On June 3rd, my husband and I drove up to Queechee, Vermont, a small town about an hour and a half north of Sunderland, to visit the Vermont Toy Museum. It’s on the second floor of the Cabot Cheese Store in the Queechee Gorge Village Shops. I’d never been to a museum that wasn’t dedicated to art or history, so I was completely unprepared for the wave of nostalgia that I experienced as I walked through the exhibits. The museum has everything from lunchboxes and comic books to action figures, trading cards, dolls and video games. Every memory triggered another one and soon I was reliving my childhood, one toy at a time. The Transformers reminded me of the knockoff one I had that broke a couple of weeks after I got it, and the dolls reminded me of how much of a pain in the butt it was to get clothes on my Barbie dolls (which could be why most of mine stayed naked!). Their Strawberry Shortcake doll collection took me right back to their sickeningly sweet scent and I wonder now what kind of chemicals were in those dolls. Whatever it was, it couldn’t have been healthy. My husband was equally nostalgic and told me stories about the toys he had- he was so serious about his G.I. Joe collections that he kept all their bio cards in an index card box and only bought the ones that fit the stories he wanted to tell. He told me which of his friends had which Star Wars toys and how they would get together and share their toys so they didn’t have to all have each and every thing. Smart boys, don’t you think? Of course, I loved the vintage robot collection, as I am obsessed with them, especially the friendly ones. The toy gun section was interesting – Bill played with many realistic toy guns as a child, none of which were spray painted or anything like that. He and his friends liked to watch SWAT and re-enact the shows, and play Rambo at the park in their neighborhood. He taped a paper towel roll to his M-16 to make a “grenade launcher” and he had a toy AK47 as well. Of course, those poo emojis ain’t mobile these days (a.k.a that shit wouldn’t fly in 2018) but it’s proof that that sort of play-acting doesn’t make you into a violent criminal. It just meant you had an imagination and enjoyed police/military stories. As museums go, the Vermont Toy Museum is a fun one, one that will take people of all ages back to their childhood. I couldn’t quite remember if I had the Holly Hobbie lunchbox (my mother thinks I did) and the fast food premiums made me wonder who the heck had the California Raisin figures (I did some research, it was Hardee’s – that took me back to chili dogs and hot ham and cheese sandwiches), but half the fun is reminiscing in a place like that. If you’re ever in southern Vermont and looking for a heavy dose of nostalgia, visit the Vermont Toy Museum. On the way out, sample some of the amazing Cabot cheeses and condiments- our favorites are all cheddars: smoked bacon, Orne Meadows and Tuscan herb, and I actually really liked the Everything Bagel cheddar too, even if that didn’t make any sense whatsoever as a cheese flavor until I tasted it (garlic and onion actually works!).
I’m often accused of being a nostalgia collector, and that’s my favorite exhibit in our state fair.