Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Buzz Lightyear reappears at my house June 3, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:01 AM
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Buzz Lightyear. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2022)

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, I determined to locate the oversized Buzz Lightyear my son, now 28, played with as a child. Buzz is the space ranger toy in the computer animated feature film “Toy Story.” The movie stars Andy and his collection of toys, which come to life.

The son’s childhood Buzz Lightyear collection. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2022)

I was searching for Caleb’s Buzz because the grandkids were coming. Last time they stayed overnight, Isabelle and Isaac enjoyed playing with the smaller Buzz Lightyear characters stashed in a tote in the basement. But, oh, I knew they would be impressed with the larger scale ranger who, with batteries inserted, can spew phrases like “To infinity and beyond.” But the challenge was finding that particular Buzz in an upstairs bedroom closet stuffed with totes.

I pulled plastic box after plastic box from the recesses of that dark space. Finally, back in the far corner, after I’d dragged nearly everything out, I found the missing toy. I decided then and there that, as long as I had emptied the closet, I may as well go through everything. What a job.

Just to clarify, most of the “stuff” stuffed into the closet belongs to my son and to my second daughter. The son, back in college 525 miles away pursuing an advanced degree, lives in an apartment with no room for childhood toys. But Miranda lives in a rental house and I decided it’s time she gets her “stuff.” Boxes are now stashed in a corner of a spare bedroom for the next time we see each other. She lives 4.5 hours away in Madison, Wisconsin.

I’m really feeling the need to purge. That’s part of aging and understanding that I don’t want to leave a houseful of material possessions for my kids to sort through some day. I’ve done that with my parents and my in-laws, now all deceased, and it’s not fun.

My son loved playing with this large scale Buzz Lightyear. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2022)

But then I face the dilemma of what to keep so the grandkids have something to play with when they visit and/or stay overnight. I was surprised when they were interested in playing with Buzz Lightyear. But their mom tipped me off that Buzz is the star in an upcoming movie, “Lightyear.” That film releases this month. Who knew? Not this grandma.

Owlette, a character in the currently popular PJ Masks. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo February 2022)

I struggle to keep up with the ever-changing interests of the three and six-year-old grandchildren, especially my granddaughter. Her little brother likes numbers, the solar system and maps/globes. But Isabelle’s interests have ranged—Daniel Tiger, Trolls, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Frozen, Thomas the Tank Engine, Disney princesses, Paw Patrol, PJ Masks… I give up trying to learn the characters’ names before she moves on to the next “in” thing.

But at least I know Buzz Lightyear and Woody and Andy. Yes, those I will keep, along with the Fisher Price bus and the castle and the potholder weaving set and…

TELL ME: If you’re a grandparent, are you up on the latest whatever? And do you keep old toys, games, etc. for the grandkids to play with when visiting?

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling