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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Never Too Old for Toys....

Never Too Old for Toys

'The season is coming to think about toys, especially for parents of little ones. However, children are not the only ones who collect toys, adults do also. I'm not speaking of what we sometimes call "adult toys," such as camera phones, digital cameras, or sports cars. I'm speaking of toys originally created for children.

Probably many of us still hold on to a favorite toy or two from our childhood if we didn't love it to pieces. Somewhere in my attic, a doll named Martha Washington resides. She is pretty battered now, but I keep her nevertheless to remind me that I was once a child, and because she was a favorite toy.

The reason I thought of the doll is because I became curious the other day about the old dolls, cars, and other toys for sell on the Internet. I sent an e-mail to a website owner to inquire about the site. The owner, a toy collector and seller of vintage toys, graciously responded to my nosey questions. He said that he began by selling toys that were his own from younger years.

It seems that many times people remember favorite toys that they had in childhood that were lost or given away. They frequently told him, "I wanted that," meaning that they wanted the toy as a child. People want to recreate their childhood memories by finding another toy just like one they used to own, either for themselves or for a child in their life.

The dealer's wife collected dolls, and he picked up favorite toys to add to his collection. As the collections grew, they became larger than the space available and it was necessary to sell some of the things. The couple enjoyed visiting toy fairs to see what they could find and selling one thing in order to be able to acquire another. I was surprised to learn that doll collecting is the second largest collectors' hobby, exceeded in popularity only by stamp collecting.

Now they sell toys via the Internet, more as a hobby than as a business, but are often contacted by people looking for a certain toy or asking where they might find it. The Internet is a fabulous way to find unusual things that you have always wanted. Another friend of mine was able to find a favorite out-of-print book that his father read to him many years ago.

My Marta Washington doll is from an age when dolls were not very well made. She was made of some sort of glue and sawdust composition material, which became more brittle with age. Her toes have crumbled and her head eventually cracked. In other words, she is of no value to anyone except me. I would not want to replace her, though, as she is special to me just as she is.

I don't know where Marta Washington came from, but most likely she was purchased from the Sears Roebuck catalog as many of my toys were. I played with her until her original blue satin costume disintegrated. By then I was old enough to stitch another for her, with a bit of help from my mother. She still wears the green dress I made.

At one time, I thought it would be nice to have her toes and cracked face repaired and repainted. I searched for a toy maker that could do this, but was never able to find one. Of course, toys of this material are no longer made and most no longer exist. They were replaced by the Barbie generation.

And so Martha remains packed away in my attic, a memory from another place and another time. While some toys are valuable collector items that are intended only to be collected and admired, most toys are meant to be played with. It is not a bad thing to love a toy to pieces or to pass it along to another child when it is outgrown.

However, I will never give Martha away. Whenever I buy a toy for a child, I will think of her sleeping in attic and wonder if the toy I am buying is one that will be saved or remembered for a lifetime. 

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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