In the Harry Potter books there are enchanted objets called portkeys. They look like small pieces of junk like empty tin cans or old worn-out boots. They are easy to miss and Muggles almost never notice them. But each one can instantly transport a person to another place. Toys have always been like that for me.
It didn’t matter if I owned them or merely gazed at them in the store or looked at their pictures in catalogs. They could take me out of my everyday world and bring me to a place of safe thrills and adventures. I never out-grew them because they never lost that magical quality for me.
When my life got too busy for play I became a collector. I remembered the power of play even though I no longer practiced it. I think I rediscovered the full potential of toys when I became a father and began to play with my children.
Not everyone needs to be a parent but it saddens me when I encounter toy collectors who don’t seem to like kids. While adults can appreciate the history and artistry of a quality toy, I think only a child can unlock its true potential to create new worlds and tell stories nobody has ever heard before. As I share my collection with my children they have become my teachers.