In 1976 I went to first grade in primary school. Towards Sinterklaas we had to fill out a multiple choice list in the classroom, with three choices. It was meant as a wishlist, and I ended up selecting ‘Playmobil’. I did not know what it was, I only knew that I definitely had no interest in the other two items mentioned. I clearly remember that decision because I was choosing ‘the unknown’ and still have a mental image of the form, except for what the other two things before the final option Playmobil were. We were given a small brown envelope to take home, and I returned it the next day with what I realised was a Rijksdaalder, a two and a half guilder coin. Then when Sinterklaas came to visit the school I received…

…the road worker shown in the image. It is missing either a pickaxe or a broom, I think it was a pickaxe. Back then Playmobil figurines came in three colors (blue, green, red). Now there’s a myriad of varieties. Playmobil came on the market in 1974, as a higher end product for plastics after the oil crisis. A Dutch company bought a year’s worth of production, and I suppose my first figurine may have been part of that batch.

“I would put the little figures in their hands without saying anything about what they were. They accepted them right away…. They invented little scenarios for them. They never grew tired of playing with them.”

It was like in that quote for me too. Some 45 years on I still have all the Playmobil toys I played with as a kid, and our 4 yr old Y is now playing with them. She has her own Playmobil stuff but gets to mix some of my old stuff into her play. Such as the pirate ship, knights and a queen (dubbed ‘the old queen’ by her, as she has a much nicer one of her own). My old stuff has held up remarkably well, despite its age and being in storage for almost 4 decades.

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