by Connie Long
One of the pleasures of having been on the planet for more than a half century is watching the next generation grow up, mature and have their own children. There is love and pride and wonder in this cycle. Recently we experienced this when Sonya and Shandra, and their children, Cavanaugh, Niko, and Satya came to visit. Sonya and Shandra are daughters of dear friends, and we have fond memories of their childhood.I also had the opportunity to teach them when they were four years old in a cooperative preschool in 1974.
Spending time with young families is a privilege. It is gratifying to be with caring parents devoted to their children's development. And for us toy makers, it is always fascinating to observe children as they experiment and play with our toys! So when Sonya and Shandra and the kids came to visit we headed for the toy workshop. By the end of the tour and making their own little rollie bug cars, the kids better understood that the toys begin as wood from trees that becomes rough lumber, sawn into shape, smoothed, and finished.
Often at these times we are asked the question, "Do you make new designs each year?" Our reply: our customers change more than our toys! Infants are delighted with our Baby's First Toy, chewing and rattling away. Later when fitting the peg in the hole is such a satisfying challenge to a baby our Three Men in A Tub is just the thing. And how many generations of kids have discovered the fun of rubber band power through a paddle wheel boat such as ours? This is what Sonya and Shandra were seeking- "Do you still make those paddle wheel boats?" When they were little they had enjoyed their paddle wheel boats in the water, and they wanted their kids to do the same.
Listening to parents we do not hear them saying we
expect the latest and greatest, a new line each season. Rather they express the
desire for safe, fun toys made of natural materials. At North Star Toys we have
been making those toys since 1979. We raised our own two daughters on them and
are happy to be offering them to the next generation.