Monday, August 3, 2009

Thoughts on Toy Collecting

I made the mistake last week of "catching up on the news." This always makes me sad, and anxious, and I vow never to watch the news again. But that is really an impossible vow to keep. My antidote to too much toxic news was to retreat into some old books about toys and read, read, read, which I did all weekend. In a 1976 book on dollhouse miniatures, I came across this passage, with which I could readily identify. Although the author is speaking specifically about collecting miniatures, I think her words could apply to any old toy collection:

"Beyond the universal and age-old affection for things small, the fascination with miniatures seems to have a special significance for us today. The modern world is bewildering in its complexity and fraught with dangers, which the news media confront us with daily. At times, too, our society seems grossly insensitive to its heritage, paving over the past with scarcely a glance backward. It's the kind of world -- unsentimental and beyond our power to influence -- that we take pleasure in escaping from occasionally. Miniatures provide the perfect retreat. They take the rough edges off of reality. They allow us to preserve the past by recreating it. And, they give us control over a tiny world of our own making, where everything is just the way we want it, with ugliness and inconvenience walled out. In our miniature world, roofs never leak, rugs never fall victim to cigarette burns, beds never need making, food never spoils. As one collector put it: 'The only perfect thing in my life is my dollhouse. It's there. It's controllable. It's security.' "

Speak it, sister!

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