Vintage toys reconnect us with our past
Toys from our childhood can stir powerful memories and emotionally reconnect us to times, places and people that are long gone.
A boom in nostalgic toys and games is causing the prices of classics, like View-Masters and Creepy Crawlers, to skyrocket and sending would-be buyers on elaborate missions to track down and secure their personal favorites. A recent article in the Arizona Republic outlined the fervor of many Baby Boomers who are scouting yard sales, vintage shops and eBay and other online sellers for tokens of their youth.
Connie Cone Sexton, the author, tapped two Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change faculty for input. Richard Toon, director of the museum studies program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, commented on the power of a simple toy to channel our younger selves. He noted, “The object hasn’t changed, but we have. It works to evoke us as we were then, placing us back in time.”
Archaeologist Kostalena Michelaki, whose areas of specialty include past people’s relationships with objects and materials, offered her perspective. “You hold that metal race car and think about the races with old friends,” she said. “You touch the tea set and remember about the tea sessions with your dad. You don’t just remember, you re-experience…how you felt.”