Some toys can jog happy memories of generations

Grandpa Lee’s Horse & Wagon

This horse and wagon was a childhood toy of my grandfather’s. It would be a strange toy for a 21st century child, but Grandpa was born in 1893, so it was right modern. This must have been a favorite since it was the only one Grandpa always kept. I have no idea if my mother or aunt were allowed to play with it, but my cousins, brother, and I were! It had a place of honor on top of the piano in my grandparents’ living room.

At this point, I will diverge and explain why there was a piano in my grandparents’ living room and no one played the piano. OK, it was a player piano, so no one needed to “play” it – they just had to load a scroll and pump the pedals to let it play itself. Of course, the scroll was old, brittle and ripped. So, why was it in the living room? Well, as a child, my great grandmother (Grandpa’s mother) decided that my mother needed to take piano lessons. My aunt was already enrolled in violin lessons – her violin could be found it my grandparents’ attic. When asked what happened, my mother simply said that she really hated it and it got to the point that her teacher finally told my grandparents that they were wasting their money to continue. So, the lessons stopped, but the piano was a major presence in the room and it stayed until my grandmother sold the home and moved to an apartment. The grandchildren used to “stash” games in both the lower compartment where the player pedals were folded inside and in the upper compartment where the scroll was attached. I do not think Grandma was amused.

Now back to the horse and wagon. The four grandsons played with it whenever we got a chance. My mother inherited the toy when my grandmother passed away (I think Grandma kept it as a memory of Grandpa). The toy then lived on glass shelves in my parent’s living room where their grandchildren would gently remove it and play with it on the floor. And then, when the great grandchildren came to visit, they were also part of the “take it down and play” line of children that had fun with the horse and wagon.

I was fortunate to end up with the family treasure. Every time I look at it, there are so many memories.

About Pat Shaul

Genealogist / Family Historian; Blog started as a record of my Grandfather's post card collection which ran for 15 months. Then, in June, 2017, I changed over to reporting and commenting on notifications from the ANCESTRY app "We're Related" I then started to provide snippets into ancestor biographies on the dates that were significant anniversaries.
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