One of unexpected benefits of grandparenthood is the chance one gets to play with toys. Big toys, little toys, girls toys, boys toys, it doesn't matter.
I guess we didn't have many toys when we were growing up, or at least, not enough. Today, my husband and I never miss a chance to poke around toy shops or try out toys we stumble upon at garage sales, under the pretense of stocking our home toy box (for the grandkids,of course!). In fact, the two of us can spend whole evenings comparing notes on toys that meant something to us, how we got them and what we did with them when we were too old to get away with playing with them. Hint: Some are in our attic.   
So, it was a given that while in Colmar France, we would visit La Musée du Jouet, the city’s delightful toy museum.
And, what a treasure we found: Our two childhoods cleaned up and captured behind glass for all to enjoy!
If you are thinking of going there, be forewarned, this is not a toy museum for children. It’s obviously designed for adults -- grandparents, actually – since most of the toys are 40-50 years old and counting.

As you enter this three-story dreamworld, you will be greeted by mechanical horses and a carriage right out of a fairy tale!   
You'll find baby dolls galore. ( I've mentioned before that, as a child, my favorite baby doll wore a bridal outfit. I kept her in a cradle and had no problem with any of that.) And, you'll find tea sets, little sewing machines and doll clothes. 
Plus bikes, trikes and toy horses, both rocking and stationary. 
They have a separate room of little cars, boats, planes and board games, plus tea sets, miniature sewing machines, kitchen sets, a Punch and Judy show and roomful of collectible dolls from the 1940s to 1960s. 
When I was a kid, my favorite was a Ginny doll that looked and dressed like a kid my age. I never owned a Barbie doll and, frankly, would never give one to a granddaughter today. BUT, the Colmar collection shows that the Barbies of yesterday were much more interesting than the tarted-up ones kids play with now. In fact, Barbie reflected the fashions and visions of women of her day. Look at this incredible display of historical Barbies and you may find representations of Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and even Josephine Baker! 
Big,mechanical, metal sculptures were not part of my childhood, but I loved this one. 
As you might expect, there are puppet show and a fabulous train exhibit, plus a floor full of all kinds of trains moving through Alsatian landscapes, including one that travels through a miniature Colmar. You'll see them in the video, below.  


For more information on this cheery trip back to childhood, go here.


 
 
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I think it's time we got back to basics.

Over the past few days, I’ve met some interesting people while reporting out a story on marriage. Three, in particular, made me stop and think about where this blog is headed. I may invite one or all of them to participate. 

One highly accomplished woman told me she has had the rug pulled out from under her in the past few months. Not one accustomed to free-fall, she’s lost her marriage and her business, all in a very short time. She has no choice but to move on, she said. 

This woman's education and career should provide her some very positive choices, but still, she’s out there on a limb, maybe for the first time her life. I’m not sure of her age, but am certain she fits the situational requirement of the average birdsonablog reader.

Yesterday’s conversation reminded me how far many of us have come in our lives. We were all pioneers, but without the sunbonnets.

Those of us who grew up in the US in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, had few role models, really, for the lives we’ve lived. What were our choices? Not Barby, not Jane Fonda, not Nancy Drew or Betty Crocker, not even Gloria Steinem or Madonna. How did we ever find our way?  

(Click Read More for the rest of this story)