We all have a favourite toy from our childhood, don’t we? A teddy that we took around with us, wherever we went, no matter how tattered and torn it looked. Or a doll or soldier that we lovingly created stories for. Well, my favourite toy was the Tree Tots Tree house.
Mum and Dad didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but Dad always put some money from his wages aside, determined that I’d have a special Christmas present. And when I was four, he bought me the most wonderful Christmas present ever! I can still recall the excitement I felt as I tore the paper off. Dad had a massive grin all over his face and so I knew it was something special. I remember just staring at the present. I couldn’t believe I had something as spectacular as this dolls’ house that was sitting right before me. But it was no ordinary dolls’ house – it was in the shape of a tree. If you pushed a button on top of the tree, it sprang open to reveal a house! There were three rooms – a kitchen, bedroom and living room. The treehouse came with furniture – not much but enough – a car with its own garage, a family of Mum, Dad, a boy and a girl (who had a swing to play on), and a cute little dog (who had his own mini treehouse kennel outside).
But, there was more – stairs down to the ground, but in addition to those, there was the most wondrous thing – a lift – and in the trunk of the tree! There was a special handle at the side of the house, which you had to turn. I’d never seen anything like it, and I thought it was the best thing ever.
The tree house had a strapline too – ‘Your friends from the magic forest’. I have to say that although the set was fantastic (and so much better than my Fisher Price dolls’ house, which seemed quite bland in comparison), I’m not quite sure what was magical about it. Yes, it had the lift, but a mum, dad, two children and a dog and fairly ordinary rooms, furniture and car didn’t exactly scream magic! Ah, I hear you cry, it was the forest that was magic. But I didn’t have a forest. And surely, if it was a magical forest, there should have been a fairy or elf somewhere?! Of course, I didn’t question it at the time. It’s only now, with my cynical adult eyes, that I am. To me, as a child, it was magical.
My mum says I would play with my tree house for hours and hours. Of course, when friends came, Mum made me share my toys with them. I have to admit that I was rather reluctant to let anyone else touch my precious tree house, but Mum said sharing was important and naturally, when I went round my friends’ houses, I expected to play with their toys. But this was my special tree house! Thankfully, most of my friends were very careful.
It wasn’t to last though. Not everyone was gentle with my prized possession, and when Mum and Dad had some of their friends over one day, my heart sank as their three much older daughters made a beeline for my tree house. I suppose it could have been worse. They could have broken the whole mechanism, or lost some of the family. But, to me, they committed the most heinous of crimes – they broke the lift! I was distraught. They’d ruined my precious toy.
I did get over it – of sorts! I still played with the tree house, but it just wasn’t quite the same after that.
And did I still share my toys? I did, but I made sure I hid my favourite toys away before anyone came round!
Photo credit: http://www.thisoldtoy.com