’s and kept all the packaging too. He can still make those sounds effects as well. Congrats on the fp!

  21. stasiuwong Says:

    I totally understand toy collecting as an addiction, where showing off that trophy on the wall is a ‘fix.’ But prices these days are enough to make anyone go ‘cold-turkey!’

    I hang on to opened packaging as well, but only to enjoy the design as art in itself. Figure card backs are manageable, but it gets out of hand with large boxed toys.

    I found it strange that in your collecting low-point you would consider tossing toys in the trash, when you were speculating on future value in the first place at such a young age! But I’m glad you came to your senses to invest in your future family’s enjoyment of your collection. It reminds me of Toy Story 3’s ending…


    • I agree about the Toy Story 3 ending. The only difference is that I didn’t move away nor leave them with another person. But the toys do totally talk at night. It really affects my sleep schedule.

  22. Arjdalumat Says:

    Love your blogpost! :)


  23. I can’t believe you didn’t play with them! Maybe you should try to figure out what they are worth.


  24. Great post, you have a way with words!

  25. scribblerinsa Says:

    Dude. Hang onto those toys. Don’t do what I did. All my Star Wars stuff was thrown out years ago, and now, I find myself buying all sorts of overpriced stuff on eBay for my SW-obsessed 6-year-old. The good news is, if you have a boy, there is a 99% chance your kid will be into it, as nine out of every ten boys between the ages of 5 and 10 are. And hell yes you will play with them, too. That’s the best part of being a parent. Free reign to regress as much as you want!

  26. JuJuBee Says:

    Fantastic post. Here’s to hoping you find a Mrs who is just as much a geek and loves and appreciates your collection,too.:-)

  27. brainrants Says:

    Star Wars toys just rock. Period.


  28. I feel quite ashamed to remember being angry with my mother on some weeks when she DIDN’T bring me home a new Star Wars figure. We weren’t poor but we didn’t have any money to spare, so it was really selfish of me. i suppsoe most kids are naturally “self” centred.

  29. librarysteph Says:

    I kept my Star Wars toys too, and I bought a Star Wars ABC book for toddlers even though I don’t have kids yet, just in case it isn’t available when I do have them. My boyfriend claims he realized he loved me when we played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and I identified a Dewback just by the sound it made. I made earrings out of some of my Lego Star Wars figures, the kids at work love them.


  30. Love this post. So enjoy the fact you are thinking about the future down the road–that’s so rare in this day and age. You’ll relish tromping up to the attic and bringing down the figures you’ve stored to introduce them to your toddlers. You have the makings of the absolute best husband/dad ever.

  31. Evelyn Says:

    I can say you’re blessed as a child. And I’m sure, you’re thankful for it. As a child, I was never given the privilege to have toys which were bought from the market. All our toys were homemade: a ball made of coconut leaf, assorted leaves as our play money, loose garter of my father’s loose shorts for Chinese Garter, and real mud clay for a doll. My childhood recreation was based mainly on a game we called Tsato – “stick game, better be good at it” -Two players, one flat stick (usually 3′) and one short flat piece of wood (4″ usually a piece cut from the flat stick).

    Player A hitter and Player B as the catcher. Played outside on the ground where you dig a small square hole (slanted) where you put the small wood so it sticks out.

    Player A hits the wood with the stick so it catches air enough to be hit by the stick.

    The further the wood gets hit the more points you get (usually counted by the number of stick length

    Player B on the other hand has to anticipate and catch the small piece of wood to nullify the points and become his turn OR looks forward to Player A to miss hitting the wood.

    I’m glad you decided to store you collection for your would-be-offspring. As early as now, I can already tell that you will be a very good father.


  32. You got Freshly Pressed!!!!!!

    You are SO cool.


    • Finally! A familiar face!

      Yeah…how the crap did this happen?

      I’m sure everybody gets this “honor” eventually. But when I logged on and saw all those views I thought only one thing to myself.

      “What did I type?”

      Apparently it’s not the content but the luck of the draw on this one. Still, maybe I can add “Freshly Pressed” next to my fake name…makes it look more official.

  33. Morphic Says:

    I come from Indonesia! :D
    And I love your article! :D

    http://adf.ly/2R9Wx

  34. y3girlgames Says:

    bộ sưu tập rât hay, nó không những mai lại một ý nghĩa cho bạn mà nó còn là một cái để mọi người hoc hỏi.
    y8.vc


    • This is what this translates to in google translate; “very good collection, it is not a meaningful future for you but also as a people to learn.”

      Sure. Yeah. Okay. Thanks?

  35. fiona Says:

    i love what you’ve said, “I was freaking cute.” :D

  36. Sharp Says:

    man that is great :’)…

    I have a masters of the universe collection.. carded! on my wall! :P


  37. I just gave my two boys my old Star Wars figures. My dad kept them when he moved. I could still remember which guns went with which characters. It might as well be Christmas for them. They are enjoying them much more than any amount of money I could get on eBay. Keep yours, then pray for sons!

  38. cpb Says:

    I literally flinched when the younger you thought about throwing the toys away. I’m glad a smarter you prevailed.

  39. Shawky Says:

    Awesome post mate. Really loved it, a great story. I’m sure many can relate to this, i know I do!

    Keep the Kid inside you alive! :)

  40. Jamie Dove Says:

    well law…looka comin hyer

  41. spider42 Says:

    “Still making flying sound effects with my mouth”

    ha! nice post, first time visitor and had to comment on such an entertaining post.
    I never really kept my toys packaged but I can completely relate to the desire to hang on to my old toys ‘just in case’ they are needed down the line.

