The Sky Surfer
December 14, 2005

I am, without a doubt, a huge geek. That's cool, I enjoy being a geek. Because I'm a techie kind of geek, I was an early adopter of computers; I fiddled with programming; I played D&D; I played with toys. I don't care ... I think being an adult also means being a kid and remembering how to have fun. I'm not so invested in being an adult that I can't also remember what a mystery and delight the first day of kindergarten turned out to be.

So, being a techie kind of geek, I was also an early adopter of eBay. I was also rather cautious at first ... I only bid an amount of money that I could afford to lose. That meant I mostly just bid a few dollar here and there for some things that I'd like to have. After almost ten years on eBay, I've only been ripped off once ... not bad.

Also, being a geek who is into action figures, most of my purchases have been toy-related. I've nearly completed my collection of Fisher Price Little People.

This little green boy is from the first Fisher Price play family that I had, so he's circa 1971 or so. But, he's one of the few Little People that I have left. To keep an incredibly long story relatively short, let's just say that by the time I was ten, my sister and I had a LOT of Fisher Price Little People and their attendant accessories (most of the buildings were given away by the time I was ten).

I was going to try to find a way to tell you how important those little wooden (and later, plastic) "peoples" were to me ... but it's a terribly depressing story that I'm sure you don't want to hear. So, let me just describe what one incident that ought to make the rest of this post make a little more sense.

At 15 I was mostly done with my toys, of course. I wanted to buy some good Rubbermaid storage containers and put all of my Fisher Price Little People ... and Adventure People (the precursors to the Star Wars action figures that everyone else had) into these containers, store them in the attic and give them to my kids. These little guys had meant so much to me that I was positive that my kids - whenever I got around to having some - would love them every bit as much as me.

My mom told me no.

There would be no storing them in the attic. There would be no renting of a storage unit (which, really, would have been overkill ... I had a lot, but not THAT many). There would be no keeping them at all.

Instead, I was told to have a garage sale just to sell off the Adventure People action figures. No, I don't know why she made that decision.

Unfortunately for me, my sister decided that I was going to make a million dollars at this garage sale, so she decided to sell off all of our Little People. I threw a raging fit and managed to get some of them saved. The castle went out to Grandma's house. A few of the Adventure People sets (the ones that didn't sell) also went to Grandma's.

And the day of the garage sale, I was literally going through the things my sister had put out for sale and began shoving favourite Little People into my pockets to transport back into the house. I saved Chris that way as well as the other members of that very first family I had. And I saved Tommy, Smitty, Peter and a few others. I let Chris's best friend go (he, oddly enough, never had a name like many of the others did).

I had wanted to hide some of the Adventure People as well, particularly the kite and the guy who rode on it like a hang glider. this set:



As it turns out, you see, that set was recalled ... evidently the little guy fell out and bonked some kid on the head. Well, I incurred my mom's wrath by choosing to ignore the recall and refusing to return the toy ... after all, I knew I wasn't gonna sue Fisher Price if I bonked myself on the head with the kite!

Fast forward to today. I have almost completed my Fisher Price collections ... I have nearly every Little People set and accessory and the same for the Adventure People. Except, I can't find that Sky Surfer anywhere.

It was on eBay this week. And somehow, I just couldn't stay up late enough to protect my high bid from the snipers. I knew when I woke up this morning that I had probably lost the auction. And yet, when I went to the computer first thing to check ... I was just like that slightly older little kid opening birthday presents ... knowing intellectually that the "pony" (or whatever the most-wanted present was that year) was most likely not there. But still unable to quench that quick rush of hope, that maybe, just maybe, the fates had been kind and the most wanted toy ever was really there waiting for me.

Nope. I was outbid.

One of these days I will find that Fisher Price kite and complete my collection. Someone asked me today if I would fly the kite if I ever got it. You bet! These toys are meant to be played with, not protected under glass.

