This Space for Rent

A blast from the past

Lego set #585, from 1975

When I was a kid, I played with legos a lot until I turned 11 or 12 and was given my first (Lionel HO scale) train set. This, of course, meant that I completely missed the introduction of the minifig (to say nothing of the appalling Homemaker figures) and any further Lego developments because I, reasonably, spent much of the next 20 years traction-spotting and being blissfully unaware of the Lego world.

But about a year and a half ago, legos started to creep into our household again, first with our (me and my brothers Donald and Stephen) old Samsonite sets from 1966 (which aren't actually in our house, but which are at my parent's house in Milwaukie; my parents had saved all our old legos (modulo the pieces we destroyed) and started bringing them out when the bears were old enough to play with them without eating them), then with a few sets we bought when the local toyshop The Enchanted Owl went out of business, a transportation set from Finnegans, and then in a huge rush, a bunch of mid-late 70's sets (including 4 first-generation minifigs with solid-stud heads. Two of those figures have been disassembled and reassembled with newer legos, but two of them were fouled by sticker goo and were set aside long enough for me to realize that they were out of the ordinary, and are now tucked away for special occasions) that we found at SCRAP, some discontinued sets we bought from Finnegans, and a garbage bag full of legos that the best and the bears found down at Goodwill when shopping for Halloween costumes.

From that point, it was a quick descent into the abyss of a severe lego addiction. It didn't help that there's a Lego store in Tigard (No link, because the lego store website sucks) and it really didn't help when my parents bought Russell a Slave 1®™© and I realized that our version of legoland was a caucasion wonderland, couldn't find any girl-styled hair in the Lego online store, then discovered Bricklink and went to town buying female-styled hair, stereotypically female-featured heads, and Bespin Guard®™© heads by the truckload.

But what does this have to do with the picture at the top of this post? Well, if I hadn't discovered railroads but had kept playing with legos, I would have been 15 when the legoland police headquarters was produced. As it was it took until 2007, when I bought a batch of old legos from someone in town, before one of these sets came into our hands. Sure, it was mixed up with a few other sets, because I'd bought someone's old Lego sets from when they were kids, so they were played with. But we finally washed the pieces today, and when the pieces had dried Russell wanted to build the police station. So we did. ~32 years old, and there it sits, complete with first-generation minifigs and only missing about half a dozen pieces (the hinge pieces for one of the bays, and some of the plates and antiroof pieces for the helicopter.)

I've got a soft spot for these old lego sets, particularly if they've been played with before. Even though we've bought more than our share of new lego pieces, it's nice to play with legos that have already been loved by one household and are now going to a new household to be played with again. It will be nice, assuming I live long enough to have grandchildren, to be able to drag these sets out and sit down with Russell and/or Silas and their children to build elaborate constructions out of them.