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16 October 2014

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Second Hand Cars

By David Ambrose
November 2006, Caerphilly
A digital story from Breaking Barriers

"I think like a lot of young men I really didn't like the idea of having children. It frightened me. I thought somehow it was going to be the beginning of the end, the end of a life of freedom, the beginning of a rut of quiet domesticity.

It really wasn't how I saw myself at all. As soon as children came along, actually that really changed. Once my son was born and then my daughter, I began to remember what it was like to be really young, to be a child again.

And very soon I began enjoying all those things I hadn't done since my own childhood. Flying kites, building sand castles, picking blackberries, playing football, making puppet shows. And every so often I'd mean to get the boxes out of my mother's garage, the ones with my own childhood toys in them.

But somehow or other whenever we go to my mum's house, it was always, now we must sit down and have a good chat, I really want to know what you and the family have been up to. I feel I see so little of you; I don't want you to go messing around out in garage. Do sit down and have another cup of tea there's a good boy.

And so the boxes of toys in my mum's garage somehow just stayed put. And meanwhile of course my children grew up until suddenly they were taller than us, and sand castles and kite flying were a thing of the past and they began gently mocking me for always regretting that I hadn't done enough of those things when they were younger, until this year, when my mother was 85 and said she really wanted to celebrate with a garden party, and that would mean tidying out the garage to get to the garden furniture.

So I finally found all those boxes of toy cards I'd had as a kid, and of course I immediately began regretting all over again, this time that I hadn't shared these with my children. But I brought them home still wrapped up in newspapers from the 1960s, and got them out, and looked at them nostalgically with my son.

Only he's 22 now and not about to get down on his hands and knees and race them across the carpet like he used to. Instead he began photographing them with his digital camera. And then, without telling me, and to see what would happen he put one up for sale on E Bay, a green Cooper Bristol racing car, Dinky Number two three three. It fetched £86.

And so he and I find that we've gone into the second hand car business, he enjoying using his IT skills to sell them on the web, me giving each one a clean up before sending them off to toy car enthusiasts around the world, people who sign themselves, Vanguard Standard, Crazy Hazy, Rally Rob, Dinky Nut. Our cars are going off to be appreciated by people in Pasadena, Tokyo, Melbourne, Luxembourg.

And my son and I, we're having a lot of fun, together."

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