If eBay had been around when we were kids, we’d be rich today

I used to buy and sell a lot of stuff on eBay, old books, postcards, brochures, old advertisements from old magazines–ephemera, was the technical term. But no toys. There’s a reasonn why. We were destructive kids.

Tin soldiers bit the dust on the screen porch when we set up forts at each end, filled them with soldiers, and then used marbles to wipe them out. A logroller was like an a-bomb.

Old metal airplanes such as the kids’ versions to B-17s and B-29s. If you filled them with pine straw, lit the pine straw on fire, and ran through the pack yard holding the plane it’s wingtip, the result was pretty exciting. It looked wilder when the plane kit a tree.

Plastic toys tended to leave the world via an “unfortunate explosion.” We weren’t allowed to play with C-4, but on trips we stocked up on M-80s and cherry bombs at places across the border such as Crazy Eddies’. You guessed it.  These were thrown at old toys.

I assure you, after watching th Toy Story movies we all feel quite a bit of sorrow for doing this. We also feel financial sorrow after seeing years later that the toys we destroyed would one day be worth big bucks.

I’m not sure why, but we just enoyed playing with fire and explosives. We proved, I guess, that you can play with fire and not get burnt–physically, that is. But the money we could have made if we’d put the toys away in their original boxes at the end of the day.

In our defense, I should mention that a fair number of these toys (the ones not destroyed) were donated to Toys for Tots where, years later, other kinds would probably destroy them one way or another. Via fire or rain, nobody would ever know.

The odd thing is, our parents never seemed to worry about fire and explosives or even the homemade missiles we made by adding “extra”chemicals to our Gilbert chemistry sets.  Maybe they snuck out and got extra life insurance on us so that if “anything went wrong,” somebody would make a few bucks.

Our excuse was, “all the kids are doing it.” And they were. Today, I suppose, we’d all be taken away from our parents by DFACS.  But in those days, we were free to play dangerous games at the park and blow stuff up. Fireworks like the M-80 weren’t exactly legal. But nobody cared.

We’re lucky we survived.


Malcolm R. Campbell

Earphones Winner from Audio File magazine.

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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