What significance do childhood toys hold?


Pairs of eyes glare from beyond the safe retreat, piercing and unmoving. They follow your every quiver and as you duck completely under the blanket, all you can hear is your shallow breathing. Hard footsteps press on outside your cocoon and from the small vibrations making its way through the floor, you can tell that whatever’s coming, it’s coming fast. 

Thoughts race throughout your mind. What could it possibly be? Something so rapidly approaching that it could be here any second. You don’t have time to think as the footsteps get closer and closer, threatening to shake you down where you lay. 

Finally, when you think they stop, you listen intently just to hear absolute silence. Letting out a shaky breath, your heart rate begins to regulate before your covers are rudely ripped from above your head. 

What stares back at you isn’t any sort of monster, though, only your mother with tired eyes as she sets down your creatively named stuffed bear (Mr. Bear). “Stop leaving your toys in the middle of the hall.” 

Everyone has at least one childhood toy that they were overly attached to in their childhood. And nine times out of ten, they had some really generic names. 

“The only toy I really kept for a long time was my Hello Kitty plush,” sophomore Tran Nguyen, said. “I don’t remember where I got it, but I named it Kitty.” 

As to where they are distributed, that’s another question for the void as not a single person remembers where this once cherished toy originated. 

“I think I got my bear from an auntie,” freshman Chloe You said. “My parents don’t remember.”

Speaking of not remembering, these toys vary from being a shelf away to being lost in another universe. Most have concluded that they’re just misplaced somewhere in the house. 

“I donated it,” sophomore Nikithaa Ponnappan added. “I got ‘too old’ to play with it anymore and we were moving, so I had to get rid of some stuff. I never saw it again.”

Not all toys were stuffed, however. Some also recall fond memories of Hot Wheels. 

“There used to be this huge Toys-R-Us in Times Square, New York and they had this huge animatronic t-rex. I had a small rubber version of that.” sophomore Karan Dubey said. “I miss him. I’m crying thinking about it right now.”

Current condition is also an issue for those who still have their toy, because spoiler alert – none of them are in good shape. 

“It’s pretty screwed,” You said. “Very gray. Very pink. Very trips to the washing machine.”

Similarly, sophomore Gautham Ramanarayanan mentioned something of the same caliber. 

“They’re probably intact, but they are not actively being searched for,” he said.

But condition seems to be a direct correlation to attachment as many recall their bond with their toys.

“I feel like the attachment has faded,” You stated. “I actually have no idea where he is right now.”

Contrastingly, others have different experiences.

“I was very attached. I’d literally have it with me at all times. If you ever saw me, you’d probably see the toy sitting next to me anytime anywhere,” Ponnappan said.

From experiences, pleasant memories are fostered and kept. Though, most aren’t as lucky with memories.

“Definitely losing him in Los Angeles and throwing the most obnoxious child fit to get him back,” You recalled.

Many memories are also more generalized to where they got the toy.

“I remember being roared at by the t-rex robot,” Dubey said after explaining the complete backstory of the Times Square Toys-R-Us. “I thought that was cool, which is probably why I got my rubber one.”

Other memories are also just straight up terrifying. 

“I got it for my birthday and I ended up being too scared to play with it,” Nguyen said, talking about her Hello Kitty toy. “I was pretty attached before my cousin introduced me to Hello Kitty murders and I thought someone’s body was gonna be inside it. Its eyes were always really black and big and scary…”

Childhood toys are a little part of everyone’s life and are mostly well cared for. Even if they’re scary and nightmare fuel.

“To everybody out there with stuffed animals,” You proclaimed. “Cherish them. And never lose them. Especially not in an American Girl Doll Store.”