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Don't lose your childhood


This is my old Crossfire game that I sold on eBay. You can tell the game was played with quite a bit.

To some, these represent collector's items. Goods to be bought and sold like they were as distant as numbers on the stock exchange. But to me, each toy holds a value, a memory. For those of us who remember Crossfire, we also remember the cool commercial that went along with it - Crossfire, Crossfire, Crossfire! There seemed to be cooler commercials for toys back then. Anyway, I had to have one, and I remember playing with mine at my aunt's house with my cousins in their living room. I felt as cool as the kids on that commercial, and could have sworn thunder and lightning would strike around me at any second as each metal bearing fired on all sides. But what was really memorable was playing it there. My great grandmother lived there, and there were many fond memories of that house, that a consumer of that game would never appreciate.

What a kid at the time doesn't realize is that they are not just getting a toy, but they are getting great memories. Perhaps that's why the movie Toy Story is so relatable to all of us. Sorry to say, I did get rid of that game. When you move and make room for a family, you tend to part with old stuff to make room for a family. But it doesn't always make it any easier. I did keep a number of my old toys and 'collectibles,' if you want to call them that. I couldn't part with my Ninja Turtles, or my vast collection of baseball cards. I kept my microscope and an old Lego battleship. I believe I have a few G.I. Joes. I mainly held on to them for my son's Sean's sake. I figured it might be neat for him to get some of the toys his dad played with as a kid.

But there are a number of toys that I regret letting go, or that I wished my parents would have held on for me. But being a parent myself now, I understand why they wanted to de-clutter. When I was away at Eastern Illinois, they informed me they sold a bunch of my Lego, G.I. Joes and Army Men. I was devastated. Somewhere along the way, my Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo went missing. God, I wish I had those systems and the games that went with them. I spent countless hours parked in front of Sega racing Sonic through loops and battling Dr. Robotnik or sending Mario down green pipes on Nintendo. I lined my Army Men all over the house just to knock them down in full-scale war. The war was real to me. I built elaborate Lego cities, ballparks, and castles from the instructions in my mind. Unlike today, I very rarely built any sets from instructions, and when I did, they were demolished days later.

I sent Matchbox cars through daring Evil Kanievil-esque loops on my Hotwheels track sets and remember taking a hammer to some of them on Demolition Day.

My Gameboy was my best friend in car rides, as I found every 151 Pokemon in Red and Blue. And then when I got Gameboy Color, I forgot all about the original. Man did I have a love/hate affair with Dr. Mario.

I built a model car with my dad. I felt like I was at a real body shop and we put the car on display above the fridge. Now, anytime I see one in a package, I think of that time, building it with my dad.

Now that I have a son, it's funny how life comes full-circle. I watch the toys that he likes to play with and think how much harder it will be to get rid of those one day. I know we can't keep all of them, but I would like to hold on to some. I get somewhat why people are hoarders. I get it. Each toy is a moment. And you think that if you let go of something, you're letting go of the moments when really, they are always with you. I may have lost a lot of my toys, but the memories are always there.

I'll always remember playing Asteroids and Pacman on Atari, making pogs with my pog maker, and playing Star Wars with my brother (while watching the films, of course). The memories survive even when the toys depart. Perhaps that's why the ending of Toy Story 3 is so emotional. When I first saw that movie, I was ten-years old, and I watched it in the theater around Christmas with my older cousins, who I think the world of. When I saw Toy Story 3, I was 23. So, I basically followed Andy's life in the movie. It was hard for me to hold back a tear. Growing up is a natural part of life, but it's not always easy. That being said, you don't have to lose your childhood. For anyone that has seen my basement, they know that I still build Lego. And I love playing with my son and his toys. You can't stop getting older, but that doesn't mean you have to lose the kid inside of you.

I kept my Ninja Turtles box for my son Sean.

Whenever I see a model car like this one I had, I think of the one I built with my dad.

We had quite the Atari collection. I'm glad I was exposed to such a retro machine at a young age.

This is just a small sample size of the amount of cars I had. A few of them also got busted with a hammer on demolition day...

Do you remember any of these games? I sure do.

My Mega Bloks battleship still stands in my basement. I couldn't bare to take it apart and sell it.

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