Christmas Cars

Soon, it will be Christmas, and it will be time to take out my Matchbox cars again.

This is a little tradition I’ve started.

I’ve loved Matchbox cars, ever since I can remember.

I used to get them a lot.    I remember as early as ages 2 and 3.    That would have been circa 1967, before Hot Wheels even came out.

I’d get them for Christmas or a birthday.  Sometimes, for no reason at all.

My grandparents would buy them for me.  Or aunts or uncles.

Or my Dad.   He might walk into a store with me, and we’d pick one out together.

Some Matchboxes would be trucks.   Some would be cars.

Others would be  “Models of Yesteryear”, which were old-fashioned cars from the early 1900’s.   Those were special, and I only had 2-3 of  those.

I cherished and played with all those little cars for years, and I still have a lot of the original ones.

But they’re not much to look at today,  with all the scratches and dents from hours of play.

Yet I still hold onto them.

a

Fast forward 40 years.

I still collect Matchbox cars.

Not the cheap plastic ones they make today from China,  but the original ones from the 60’s and early 70’s, from my childhood

They”re hard to find these days.   They’ve become “collectible”.

The odd antique store might have them.  Or you can  buy them on Ebay.

And to get one in mint condition is quite a find.

a

So imagine my surprise when, one day about 8 years ago,  my Dad gave me a present.

A friend of his was moving,  Dad explained, and was selling some of his things.   So Dad had bought a few items, which he thought I might like.

He gave me a box and when I opened it, I found a Matchbox car wrapped in tissue.

And another.

And another.

And other.

When I had finished, it was over a dozen.

I couldn’t’ believe my eyes.

Mint condition “Models of Yesteryear”,  no less.

Including some cars I’ve always wanted, but never had.

And also brand-new versions of the old beaten-up wrecks I still held onto.

It’s like I had hit the Mother Lode.

Now, you must realize, my Dad wasn’t the type of person who displayed his emotions openly.   In fact, he could be a bit gruff, at times.

But when he saw my face, and how excited I got became,  he started to get misty-eyed, and I’ll never forget that moment.

a

Dad’s gone now.

I still have those precious cars, and keep them wrapped up in tissue and the box they came in.

But I take them out once in a while, to look at them.

Especially on Christmas Day.

Because it reminds me of my Dad, who I kinda hope might be watching.

And it reminds me of the time he thought of me,  and got me that one special gift.

It might not have been the most expensive or fancy thing I’ve ever gotten from him.

But it was certainly the best.

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10 Comments on “Christmas Cars”

  1. Dot Says:

    He knew what you loved and cared enough to buy all of them for you. That’s wonderful! You might want to get a display case for them so you don’t have to keep them wrapped up. On the other hand, maybe they’re more special if they only come out once in a while. From the photos, they clearly made things with a great more care and good materials back then.

  2. Friar Says:

    @Dot

    I know…he bought the whole damned batch for me! 🙂

    Nothing can compare to the old Matchbox toys from the 60’s. The craftsmanship of the die-cast metal was amazing, considering these things cost the equivalent of only a few bucks by today’s standards. And they were made in England.

    Actuually, I’ve been meaning to get a glass display case to show these in, along with other cars from my collection.

  3. Mike Goad Says:

    Very cool…. and just a tad sentimental, too. (Who knew?)

  4. Friar Says:

    @Mike

    I can get sentimental at times…I just don’t advertise it. 🙂

  5. Friar's Mom Says:

    When you were three, before your sister was born, I remember going with you to the corner store (the Depaneur in Montreal). You were mesmerized by the display case, while imagining which one you’d choose next.

    I wish I had kept one of the small catalogues. You fingered through those pages until they were dog-eared.

    Would you believe the little orange cement mixer that you loved so dearly and all the others that came in those small boxes were only fifty cents?

  6. Friar Says:

    @Friar’s Mom

    Back then, Matchboxes were a big deal. They came in display cases, and catologs. And the expensive ones were behind glass that the store clerks would show you.

    Do you know..I actually remember the day Dad bought me that cement mixer. He left me in the car for a few minutes to go into the drugstore (parents did that back then) and came out shaking a bag. He gave it to me and inside was the cement mixer.

    By the way, I still have it.

    I must have been no more than three. This was back when we lived in the duplex before my sister was born.

  7. carmen zayas Says:

    what an absolutely beautiful christmas memory Friar. And it reminds us that Christmas and the precious memories we hang on to, have more to do with people we love, and the times they thought of us and did something special because they knew it would make us laugh. Or vice-a-versa, we did something to bring a smile to a loved ones face.
    It’s got nothing to do with the monetary value. Thanks so much for sharing Friar – I read outloud to greg and the kids, they loved it…

  8. Friar Says:

    @Carmen.

    At least once in our lives, I think we all get that special gift that we remember for years.

    I’m just flattered that you liked this so much that you read it to your whole family.

  9. souldipper Says:

    It’s never the expensive stuff that kids remember. This is another excellent example. They are so cool – I remember my brother messing up my dolls table with those danged things! “Moooom!”

  10. Friar Says:

    @SoulDipper

    Anyone growing up in the 60’s and 70’s knew all about Matchbox cars. They were an integral part of every little boy’s culture. They still make them today, but it’s not quite the same. There’s so much junk today, Matchboxes aren’t treasured like they used to be.


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