Toy Story

When I was younger I wasn't really into toys.  I like them but it's not like I would always be playing with them.  My hands are forever holding a book. I would even read under the covers with a flashlight! I'm sure some of you have done that.
I had playmates though, neighborhood kids who were also distant cousins.  They're into toys in a big way.  My brothers of course, are into cars and trains and planes. My dad is into building balsa wood models that I would soon get busy dismantling to see how (and if) I can put them back together again haha.

I had a few dolls (mostly Dolls of Nations and souvenir dolls dad brings home from trips).
There was one that scared me a bit.  I named her Grace -I have no idea why.   Maybe that's what it said in the box it came with.  It was a gift from a family friend.  She had golden curls, big blue eyes, long lashes, an upturned  nose and rosy pink cheeks.  She wore a long pink and white floral dress with a black lace up faux leather belt/cummerband with white silk ribbons. The dress had lace and ribbon trim at the cuffs, neck and hemline.  If you take her hand, she walks with you.  Yep, she was a walking doll.
On her feet were black leather Mary Janes.  What was curious was how the heels of her plastic feet got worn and had holes.  As if she'd been walking miles on bare feet.  I know I know, there must be a logical explanation though I can't think of any. Can you? It's one of the reasons why I didn't watch The Conjuring.  I used to lock Grace in my closet just to be sure. I swear I'm not making this up.  You can go ask my mother.
This wasn't Grace but this was my cousin's and this looked scarier to me than Grace ever did.

 I can't remember what happened to my old toys, including Grace. Mom said she gave them away.  See? I wasn't too attached to toys.  I liked to play cook and have tea parties  more than I like dressing up dolls!
I and the other kids will pick weeds that sprout fruit like green chinese lanterns (you squeeze them so they pop like balloons) or miniature runner bean-like with small seeds.
Mom would scold me for getting all sorts of rashes and cuts from playing in tall grass and picking weeds.We'd put the weeds in water and let them boil away in the clay play pot and pan.
The grown up version is called palayok - that's the round bottomed clay pot you cook rice in and which you mostly see now in Filipino restaurants showing off sinigang (sour soup) and kare-kare (ox and tripe soup). The kidney shaped thingy under the pot is the kalan or cook stove.
Mom said the pan or skillet version wasn't used for frying, just for making kakanin or rice cakes. Charcoal or kindling is placed in the hollow under the pot and the lower level hollow cradles the length of firewood you shove around to stoke the fire. My play version needed only a small piece of burning charcoal to cook. Matchsticks were fair game when I was a kid.
My cousin's mother in law likes to keep everything and she managed to hold on to a set of clay play cookery.  Including clay fruits and veggies!
Of course you need wooden "sandok" (ladles) and a rolling pin to roll out elephant ear leaves for "pancakes".

I was also into miniature furniture so doll houses were more my thing than making the dolls sit. When I was all grown up, my dad could only shake his head and my brother will forever be telling visitors to the house that our furniture is alive and "moving".

Come to think of it, I loved toys that move or do stuff - like beep or ring or pop plastic bread or sew or had switches and lights. These are practically antique! (oh boy my age is showing haha).
These were my playthings long before lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury became synonymous with "toxic" toys. At the time the only concern would be small parts you might shove up your nose, ear or swallow. Kids!
These toys, come to think of it, most likely got me started playing at being a chef and baker at a ripe, odd age of ... Go figure! : p
Now I get to play with the real thing!
 Oh wait there has got to be food at the end.

See? I just have to enjoy my cupcakes (ehem) in a dollhouse of a cafe.


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