My three-year-old daughter Emily has a new BFF in our home. Her and I used to have tea parties, play dates with dolls, and trains moving down a track to a farm that was ruled by the Potato Head People.
But now she prefers her new buddy to daddy, and it wouldn’t bother me that much if it wasn’t that her new BFF is the 43rd American President, George W. Bush. How does a 68-year-old man and former ruler of the “free world” make his way to the Yukon to play toys with a three-year-old girl?
Easy, I bought him lock, stock, and barrel for $20 at a Whitehorse Elementary toy swap a few years ago. George Bush is actually a two-foot tall puppet, complete with a presidential suit and wild grey hair. She’s had him for a couple years and out of the blue Mr. Bush has become a heavy hitter amongst Emily’s other non-traditional toys.
George is a great example of the unique stuff you can score from local moms and dads eager to off-load their children’s toys. With our somewhat isolated lifestyles, used toys keep circulating around the city from kid-to-kid until they finally go to that big recycling plant in the sky; it’s another interesting look at how interwoven we are as a community.
In my home there are toys, and lots of them. So much so that I wonder if I’m ever going to see a household void of stuffed animals, action figures, and babies… so many babies.
Every time I put my foot down and say “we got to get rid of these things”, another item pops up on the net and I say, “I’d be a fool not to buy that”. I can’t help it if the deals are off-the-hook. You can buy almost anything under $10.
And that’s the Yukon toy trap, isn’t it? You buy cheap toys from neighbours and friends until one day your home becomes its own “plastic circus” with an array of cross-genres and pop culture characters, all co-existing in a strange play world, like the northern version of Toy Story.
Emily has Fantastic Four’s “The Thing”, a one-armed Jake the Snake Roberts, and Chewbacca the Wookie — all having nightly bathtub adventures. With our mountain of inexpensive toys, I wonder what else is out there just waiting to be discovered. Emily is just one child. I can’t imagine what some houses with three or four children must be like. I can picture moms and dads in their bed late at night, plotting to offload their 300 plush dolls and Barbie for prices Walmart would scoff at.
Perhaps in 20 years Emily will find a toy she once owned still doing the rounds and earning its keep. When I finally put poor old “Dubya” up for sale, I hope there’s a new dad grinning and saying in his head, “I’d be a fool not to buy it”, and I’ll be chuckling as the new parents become the keepers of a ton of cool toys that will turn their once beautiful home into a mountain of plastic action figures, stuffed animals, and Barbies.
The true Yukon toy story.