Childlike Joy


Childlike joy is a great thing to experience and I had some brought to me by the internet this week. Let’s follow a meandering path to get there today.

In December, I canceled my holiday plans here in Japan and traveled home to see how my father’s new pacemaker was doing. Regardless of my confidence that he would be fine, I was receiving a lot of pressure here to go see him ahead of schedule. Ultimately I realized that I would feel really horrible if I had been wrong and was too schedule driven to visit family. While home, I was introduced to the Lego Store where I was (initially) fascinated by the penny-candy-like bins of individual pieces which could be scooped into containers in any combination for a fixed price.

Having added nothing to my Lego collection for well over 20 years, it takes no mental leap to envision that there were many new parts available. Filling a large cup full of intriguing little blocks was so fun, that I made a return visit at the end of the trip… and then again in August on my scheduled trip.

Some pieces shoveled into my cup were selected merely for their oddity. Recently, I finally took a longer look at the pieces and imagined a few ways to use them; however, I found myself wanting to know how they were ‘officially’ used. Enter stage left: The Internet.

Quick searches using part numbers found some sites which list – in fine detail – how the pieces have been used. Many photos and scanned instructions are also available. This is where things took another twist.

In the late 70s, I picked up one of the early Technics sets, but it didn’t have an instruction sheet. Of course, I used the set a lot and made many things; however, the photo on the box didn’t provide enough data to build the planned model exactly. Several times I reverse engineered things similar, but the toy had a lot of internal gears and workings, always leaving me with something fun but less than satisfying. Kind of like trying to build a pocket watch with just one photo from the front.

Grabbing one of the oddest parts from that set, I entered it into the database and found the model… with the instructions in graphic images. Busy as I was, I set aside time and built a tractor with a working cultivator attachment in back. I remember my reverse engineered cultivator would often fall off. Well, the actual model does as well. It was not a mistake of mine, rather a poor design. Perhaps I will modify it a little.

Finally putting the set to its intended use gives me a strange satisfaction.


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4 Responses to “Childlike Joy”

  1. Grad Says:

    When my boys were young, they played with Legos. At first the big ones, like the farm and the western town. Later came the sets with the smaller blocks. I remember building a castle with a moat and a draw bridge that included men with quivers and bows and arrows. I enjoyed the building of it more than they did. I am certain the sets are up in the attic somewhere (a place I never venture into). But if I ever gather up my courage to go up those stairs, I’ll look for them and dust them off.

  2. Stefanie Says:

    It’s so much fun to build things like that! I loved playing with Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys when I was a kid. Thanks for bringing back some happy memories!

  3. びっくり Says:

    Grad – I never had the larger Duplo blocks, but my brother had hundreds of giant blocks about 6 inches long. His friend’s dad made frisbees and such. For awhile their factory made these blocks and my brother got some surplus. It was fun building forts big enough to climb into. Here’s to your inevitable journey into the attic.

    Stef – We didn’t always have a lot of toys, but creative ones like Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and Legos were allowed. And for that I am thankful. You are welcome for the memories, and thank you for bringing my Tinker Toys and Lincoln logs.

  4. titus2woman Says:

    OH that store sounds AWESOME! My boys would have a heyday! Didn’t knew such a thing existed…. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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