A propos the speed with which time passes as one gets older (discussed in yesterday’s blog post about Marcia Angell), it seems only yesterday I bought some little-kiddy toys to have in the house for when my children might come visiting from out of town with their brand-new little boys. Bill also contributed:
[You can tell we both like red. You should see our living room!]
Yes, we also had ring stacks, and shape-sorter boxes, and baby books. But the cars are more photogenic, so let them suffice by way of illustration. We did enjoy a couple of visits. But mostly the parents (my children) brought their own toys. And then suddenly, the two little toddler boys weren’t toddlers. They wore bigger size clothes, and played with other kinds of toys.
Yes, it was suddenly. Okay, on the calendar five or six years. But I had barely gotten used to the idea of grandchildren when — before we knew it — they weren’t interested in pushing stylized cars around on the floor anymore. (Although they did like matchbox cars for a while.) We gave away the ring stacks and shape-sorter boxes and baby books to neighbors who were expecting.
But I couldn’t give away the two red cars. I mean, it was only yesterday. So now they sit on my bookcase, waiting. (Not, apparently, for another little toddler. Both of my children have assured me they are not going to provide anything like that.) One car is next to an ashtray which somehow or other made its way from a hotel in Firenze onto the plane with us. (Don’t tell, please.)
The other keeps company with a small leather cup and even smaller leather box from Italy (both also from Firenze, judging by the gold imprint inside the little cup), that my mother acquired with her employee discount at J.W. Robinson’s in the 1960s.
Is a retired lady lawyer’s bookcase any place for small red toy cars?
Actually, I do know a little boy who likes toy cars. He lives with me. However, he said I should keep the two red ones in my office, because he already has two of his own. They’re Deux Chevaux — modeled on a real Deux Chevaux (two-horsepower car) he used to drive when he was a very young man in Switzerland, long before he became a little boy in Princeton. We walked all over Montpellier (France) finding them for him. Now he has them in his own office at home.
He also has other wheeled objects to play with in his office. This one turned up at a street fair in Lisbon:
And if we cast an eye around, we find other kinds of toys as well: Kyoshi dolls from Japan, pre-Columbian figures from Guatemala. [And Freud and Einstein to figure it all out.] The Modigliani you’ll just have to overlook. I should have removed it before taking the picture, but I suppose you could consider it another sort of toy for boys.
In fact, when my grandchildren come to visit these days, they make a beeline for the stairs. “Let’s go play in Bill’s office!” they cry.