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


13 Responses to “Buzz Lightyear reappears at my house”

  1. Definitely not up on the current toy trends but have a nice Theo bin of some saved toys and some new ones for the little guy. His favorites include a Fisher Price teapot,Taco Tuesday book and stacking rings and cups. Some things never go out of style.

    • I love that a teapot is among Theo’s favorite toys. My grandkids really love the Fisher Price school bus, Disney castle and Brio train set, all toys either their mom, aunt or uncle played with as children. And, of course, they love blowing bubbles, making cupcakes and digging in the dirt.

  2. I have a few toys and a lot of books tucked away for younger children or future grandchildren to play with. I hope to someday make a bunch of play food to go along with several sets of play dishes and pans. I wish that I had the skills and time to do all of that when my kids were little.

  3. Valerie Says:

    We kept the big Tonka trucks and have passed them off. We kept the Fisher Price Farm and that has been played with by both sets of grandkids at our house, and I brought it up to the cabin we rent. And, of course, we kept Duplos and Legos…the most beloved of all toys for our family, I think. 😉

    • Ah, yes, LEGOS, one of the best toys ever invented. I had a Fisher Price barn, too, and gave it to a friend. I’ve heard several times that, “Mom, you should have kept the barn.” Yeah, well…

      • Valerie Says:

        It was a special toy. 😉

        It’s always difficult to know what to keep and what not to keep!

  4. Oh man… Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! Whoever dreamed up that character with such a positive outlook of accomplishing anything needs a gold star! That he now is multi generational is inspiring.
    Good luck with the cleaning and de clutter of “stuff”. Opened my Storage unit this week and became overwhelmed with “why do I need any of this stuff if I haven’t needed it in the two years of COVID?” 😬

  5. Your post gave me a smile 🙂 I remember my girlfriend telling me she put the kids down for the night and picked up the toys. She went to relax on the couch and all was quiet until Buzz could be heard talking from the closed toy chest. It spooked here first and then she had a good laugh second. I do not know how parents let alone grandparents keep up with all the latest with kids since it changes from age to age and year to year. As an Aunt I was lucky in that they may show up with a favorite toy in hand and I had plenty of Disney movies too. Happy Playing and Here’s to Decluttering!

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