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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
Dad's Toy Story by Danny Batson
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Dad's only toy
db
Dad's only toy
By Gary Thomas
Feb. 13, 2013 1:54 p.m.



My dad was born and raised on Williams Street in the Gravesville neighborhood of Chillicothe. In  the year 1919, life was a lot different than today. Children's toys weren't as abundant then as they are now. Poorer families back then struggled with the most basic needs; toys were not a priority.

I found an old metal horse in Dad's dresser drawer one day while looking for coins. Dad  always put his change on his dresser top at night and then he raked it off into one of the drawers later. He knew I would be looking for coins and he didn't mind if I picked up a few. After finding the horse, I took it to Dad and asked him where it came from, he told me this story:

"Son, when we were kids, my brother and I didn't have any toys. All our sisters had dolls to play with, but as boys we lived a different life. I found this old metal horse when I was very young, and yes, it already had the broken leg when I found it. It was my only toy; it was the only thing I had that I could "make believe" with. I have kept it hidden away all these years from others. I even took it to the Navy with me! Now you know my story about it."

I have cherished Dad's "Toy Story" since that day; I keep his horse now for remembrance. I have retold it many times to our kids, our grandkids, and any all who will listen. I almost forgot, Dad would never let me play with it either! But this "toy story"  is ongoing--- "like father, like son."

I have related to you in this blog many adventures from my early childhood as we traveled all about the country cleaning septic tanks. When at home, our Vagabond Trailer was parked at the old round barn south of Utica. After collection, we dumped the septic tank waste at city dumps all around the country. I found most of my toys there. The best toy I ever found was a wind-up train engine with nothing but straight track.

I loved my train, I would hook the twenty pieces of straight track together and run it from one end to the other. Then I would turn the engine around for the return trip. When I got tired of that I would put things under the track to make hills; now that was a lot of fun. Then I got the bright idea of putting one end on the couch so the engine would run to the end and jump off on to the couch. I found some 3-in-1 oil once and put it on the track and watched the engine spin like crazy!

I spent many an hour with that engine and straight track. I'm not sure what I learned from playing with that train, but I do know this. The more things we have, the less we cherish them.

DB



 






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