Childhood Toys…or Lack Thereof

I don’t know if I mentioned this but I was ridiculously spoiled as a child. I had all the Barbies, I had Ken, I had a doll house that was easily five feet tall. One Christmas I asked two different relatives for a bike and ended up with two that year. My childhood was rife with pink, expensive playthings and glitter.

I think I’m still picking glitter out from between my finger nails from a princess dress I had way back when.

Today’s prompt is about my absolute favorite childhood toy and I’m sorry to say that I honestly can’t think of any. It’s not like I didn’t have an abundance of toys. I had way more toys spread out over various relatives’ houses than any child ever needed. I was Barbie dolled out before I was eight years old. But I honestly can’t think of my one favorite toy.

I think my favorite “toy” would have to be books. I read books more than I played with toys and every Christmas or birthday that passed saw my book collection grow. Books were cheaper than the loads of accessories required for Barbie dolls and other “girl” toys. My family happily bought me all the books I could ever want.

I remember the book series that started it all too.

I was in fifth grade, the amazing Scholastic Book Fair had come to my school, and I was ready. The book fair always happens a week or two after my birthday, and I always asked my family for money so I could buy books from the fair. This was the first year I had over twenty dollars (that’s a lot to a fifth grader) to spend on any books I wanted.

When the time came to actually go through the books set up on temporary shelves and tables, I was overwhelmed. Up until then my family bought all my books, various works from Dr. Seuss and Disney. At this moment it was my decision what I should buy, and I was stuck looking stupid.

At the last minute, I went over to the best sellers shelves, and picked three books. I don’t remember the other two but I do remember that one of the books was Twilight, with a promotional poster inside since the movie had just came out.

Yes! I know, I hang my head in shame even as I write this, but it was 2008 and I didn’t know any better. The cover looked cool and it was thick enough that I thought it’d keep me occupied for a few days. All the books in the library I’d been reading hadn’t been as thick as Twilight, and at 544 pages, I thought for sure it’d keep me busy.

This was the age I kept getting into trouble because I would finish my work early and then want to talk. With this thick book, I thought it’d keep me out of trouble for at least a week or two. I’ve always read a few years above my grade level (and I’d stop everyone who met me to tell them) but to an eleven year old Twilight was daunting.

I ended up finishing it in two days. I read nonstop, I was captivated. When I finished the book I was outraged, I had to know more. I had to see what became of Edward and Bella after the school dance. So I begged my grandpa to take me to Target and buy me the next book. There was no telling me no at that point, I was a woman obsessed.

I once again finished the book in two day, only this time I was seriously outraged. How could she? How could Stephanie Meyer play with my young heart this way? To this day I think New Moon took something from me. The cycle continued until I had read the last book. By now my family knew of my obsession, to the point that even years after my obsession ended I was still getting #TeamEdward memorabilia and move soundtrack CD’s.

After Twilight, I felt a hunger for books open up in me. At that point the only thing that could really hold my attention for very long was television, and you can imagine how thrilled my mother was about that. Books opened this whole new world for me. I always felt alone at school, like I didn’t have any friends and that the friends I did have were just waiting to get rid of me. My mother was preoccupied with my younger brothers and keeping our family off the streets, she didn’t have time to worry about entertaining me.

Books became my way out, they gave me friends and adventure and love. I didn’t care if I sat alone at lunch, or if no one in my class wanted to partner up with me for a project. All that mattered to me was that the girl got the guy, defeated the evil clique in her middle school, and made it home in time for curfew.

Maybe this post derailed, maybe I got way off topic, but I feel lighter. I didn’t have a favorite toy, but I did have books. And for all it’s faults, Twilight was the thing that started it all  for me. So if I did have to pick a favorite “toy” it would have to be that.

(I wrote this post while listening to Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez)

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