Sunday, June 09, 2013

The end of play

Last night I was reminiscing about Star Wars toys. When I was a child in the 1970s, the neighbor kids and my brother and I played with them endlessly -- the four-inch-tall action figures, the spaceships, the Death Star set. For days on end we used the toys to act out stories of adventure. I loved this.

Then I remembered something that made me sad. At some point, I forgot how to play. When I was 12 or 13, a new line of Star Wars toys came out, cast-iron spaceships and play sets that were smaller than the originals. They were lovely. I liked them and bought a few, but when I got them home I realized: I don't know what to do with these. The play that had come so easily now seemed forced. I gave up and watched TV.

And that's how kids at play turn into grown-up collectors.

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