Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Glory Days


I knew the day would come eventually and as we were down on the farm visiting my parents, my mom had a pile of stuff from her recent basement cleaning spree that she gave to me. Most of it were childhood books that I can pass on to my oldest who is at that age of becoming a voracious reader like her old man was. One box however took me completely by surprise. Unbeknownst to me, every model I had labored over to glue, paint and apply stickers too she had saved, wrapped up in newspaper and put in a box.

I loved to build model cars as a young boy but frankly sucked out at. It seemed as if every model started out with the engine which required lots of gluing microscopic parts together and painted them all shades of the rainbow. I've never seen a factory engine in the colors model manufacturers suggested. By the time I was finished with my rainbow hued, sticky mass of plastic that vaguely resembled an engine, it was time to move onto the chasis and body. Those went together pretty well until I had to apply the stickers. They always required soaking in warm water and then gently sliding into place. Then I spent the next ten minutes repairing all the rips and rearranging all the air bubbles until in disgust I threw the sodden mess into the trash can. That is why almost all my models are sans stickers and the ones that are there I wouldn't recommend looking at very closely.

By the time I was done with the model, I was so disgusted with my efforts, I never wanted to display them and all these years I assumed they had gone quietly to the landfill only to find out my mom had saved them. As I unpacked them on the dining room table last night, pieces were falling off and they were in pretty rough shape after 30 years of storage. I didn't know what to do with them at first. If I sold them at a garage sale, I'm not sure anyone would want to buy them except for a random kid looking for something to spice up his fourth of July firework shooting spree. That is when it hit me that I should just turn my daughters loose with them with one condition, if anything breaks off, they throw that piece in the trash. Several pieces that were loose immediately ended up in the trash but for the most part after one day of play, they are all still largely intact.

My oldest daughter seemed fascinated by them and when she learned that they still make model kits, she was after me to get one for her. I am constantly amazed at seeing things through the eyes of a child. In my eyes, these are relics of past frustrations and frankly quite embarrassing. To her, they are the coolest things on earth and now she wants to build some. I wonder how much has changed in model kit technology after 30 years?

4 comments:

warren said...

I always wanted to build models and I tried many times but I absolutely hated it each and every time...isn't that odd? Why did I keep doing it? It was what boys were supposed to do I guess? Anyhow, mine are all gone thankfully!

Ed said...

Warren - Are you sure? I thought all mine were gone too until my mother surprised me. Makes me wonder what else she may have to embarras me with.

sage said...

I was going to ask if you never played with firecrackers (without parental supervision, of course). I remember blowing up a pirate ship I'd put together. I don't remember doing many cars--but my brother and I once did a V-8 engine that was pretty cool looking even if it never worked right (the battery was supposed to turn the engine and light up what would be spark plugs, etc)

roaring40 said...

We had Airfix models that came in a sort od molded cage that yo pressed out. Mine never came out like the photo on the box. Actually they're still going http://www.airfix.com/uk-en/
I had lots of dinky cars, but legos were my goto toy as a kid. Being an only child I didn't have the monkey see monkey do you have with a few kids in a family.
I think my problem back then was my fingers hadn't the strength and dexterity to form the parts. And in a way I now think those models weren't made for kids at all, but adults.