I Remember When I Was Young… 1
When I was young I spent many enjoyable hours in my sandpit playing toy soldiers.
I was a bit of a loner – painfully shy, terribly insecure and introverted – so immersing into a scene where I pulled the strings of life and death, controlled the fate of the heavily armed little plastic men amongst the dirt… well, it was intoxicating.
In some ways I was always more comfortable in the stories I would concoct in my head.
I was fascinated by World War II, especially, as a kid. I had books on the various battles fought. Especially in Europe. The plucky Tommys and Diggers fighting stoically against the ‘orrible Nazis…
I suppose it was normal for my generation in the early/mid ‘70s. I hadn’t heard anything about pacifism or hippies – I would embrace a far more peaceful moral position in my teens, but at that point war seemed somehow romantic, gloriously full of heroes defeating bad guys.
I wouldn’t dream of giving my daughter, nephews or nieces a toy gun or soldiers now! The thought of glorifying war is abhorrent. They were different times, and I sometimes wonder how they shaped my generation.
Today it’s all superheroes and Star Wars – now that I think of it perhaps Star Wars was the dividing line for me. I don’t recall playing with toy soldiers or GI Joe after seeing the first Star Wars film in 1977 (though there was most likely some crossover).
Perhaps immersing in the trilogy was the period where I turned my back on the misguided war-mongering games of my childhood and looked to the stars for a bigger, less horrifically real story.