Redemption: 30 Years in the Making

It'd been a few months since I'd been to the local flea market. Despite this week's arctic blast, I needed a fix. I'd been away from the dirt and grime and the stench of body odor that the flea market brings for far too long. I walked away having spent ten bucks and don't regret one single cent.

My first stop at the flea market is always the same. I have a favorite vendor who always has very fun stuff for great prices -- but today I was a little nervous as I approached his tables. All I saw was a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the area that is usually packed with a variety of toys spanning multiple generations. When I got closer though, I couldn't avoid the smile on my face as I was reunited with something from my childhood that I had completely forgotten.

My brother and I had these as kids -- I want to say I remember using them on vacation to occupy our time in the car. Unfortunately, I don't have an Etch-a-Sketch. Even if I did, I'm not sure I'd open this package as the seal on the back has never been broken.

A great start.

Five bucks spent.

I moved on through the market and found my way to another of my favorite vendors. This is the guy who sold me some buttons several months back. Digging through a small box of toys, I immediately recognized Donnie Wahlberg and I had a hunch -- where there's one New Kid, there has to be more.

Sure enough, there was Danny and Jon.

With Donnie and Joey on the shelf already, these two fit in nicely. There's only Jordan now.

Two bucks spent.

After sifting through some books and coming up empty, I was left with one more favorite vendor...

When I was a kid, my mom and I took off one afternoon on the hour-plus journey to the nearest city with a respectable shopping mall. Just me and my mom. It had to have been early 1985 because I remember getting the tenth Garfield book which had just come out. Heading to the car after a few hours of shopping, we were walking through one of the anchor department stores when we passed a display of Voltron toys. I don't remember if asked if I could get it or if my mom just recognized the longing look in my eyes...but she bought me a Voltron.

I remember this being a big deal in my mind as this sort of thing didn't happen often. It wasn't like I got this and we picked up something equal for my brother. On top of that, it was twenty bucks. A small fortune to a kid...and she still bought it for me.

When I got home, probably after reading through some Garfield hilarity, I remember being disappointed to find that this particular figure didn't come apart. I mean, really, what fun is a Voltron toy if it can't be taken apart? But soon enough, I noticed the small screws on the underside of the feet and it was only a matter of time before Voltron started separating. Needless to say, it wasn't long before these screws were lost as were the cars themselves. I've held on to my footless Voltron all these years and have always felt a certain amount of guilt and regret knowing that my mom had bought me this special toy and I had not taken good care of it.

So as I browsed the items for sale by my final favorite vendor of the day, I immediately noticed his Voltron toy. It was missing both arms and a few other vital pieces...but it had both feet.

The price tag was exactly what I needed, too: "$3.00, as is."


Three bucks spent.

As I paid, I shared a brief version of this story with the vendor who nailed it: "I guess I've been waiting for you!"

Strangely enough, both figures have a piece broken off from the head -- but the pieces missing are on opposite sides. Nothing an X-acto knife and some super glue can't remedy.

Anyway, once I got home, I couldn't wait to pop off the screws and move the feet from this junky three-dollar Voltron to my Voltron.

Finally, mom. Finally.

After almost 30 years, I've redeemed myself.


the sandwich life said...

Your mother would be so pleased!

Ronsrandomstuff said...

It is so satisfying when things come together like that. Great story, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What Flea Market is this?? Most places here, in Central Texas, have their stuff marked up. Everything is a collectible to the dealers. -_-

TL said...

This was the Gordyville flea market in Gifford, IL.