Thursday, September 3, 2015

Soaking up a Memory - Grandma's Ark

Growing up, when we were at our grandmas house, my sisters and I would get the privilege to play with Noah's Ark and animals in her sink. Grandma just had a perfect way of making each of us feel special and almost spoiled when she would pull out this old ark for us to play with. (As I'm sure she did with every grandchild... Right cousins?)
We would fill up the sink with warm water, pull up a folding chair and spend so much time (what felt like hours) taking each set of animal, pair by pair, up and down the bridge of the large boat (that didn't float... It was a sinker for sure)  
Two by two, we would make up stories or have grandma tell us the story of Noah's faithfulness and God's promise to His children. Being extra careful not to spill water on to the floor (it was carpeted wasn't it? Family? Aunties? Grandma?) we would lean over that sink until both of our hands were wrinkled beyond recognition and the water freezing cold. 
Last December, I remember lying in bed thinking about which toy we should get for Avin. I didn't want to just get another something that would end up in a pile or in her closet, or worse, stacked in the garage waiting for the next garage sale. I wanted something that would provide countless hours of entertainment and would create a memory for her. 

It hit me link a ton of bricks... Noah's Ark. But it couldn't be just any Noah's Ark. It had to be the one exactly like the one at grandmas house. 

One thing is sure, I can hunt down pretty much anything on the Internet, without really knowing what exactly I was looking for. I stayed up all night searching until finally in found exactly the one I had to get for her. (At this point I had to ask myself honestly; was this for her or for me? Me... Duh!)

After all my research, the coolest thing that I found out was this ark and these animals came from.... Are you ready?!.... A GAS STATION!!! 

At Arco gas stations in the early 1970s, you could purchase the Ark and then each fill up, you would get a pair of animals. How cool is that?! If I were a child then, I know that would have been a highlight to go get gas with my mom or dad. I wonder if my dad was ever the lucky kid to see what the newest addition to the set would be that week. I sure wish we had incentives like that to fill our tanks. 

After my hours of research, and then scrounging eBay for a complete set, I finally laid my eyes on a BRAND NEW, Vintage ARCO Noah's Ark. Still in original packing! 

I wish I could blame being up too late and super tired, but I know that I would have paid the embarrassing price tag any time. If you're a vintage you collector, close your ears...... Because as soon as that package arrived in the mail, I ripped open all the packages of the animals and Noah (who Avin now refers to as Grandpa Kit!) and his wife. 

I didn't purchase this incredible find just to have it sit on a shelf, in its packagin, collecting dust. No, I splurged on this 'toy' to be just that. To be used today like it was today. To give a toddler well over an hour to get lost in her own little world.. Hands wrinkled, chilly water and cupboards and floors drenched. 

There isn't another toy that we own that brings both of us nearly as much joy as this one does. After dozens of times pulling it down from the shelf, Avin still gets excited to play with the ark. 

It give me joy... And clean counters, cupboard fronts and floor after I'm finished soaking up the mess. 

Is there a toy you remember from childhood that you absolutely love and have purchased for your child or wish you could? Please share. December is coming and I need more ideas. 

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