my dad’s yo-yo

I sat down with my dad Stan Weiss to talk with him about a box of childhood toys he’s kept for more than 66 years. I wanted to understand why some of us keep our childhood toys close while others discard them. At 42 years old I still have my collection of stuffed animals, dolls and plastic toys; my children now play with a few of them but the majority are squirreled away. For some reason, I can’t part with them.

My dad’s toys fit snugly inside an old White Owl cigar box. Most are plastic but there’s a stack of baseball cards and a few lead soldiers. One of his favorites: a Duncan yo-yo studded with rhinestones. I always loved playing with a little pea-sized glow-in-the dark lightbulb. My dad says he used to have two lightbulbs but there’s only one left. I hope I didn’t have anything to do with that.

When I was a girl my father would take the White Owl cigar box out of his closet and lay them out on a blanket so my sister and I could examine each little treasure. The experience has always stuck with me. Even as an adult I hold onto things given to me by people I love. The objects themselves have no meaning but they seem to “point to” something or someone. I think our childhood toys hold some of the keys to who we are, so I’m creating this project Things People Carry as an exploration of that hunch.

When I discover a good story I’ll release a new one. My hope is that these stories will help connect us with our own childhood memories. There are treasures hidden there. We just need to look for them.

My dad holding his baseball cards.

My dad holding his baseball cards.

Two sets of miniature playing cards hooked together with a staple.

Two sets of miniature playing cards hooked together with a staple.

Miniature Playing Cards

My father: “No one ever played with these cards. They’re so small they’re unworkable.”

Magnifying glass and a plastic postman.

Magnifying glass and a plastic postman.

A Magnifying Glass

Don’t try this at home: my dad says he and his friends used to try to burn a hole in paper with this little magnifying glass. It could take 40 minutes to get a fire started.

podcast: my dad’s yo-yo

9 minute listen.