I was a sucker for anything collectable in the 90’s. Well, not anything. Not the normal things that people collect like stamps, coins, or baseball cards. I was more into collecting toys. Certain toys that were meant to be hoarded. The creative geniuses behind the making of children’s toys would draw me in every time they put up a sign that said “Collect Them All!”
My earliest memory of going gaga over playthings bloomed from the introduction of Beanie Babies. Beanie Babies were….okay, how do you describe Beanie Babies without sounding like a total lunatic? I collected sacks full of beans that we shaped like different animals and had cute names. They were supposed to pay for my college tuition. It all started with the purchase of one for my baby cousin–it was Bessie the Cow, I still remember. My first Beanie Baby was Lizzie, the Lizard and my brother’s was Tabasco the red Bull. We had hundreds of them, yet I remember purchasing every one like it was yesterday.
Of course my brother and I couldn’t share so we each had our own collection. We had some of the same ones, but mostly our tastes strayed from each other’s. And, unlike most children, we would actually play with our collection. It wasn’t just for looks, you see.
There were books printed with all of the Babies you could collect. Some were “retired” which meant that they didn’t make them anymore. Even at a young age I thought that was ridiculous. What, were they working so hard being inanimate objects that they were finally allowed to receive their pension? So stupid.
We found most of our little buddies in Cracker Barrel. Yes, we frequented that establishment often in rural Indiana. There was also a store called Mr. McGregor’s Garden (ya know, from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit?) that got a hold of some new Beanie Babies before anyone else and held a night time sneak peak. My mom, my brother and I went and I swear there were Beanie Babies flying over my head.
The best Beanie Baby I have would have to be the special addition Princess Diana Bear (She would die over again if she knew there was a Beanie Baby made in her memory). It’s purple (so regal) and has a white rose on it’s chest. I used to have it in a sweet display case. But now it’s somewhere in storage. Like a candle in the wind. (Hah that makes zero sense but I had to say it.)
Of course Beanie Babies weren’t the only thing I collected, but looking back, they were the funniest to recount. I also collected McDonald’s toys, Pokemon Cards, N64 games, and many, many other trivial things.