Recently my friend Julie posted a photo of an old rocking horse on Facebook. It’s suspended by springs over a frame—just like the one I had when I was a kid. This horse is named Freddy, and he has a straw cowboy hat. Julie’s family was having a yard sale of old toys their children had outgrown, and Freddy was on sale. I impulsively said that I’d buy Freddy if he didn’t sell. Just looking at his photo on Facebook made me feel incredibly happy. I figured that I could give it to somebody’s kids when I was done enjoying his company for a few weeks.
I was a horse-crazy girl. I guess I still am. I look at websites of horses for sale when I’m bored. I daydream about riding now almost as much as I did when I was 11-years-old. In recent months I’ve been remembering how much fun I had as a kid with horse-related toys and books. I loved doing paint-by-number pictures of horses—it was a perfect activity for someone who is a little OCD like me. I could carefully paint inside the lines for hours on end. My parents were probably worried I would go blind. A few weeks ago, I decided to rediscover the joy of painting by numbers and ordered a horse picture kit from Amazon. (Amazon has everything.)
As a child I probably read hundreds of horse books, and I especially loved Marguerite Henry’s novels. Misty of Chincoteague. King of the Wind. White Stallion of Lipizza. I’m thinking I might reread a couple one of these days to see if they were as good as I remember.
Old toys and books bring back memories and reunite us with the joys and dreams of childhood. Do you have favorite toys and books from childhood that can bring a smile to your face today? Do you ever reread the books or do the hobbies you did as a kid? What are your favorites?
Kate Elliott is editor of Gather.