What is Your "Toy Story?"

Good Father’s Day yesterday. Brunch with the four women I love at a breakfasty place serving colossal portions of carbs and pork bits. This is as it should be.

Later, a long, leisurely workout, a nap, then ensconcement in my favorite chair to watch the U.S. Open. From my cushy throne I was eventually served dinner followed by a slice of homemade coconut cream pie (an Emeril Lagasse recipe). It was astonishingly good.

Now a half-moon of seduction and sin calls to me every time I open the refrigerator door. Alas I’m fasting today. But tomorrow . . .

I have utterly loved being a dad. Of course, the job is different with daughters aged 21, 18 and 16 than it was only a brief decade ago–just a blink of the eye–when they were 11, 8 and 6.

Which is why I haven’t seen the new Toy Story movie. Back in the day we saw every big new release for kids and enjoyed them as much as the girls did. These days? . . . I haven’t darkened the door of a movie theater since the final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

James Lileks, on the other hand, has a daughter who is in the sweet spot for movies like Toy Story III. He has a sweet and insightful review up over at his blog, here.

As you surely know, the Toy Story movies are about the toys left behind by a boy who has outgrown them and left them behind.

That got me thinking about the toys I left behind. Particularly the ones from my earliest, dimmest days of memory.

The first toy I can remember having was a stuffed monkey. He held a banana in one hand which could be jammed into his open mouth. I wonder if a picture of that little guy is findable on the interwebs? Standy by . . . Ah yes. This guy:


Apparently his name was Mr. Bim. I never knew that. But just looking at this picture I can smell the rubber of his hands and face. It also triggered a memory of sticking his thumb into his mouth. It fit better than the banana, I now recall.

I also remember a Jack-in-the-Box with a crank handle that played “Pop Goes the Weasel” when you turned it. I believe a terrifying clown popped out at the end of the song. It’s a long shot, but I’ll look . . .  Well, I’ll be switched:


That’s the one. That’s some high-octane nightmare fuel, right there.

I remember wooden puzzles with big, chunky pieces. One featuring cars, another farm animals. And I dimly recall a metal whirring top and spun after you pumped it a few times. Sort of like this one:


So what toys occupy the mistiest corners of your memories?