Story of My Favorite Toy or Possession

A description of a favorite toy or possession can tell a deeper story, whether it was your own or someone else’s.

Favorite TOy Copyright E Wilkinson, 1965

My sister and I with our dollies; my sister and Chatty Cathy are on the right.

My mind immediately goes back to those 5” x 5” black and white photos of the sixties. If my sister had had her way, “Chatty Cathy” would’ve accompanied her in most of the shots. As it is, because my parents, like most, took more picture of the first child, Cathy” appears in the family scrapbook nearly as much as I do.

Likewise, I have vivid recall of wanting to use my dad’s pen and mechanical pencil set. Their matching navy blue bodies had a mother-of-pearl band at the top. I was fascinated by their beauty and convinced I’d write better with them.

I’d stand on the foot of my parents’ bed so I could gaze at them in their out-of-reach resting place atop Daddy’s chest of drawers.  “May I see your pen?” I’d ask Daddy.

“No,” he’d say with his head cocked in mock sternness. “Do you know why I have a pen and pencil like that?”

“No,” I’d answer, though I’d heard his stock answer time and time again.

“The reason I have a nice pen and pencil set is because I don’t lend them out to the likes of you,” he’d say as he tickled my mid-section. We’d end up rough-housing until all thoughts of using his pen were forgotten.

Now I wonder. Did he really value his writing implements that much, or did he like pulling my chain?  I’m guessing the latter.

Writing about Your Favorite Toy or Possession

Even if you have a photo of the object, indulge your memory by brainstorming about it. Include all the applicable sensory detail: what it looked like, smelled like, sounded like, felt like. If you were a mouther, what did it taste like?

Did it “do” something?

Describe yourself as well. How old were you when it came into your life? Where did it come from? Was it a gift? If so, what was the occasion? Did your siblings or friends have something similar?  Was its arrival in your possession a complete surprise or did you yearn for it for a long time or? How did the rest of the family feel about it? Do you still have it?

Now think a little harder. Why did you love the toy so much?  For instance, was it fun, the envy of all the neighborhood, or a comfort?

What eventually happened to the toy or possession?  How do you feel about it now?

Writing About Someone Else and Their Favorite Thing

Sometimes we remember relatives or ancestors in conjunction with an object:  a smoking pipe, a musical instrument, a beloved hat, or even a wig that had seen better days.  As you remember these individuals, think what their attachment to that particular piece of paraphernalia or accoutrement says about them?  Was it a conversation starter or a barrier to communication? Was it a mark of their times or did it mark them as idiosyncratic? What did you think about it then? Looking back, how do you feel about it now?

More Ideas for Stories about Favorite Toys

WritersDigest suggests writing yourself a letter from your favorite childhood toy.  What insights would the toy give you about the rhythms, activities, and emotions of the household?

Have some old photos of yourself with the toy? This would make a great scrapbook and journaling page!

Was the beloved object passed down in the family?  That’s a story too!  The Hutchinson (KS) Public Library suggests writing about the history of your favorite toy or game.

Your Turn

Favorite Toy illustration. Family photograph, copyright E. Wilkinson 1962Time to get started!  I’d love to hear your ideas of the stories you’d tell.  If you need more help getting started writing your own or family stories, I do have a book recommendation.


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