Quotes Tagged "toys"
Much of what I had was handed down to me from others. The fact that I was now the oldest child, since my sister had died, put me first in line for toys. Not that the toys and clothing I acquired were necessarily new, nor were they gender specific, but they were newer when I got them, than later, when they were passed farther down the line. It didn’t matter that my sister was a girl…. A coat was a coat, except for how it was buttoned. Looking at old photographs, I sometimes find it impossible to tell if I am looking at my sister or me. It’s only when I see my nautical blue coat, with miniature petty officer chevrons on it that I’m certain that I’m looking at myself. As a baby, I wore her gowns and sleepwear, and this continued until they were worn out, or I outgrew them. Of course I inherited most of her toys, including a plunger type metal top and her beautiful, porcelain dolls. I don’t believe that these dolls were ever for play. They were beautiful enough to have been collectors’ items, but in my hands, they were doomed.
The men in grey were powerless to meet this challenge head-on. Unable to detach the children from Momo by bringing them under their direct control, they had to find some roundabout means of achieving the same end, and for this they enlisted the children's elders. Not all grown-ups made suitable accomplices, of course, but plenty did. [....] 'Something must be done,' they said. 'More and more kids are being left on their own and neglected. You can't blame us - parents just don't have the time these days - so it's up to the authorities.' Others joined in the chorus. 'We can't have all these youngsters loafing around, ' declared some. 'They obstruct the traffic. Road accidents caused by children are on the increase, and road accidents cost money that could be put to better use.' 'Unsupervised children run wild, declared others.'They become morally depraved and take to crime. The authorities must take steps to round them up. They must build centers where the youngsters can be molded into useful and efficient members of society.' 'Children,' declared still others, 'are the raw material for the future. A world dependent on computers and nuclear energy will need an army of experts and technicians to run it. Far from preparing children from tomorrow's world, we still allow too many of them to squander years of their precious time on childish tomfoolery. It's a blot on our civilization and a crime against future generations.' The timesavers were all in favor of such a policy, naturally, and there were so many of them in the city by this time that they soon convinced the authorities of the need to take prompt action. Before long, big buildings known as 'child depots' sprang up in every neighborhood. Children whose parents were too busy to look after them had to be deposited there and could be collected when convenient. They were strictly forbidden to play in the streets or parks or anywhere else. Any child caught doing so was immediately carted off to the nearest depot, and its parents were heavily fined. None of Momo's friends escaped the new regulation. They were split up according to districts they came from and consigned to various child depots. Once there, they were naturally forbidden to play games of their own devising. All games were selected for them by supervisors and had to have some useful, educational purpose. The children learned these new games but unlearned something else in the process: they forgot how to be happy, how to take pleasure in the little things, and last but not least, how to dream. Weeks passed, and the children began to look like timesavers in miniature. Sullen, bored and resentful, they did as they were told. Even when left to their own devices, they no longer knew what to do with themselves. All they could still do was make a noise, but it was an angry, ill-tempered noise, not the happy hullabaloo of former times. The men in grey made no direct approach to them - there was no need. The net they had woven over the city was so close-meshed as to seem inpenetrable. Not even the brightest and most ingenious children managed to slip through its toils. The amphitheater remained silent and deserted.
Momo would have been delighted, except that most of the newcomers had no idea how to play. All they did was sit around looking bored and sullen and watching Momo and her friends. Sometimes they deliberately broke up the other children's games and spoiled everything. Squabbles and scuffles were frequent, though these never lasted long because Momo's presence had its usual effect on the newcomers, too, so they soon started having bright ideas themselves and joining in with a will. The trouble was, new children turned up nearly every day, some of them from distant parts of the city, and one spoilsport was enough to ruin the game for everyone else. But there was another thing that Momo couldn't quite understand - a thing that hadn't happened until very recently. More and more often these days, children turned up with all kind of toys you couldn't really play with: remote-controlled tanks that trundled to and fro but did little else, or space rockets that whizzed around on strings but got nowhere, or model robots that waddled along with eyes flashing and heads swiveling but that was all. They were highly expensive toys such as Momo's friends had never owned, still less than Momo herself. Most noticeable of all, they were so complete, down to the tiniest detail, that they left nothing at all to the imagination. Their owners would spend hours watching them, mesmerized but bored, as they trundled, whizzed, and waddled along. Finally, when that palled, they would go back to the familiar old games in which a couple of cardboard boxes, a torn tablecloth, a molehill or a handful of pebbles were quite sufficient to conjure up a whole world of make believe.