le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Friday, February 22, 2013

PSA: Lost Toys, found

I like toys. I like material culture. This year, because of my teaching assignment, I've been spending extra time thinking about material culture and childhood, and children, which most of the time seems to mean toys.

There's an artist, Jennifer Maher, in upstate New York who does gorgeous portraits of toys and dolls; tonight I was poking around her site and came across links to some Lost Toy Finding Services [which sounds like a charming mystery novel for younger readers, probably with an all-toy cast].

Because I've spent so much time thinking about how absolutely essential toys are to us when we are small (and often not-to-small; most of my students report bringing at least one stuffed animal with them to college), the search service struck me as particularly worth noting and linking to. They're a no-cost service - it's really just a hosting site, I think, with boards set up on Pinterest for easy access. basically: if you can identify or find a toy, you post that info, and hopefully the searcher can make the connection. I wasn't really struck by this, though, until I went to the pinboards - Disaster and High Priority.

You know you can never really replace a lost Toyfriend, but finding its twin can make a huge difference. Think about how that must be, to lose your toy(s) in fire, tornado, storm, hurricane, earthquake. Finding other random toy replacements is probably easy - I don't doubt a lot of donations are of new stuffies. But - when you've lost your best teddybear, you maybe don't want a stuffed dog as a replacement. You want THAT. BEAR.  There are also a good number of sick, or very particular, or developmentally-disabled folks who need a really specific toy - it has to be THAT. EXACT. ONE. or it isn't good enough.

So this service is actually filling a bigger need than the nostalgia/whimsy market, I think.
At home, we recently went through some of the bags of my sister's and my old stuffed animals and dolls; sorting through which to keep (preserve, or - to be pretentious - curate) and which to toss or donate. I wish I'd know about this Lost Toy search before, when we did that; I'd bet at least one or two of the Missing were amongst those my sister and I discarded.

Plush Memories finding service: go, overlook the excessive use of multicolor comic sans, use the pinboards, and keep an eye out for any of the Missing.


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