    Cheers…

  42. winterkaelte Says:

    oh my.. this is exactly the story of my childhood as well. i’m so with you. thanks for sharing. (:


  43. My son has many wonderful and classic toys from my husband and he treasures them. So save away, but just don’t let it become like an episode of the Hoarders.

  44. Arc Jones Says:

    I can relate to this story — a little bit. Thanks for sharing. I too used to collect Star Wars Action Figures in the 80’s & 90’s. I don’t collect them anymore. But my brothers still give gifts from the Star Wars movies. Back then I wanted to be a film director. I don’t collect them anymore because after more than 20 years, I realize that I will never be a film director. But I will cherish my childhood.


  45. I’m glad you were Freshly Pressed because I really enjoyed this story, and I don’t know if I would have found it otherwise. I’ll check back. Congrats and best wishes.

  46. gaycarboys Says:

    It reminded me of me when I was a kidlette:) Thanks for the memories.

  47. natasiarose Says:

    I think you will find a wife who will be okay with the boxes. I have like 80 Barbies (shut up!) still in their boxes and my wife has learned to accept them.


    • :::Keeps mouth shut about the high proportion of Barbies in boxes:::

      Holy crap! Barbies in Boxes sounds like a really good band name…

      Patent Pending! Copyright! That’s all mine! I’m going to sell it!

  48. Mark Says:

    Great story!

    I wish my (younger) brother and I had been better at taking care of the Star Wars toys we had, (though in truth, as much as I loved the movies, they were virtually all his). Whenever I watch Antiques Roadshow and see a toy and the appraiser goes on about condition and boxes, I ruefully wish we’d bought two of each toy, saving one in its box.

    When we moved house in the early 90s, both of us being in our 20s and off to our own little apartments, the decision was made to just leave the stuff in the attic. I was sorry at the time and am sorry now, especially since my own kids love Star Wars.

    They also love LEGO which is a bummer, too, as I had a huge box of LEGO Space that I just KNOW they would have loved, though it got donated to a local school, and I like to think, twenty plus years later its pieces are still being used in models in a classroom!

  49. leadinglight Says:

    I was not the sort of child that was able to preserve toys. As I recall, I wore them out pretty fast Barbie Doll or toy pistol able to make popping noises.


  50. Star wars rocks. I was obsessed by collecting figures and had pretty much all of them………..except Jabba the hut.


  51. Quit being self deprecating… it’s totally the content. You’re an aamazing writer and deserve all of your newfound fame :)

    Besides, who can’t relate to saving stuff in the hopes of giving it to their kids. I hope I have girls because the number of Barbie Dolls I still have is staggering.


    • Okay, I’ll concede that I did, in fact, write this post using words. But I will still believe that I just got really lucky. There are tons of other blogs out there that could have been chosen, I just got lucky.

      And thanks for the kind words. Coming from you that means a lot.

      But…all you other wonderful people who are reading this… Your words mean a lot as well…

      Oh boy…I might have made a mistake here… Why did I hit reply?


  52. I may be a girl, but I can totally relate to the Star Wars craze! AND…in defense of your future wife, if she’s anything decent at all, she’ll totally understand your collection! Enjoyed your writing and I look forward to reading more!


  53. Very good post. For me i have not keep many of my games .My parents every Christmas tell me to choose games that I have not broke for Africa , so I choose most of my games and leave for myself the broke games the others was putting in small boxes and send them in unisef or in church .

  54. huffygirl Says:

    If your future wife does not embrace your saving vintage Star Wars toys for your future children, then I bet she is not for you. I had countless hours of fun playing with Star Wars and GI Joes with my boys, who are now 35 and 33. When they grew up and left home I saved them all, and recently got them out for my 3-year-old granddaughter and 5 and 2-year old great nephews to play with when they visit. The younger kids had no idea what Star Wars was, but they had great fun playing with the people. Next time, I added vintage toys (50-60 years old) rescued from my parents house – plastic soldiers, cowboys and indians, horses, and a ranch house and fort – basically I made my own “Cowboys and Aliens” http://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/cowboys-and-aliens/

    We all loved playing with it, and I’ll save these toys to pass on to my grandkids some day. Forget about saving toys in packages – toys are meant to be played with .


  55. I had so much fun reading this. There is so much that I can personally relate to. Congrads on making FP.


  56. I think that should be one of your criteria for marriage. If she doesn’t “get” your Star Wars toys, she just doesn’t “get” you! We’ve got bins of the things. And our kids think it is the coolest thing in the world to look at the neat stuff their dad collected, like they are touching a part of his childhood.

  57. Melissa Says:

    Kids with collection are always super cool kids. I myself was a fantasy book collector. The best time of my childhood. I still can see myself smelling the books to read them for the millionth time…

  58. ph1ltheee Says:

    Brilliant post – really enjoyed it. I went through the same thought process re kids and keeping things boxed up, however, in my case, when I eventually settled down my stepkid was too old to play with them. So maybe grandkids…

    As for Star Wars, funnily enough I just wrote a short piece on my first experiences of the saga, and it was published on the SciFi Now website. Would appreciate it if you took a look – would love to get your opinion.

    http://bit.ly/oCevyc

  59. t Says:

    so well written and a good yarn to boot! Even if you happen to be wholly mistaken about the superiority of G.I. Joe over Star Wars figurines…

    :)


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