Friday, 2 September 2016

Someone I really want to meet

took her digger to day-care the other day. She apparently took a book about diggers too. 
I am not sure what sort of "digger" it is because I haven't seen a picture of it yet. I am assuming it is like one of the large industrial diggers that "big boys" play with. I haven't yet seen a "big girl" play with a digger - although I once met one who drove monster size trucks at a big mine in Outback Downunder.
Taking the digger and the reception she apparently got - a comment about her top instead  - reminded me of trying to tell people about my "train-toy" set. This was something I acquired the Christmas just just before my third birthday. 
It was something I desperately wanted. I knew, even at that age, I would be given books. The train set was the only other thing I wanted. I don't know where the idea came from but I suppose I must have seen one, or a picture of one, somewhere. It was a "Hornby", a little green engine and a couple of carriages and a short track that could be set up in two ways. 
Mine came from my paternal grandparents. There was absolutely no nonsense about it being "something for boys". I wanted a train? That was fine with my grandfather. He must have been the one to buy it. 
My paternal grandfather was a mid-Victorian sort of character. He was very "proper" and often described as "an absolute gentleman". Manners were important. We never put a foot out of line in his presence. On that Christmas morning when I finally managed to pull the paper off the box containing the train set I flung my arms around his knees and thanked him. I knew it had to have come from him.
Later in the morning my father helped me set it up under the big dining room table. I remember sitting there reading the instructions to him. I am not sure how much I actually read but I know I read something. My father, knowing I wouldn't have the manual dexterity to put the track together, had told me, "You read the instructions so I know how to do it". After all, it was a week before my third birthday. I should have been able to read!
The little engine was clockwork of course. I was shown how it worked by my grandfather and I was told how important it was never to over-wind it. I never did.
That train set took me to all sorts of places. I played with it for hours. (My father set the track up on a piece of plywood for me so that I could use it at any time.) I went all over the world on that train. 
And no, it wasn't a "girl" toy at the time but I didn't know that. Along with the other pre-school children in the tiny country town I lived in at the time I would go off to the "big trains" at the railway station. The station master - who must have been a very patient man - would actually put parcels in the trays at the back of our tricycles (no bikes for us in those days) and we would take them from the train to where the parcels were sorted. I know I told him about my train. He asked questions. I don't think he ever said it was a "boy" sort of toy.
So, I want to meet MB one day. I want to find out about her digger and what it can do. 
I might tell her about my train.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post and it evoked many happy memories. I think I am older than you but of much the same sort of upbringing and social constraints. My father was alos a teacher in another state at a time when teachers were very poorly pid. Dad's tax refund paid for christmas and a time at the beach.

My grandmothers gave us clothes, made by them of course. They were well made and always useful in a time of little money, but they were not exciting presents to open.

My grandfather on the other hand had an understanding of my feelings which I now find amazin for the time. He was a top level accountant who worked for a large firm from a beautiful huge office filled with expensive, well polished furniture. The office had a bank of windows overlooking Hyde Park in Sydney. However he was good with his hands and did beautiful work. He understood my hunger for books so there was always at least one or two well chosen books at both birthday and Christmas..

He helped my father make us a proper cubby with doors and windows from a container used for shipping an individual car. As a very young child, I had a beautiful red truck made of wood. More of his handiwork. There was a set of table and chairs also made by him for the cubby. I too had a Hornby train at an early age, again from him. Then there was a clockwork London bus. Wind it up and it would set off around the loungeroom. One ding and the bus would stop, two dings and it would be on its way again. There was a tugboat which I still have. It had a boiler and waas heated by a stub from a candle. Once warmed up, it would chug noisily around the bath til the boiler was emptied. It was called and Atomic Tugboat. Another much loved present was a small drk green Matchbox brand Jaguar car. I still have the car but the caravan which hooked onto a towbar on the car has been lost.

Lovely childhood memories to look back on now I am in 70s. Even better was the the thought he put into getting things which he knew I would enjoy. No dolls etc for me.