In fact, if I ever get rich, I intend to build a nice little outbuilding and set up my Fisher Price Town (tm) and make a kind of showplace for these favourite old toys. I've already laid out the streets, figured out where the airports go, the main street, the village, the gas station, the lumberyard ... even Sesame Street has its place.

And, of course, the Sky Surfer will be hanging from the ceiling, surveying the whole place from his kite-hang-glider.

For me, at least, nothing has ever captured that level of pure joy and imagination as my Fisher Price did.

Posted by Red Monkey at December 14, 2005 2:38 PM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

shane said:

great post. I still have my big metal police car from 1970 when I was 4. It's rusty and sharp and they would never manufacture such anything like it again. ahhhh the good old days.

December 14, 2005 10:07 PM

 

Neal Dench said:

Hoo boy, this kind of story strikes a bell with me. The flat that I grew up in was very small, and consequently there just wasn't room to keep a lot of stuff. The long and the short is that I sold a lot of my toys when I was about the same age -- 14, 15, something like that. I can't blame my Mum for it, it was a question of space, but I regret it now. About the only thing I saved was my Meccano (you'd probably call it Erector) which I still have. But all the things that went, that I'd love to have now. I had a huge collection of 2000AD comic, including the first one. I GAVE them away. I don't know what happened to my Marvel comics. I had Lego. I gave that away. I had Action Man. I gave that away. Some stuff I sold, some I gave away, but it's just about all gone now. I completely get your desire to get that Sky Surfer back.

December 15, 2005 2:52 AM

 

EF said:

Ender,
I feel the need to comment, yet I don't know what to say. We who had... "difficult" childhoods find comfort in a lot of things. I found mine in books. I still re-read many of the books that gave me comfort (Ender's Game being one of my absolute favorites btw). I hope you find your Sky Surfer.
EF

December 15, 2005 8:06 AM

 

Tired Tunia said:

Hey, wish I had a FisherPrice kite guy to send you! I'm still mad that my mother trashed my stuffed monkey named George, and my brother's stuffed monkey Frankie. I loved both of them, as did my brother, and we played with them so much that their faces basically fell off, my mother had to reattach their eyes, their stuffing was coming out, who knows what color they originally were...so when we were a little older and not so attached to them she threw them out. Poor George and Frankie. Hey EF told me about your "gender" secret -- is this common knowledge in the blogworld? I always pictured you as the opposite of what you are, and I must say that you make more sense to me now, don't ask me why! Gender identity is a strange thing. Hey, speaking of childhood toys, next time you run into Eccentric Father, ask him where his Casper the ghost stuffed toy is that his mother got at his babyshower...hee hee. Talk about a disgusting well-loved scrap of stuffing and fabric....eeuuuuwww.

December 15, 2005 10:47 AM

 

Zoe said:

oh ender that is somewhat sooooooo sad, if i ever see the kite adventure guy i swipe off for you. As a child I had stickers books full of them of everyking.... did u know in the 80s they made musical stickers ahhhhh i used to love those anyhow the frequent moving that occured during my childhood forced me to keep only one of my books... i mean when you cross Canada by bus how much stuff can you really carry...

December 15, 2005 12:08 PM

 

WendyWings said:

I still regret selling all my old Barbies, they would have been "vintage" now. I still have my old teddybear but it is so old and raggedy it is just sad.

December 15, 2005 4:30 PM

 

Seawave said:

When I opened your blog yesterday and saw that picture, it immediately transported me back in time. Wow. I love being a kid again for a moment. Thank you for that. The Fisher Price little people.

I imagine that completing your collection will be a comfort -- to be able to hold the things physically in your hands that gave you joy as a child when there are so many painful memories for you of a time in life that should have been nothing but carefree. Great post, as usual.

December 16, 2005 11:34 AM

 

akaRaff said:

Oh man. i haven't heard the words 'Adventure People' in about 15years. My best friend growing up had all of them. Thanks for bringing back those great memories.

raff

December 17, 2005 6:40 AM

 

suki said:

GOod luck finding that sky surfer!! :)

December 17, 2005 7:30 PM
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