Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Old toys can do more than just take us down memory lane

Many of us enjoy looking at antique toys or toys like those we grew up with that on their way to becoming antiques. Old toys can do more than just take us down memory lane.

Toys can tell us about the values our families held or how much money they had to spend. They may say something about what the child hoped to be when he or she grew up.

Take a look at the photo taken in the front yard of the Pierce family farm in Wilmer, Alabama.

Behind the steering wheel of the toy Indy racer is Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981). The girl standing to the right is his big sister Beatrice Valara Pierce (1921-1993). The name of the other child is not known, but is believed to be a cousin, William Gustaver "Gus" Cayton (1921-2011).

Raymond grew up to work in the auto body business and later became an auto supplies distributor. His sister Bea ran a service station for a time. Cousin Gus had a career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Clearly the Pierce family could afford the luxury of store-bought toys and the children had time to play. Farm life, like any other life, may have had its drudgery, but there was also time for fun and play.

What do toys say about the children in your family? Did a fireman ancestor play with toy firetrucks as a child? Did a future engineer play with Erector construction sets?

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