Pictured above is one of the most interesting pieces in my collection. Londontoy diecasts were produced in, where else, London Ontario between 1940 and 1949. During and immediately after World War Two these toy vehicles were manufactured with pressed paper wheels (due to the rubber shortage). I suspect this pick-up is a later model as it does have rubber wheels. That’s about as brief a history as I can pass along…the point is that this little truck is about as old as I am.
I found it sticking out of a pile of dirt beside a dumpster about fifteen years ago on one of my daily walks. After a quick clean-up (which included brushing out the bed of what appeared to be the same fowl residue we used to have on the floor of our chicken coop back when I lived on a farm) it took an honored space on my shelves. I had considered doing a repaint but there’s something about the wear-and-tear that says “don’t even think about it”. It has character and a story. The well-worn wheels lean and wobble and don’t roll much anymore. In that aspect they’re much like me. There are also what appear to be seven BB dents in the bed and cab but without a ballistics analysis I can’t be 100% certain what caused them.
As far as monetary value goes it isn’t worth much but, as some folks say, it ain’t about the money. In its own way this little beaten-up truck is a part of history. If not the history of a nation certainly the history of the individuals who have owned it since the 1940s.
I look at it and wonder where it has been and who has held it. Was it a cherished Christmas present when it was new and straight from the factory with that glistening bright orange paint? Odds are you only received one or two presents back then so this little truck would have been pretty special. Toys in those days were far more valued than they are today.
Was it handed down to a sibling or given to a friend? How many young lads have played with this truck? Where did they live? Where are they now? Do they ever wonder what happened to the little orange truck they had when they were a kid?
I sometimes wonder what happened to my old toys.
My dad was in the army and we lived in Warminster, England when I was about six or seven. I used to get the Dinky military vehicles for presents and I’d save my pocket money to buy any others that I could. The last time I saw them they were in a sandbox beside the path in our back yard. I’m managing to find some replacements for them now but it isn’t the same. How many pairs of hands have played with those toys since I had them? Did they look after them like I did? I like to think that they ended up on the shelves of an appreciative collector somewhere…much the same as this little orange truck.
Mike Grant is the author of three novels. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.