Katy’s Vintage Toy Collection

by Robin Turnipseed

We all remember our first friends. Those friends who appear in your earliest memories and photo albums. For many, those friends came in the form of a cousin, a kid from camp, or maybe even a sibling. We went camping with these friends, made friendship bracelets with them, and trusted them with all the secrets our little tender hearts carried. These early friendships are foundational, often imprinting on us and serving as building blocks for how we construct future relationships. For a lucky few, these friends may still live close by. For the rest of us, whose lives have moved us to different parts of the country, we rely on social media, which is how I reconnected with one of my first friends, Katy.

Kindergarten Beginnings

I met my friend, Katy, when we were both in kindergarten at a private school that lent itself to smaller class sizes. This meant that one was guaranteed to have the same classmates year in and year out, which, depending on your feelings about said classmates, could lean towards dreadful or delightful. I was always delighted.

I remember two things about my friend Katy. The first is her sweet spirit. Even at a young age, she genuinely cared for those around her and treated everyone with kindness. My second memory revolves around her fantastic lunches. I know that’s not very deep, but my eight-year-old self would watch as she retrieved the best things from her lunch box. During lunchtime, Katy introduced me to kiwi fruit, the wonder of dipping strawberries in sugar, and the trick of adding cheesy tortilla chips to your turkey sandwich for added crunch. With her mom and sister, Katy also acquainted me with the world of thrift store shopping- a world in which I now possess full citizenship.

Her Collection

Although Katy and I lost contact when I moved away in the sixth grade, we stayed in touch through letters and social media. After I discovered pictures of her vintage toy collection during a recent late-night scrolling session, I knew I wanted the backstory of how she started her hobby. Vintage toys and collectibles are a hot commodity and in high demand, and I figured Katy might have insight on the subject.

Here is what Katy had to share about her vintage toys, including the best place to discover great finds and advice on enjoying the hunt:

PPT: Ok, what you have accumulated is mighty impressive! What created the desire to start down this road?

Katy: When I was little, I had several toys at home and in our church nursery. I guess, in some way, maybe I relate them to my safe place. And ultimately, I enjoy the hunt of finding them and getting a bargain.

PPT: Did your kids adore having these at their fingertips growing up?

Katy: Yes, and I loved sharing them with my kids. Anyone who has stayed with us loves to stay in the toy room too.

PPT: I know that some of the more sought-after items can be expensive. What advice would you give to a vintage toy novice in finding the best retro toys at an affordable price?

Katy: Check out the salvation army, garage sales, estate sales, and Facebook marketplace.

PPT: Final thoughts or tips for someone who may want to dive into this world but doesn’t know where to begin.

Katy: Have fun with it! I only buy pieces that make me happy or are a bargain. Enjoy the hunt. I call it “finding one in the wild.” Also, I enjoy trading them. So, never be afraid to ask if someone wants to trade. Then you each pay to ship your item, but you don’t need to worry about exchanging money. Finally, let the kids in your life enjoy the collection and make memories.


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