Some Things, Like Toys, Are Built Better Than Others

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22813 – 991

Here’s the haps:

So, the two-year-old grandson was here today. They come frequently and I am blessed in that I get the chance to see my grandkids on a fairly regular basis even though I don’t always chronicle every visit. Grandchildren are God’s reward to you for not killing your children. And really, I don’t have a favorite. There are people who do have a favorite kid or grandkid but that doesn’t work for me. They are all my favorites just like each of my kids are my favorites. I see each one of them as a one-of-a-kind, unique individual like all the other ones. I wrote about the question of who was my favorite Sunday School kid one time as well.

“Bumpaw, look! All my cars fit!” Well, first of all, they are not actually all his cars, some used to be mine while others been added to the collection over the last forty-two years. But, possession being nine-tenths of the law, they are, while he is here, his. So are the ones he takes home. We have a five-gallon bucket full of Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Dollar Store brand (it should read, “Dollar and a Quarter Store” now, but that’s a different rant.), some little metal cars that are nothing more than a metal body with axles and wheels, and a veritable plethora of odd ducks. Anyway, the cars he had all fit very nicely into the back of a semi-truck. He was so pleased with himself that he carried the whole thing over to me. This thing weighs ten pounds when it’s full.

He had filled the back of this toy truck with all of these cars. This toy truck is the real deal, though. We have had it since Ben was about two, so it’s maybe thirty-seven years old or more. It was made mostly of steel, in the U.S.A., by the ERTL company, Dyersville, Iowa. I don’t know what scale it is, I’m thinking some of my dearly beloved math geniuses may know.

The whole truck together is about 22 inches long and 7 inches high(-ish). The trailer is 16 inches long and the back doors are approximately 5 inches by 5 inches.

You can see the name stamped on the back

The truck is a replica of an International Harvester and the cab is 8 inches long.

The bottom is stamped with the manufacturing and patent information.

This truck has been ridden on, stood on (I know. Yikes! Get down off of there baby.), driven in all manner of conditions, used and abused by countless children. My kids, their friends and relatives, daycare kids, babysat kids, and now grandkids, and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.

It’s outlived the company it was originally branded for, Schultz Brothers variety stores. If you are my generation or older and possibly the next generation down, you will get the term, ‘dimestore” or “five and dime.” I told a younger person the other day about going to the dimestore and they thought it was like the dollar store only everything was a dime. In Wisconsin, they were direct head-to-head competition for Woolworths and Ben Franklin and were very popular. You could get anything there, but the Brach’s Candy they sold by weight was the best. whether you got one or two pieces or a bag full, they weighed it out. They had 51 stores in 4 states when they announced bankruptcy in 1988.

Kmart had come to town. Everywhere.


  1. In Canada, it was Woolworth’s (taken out by Walmart). SS Kresge’s – eventually K-Mart (taken out by Hudson Bay Company) and Zellers – an HBC junior (taken out by Target who quickly failed in Canada). I loved Zellers. They had good quality products for less and they had a great kids clothes guarantee. If your kids wore their clothes out before they grew out of them, they would replace the item. Quality seems in short supply these days. We still have our kids Toys-R-Us truck (similar to the one you photographed) and a whole host of Matchbox/Dinky/Hot Wheels vehicles. Ahhh, the good old days – the phrase when mentioned turns our kids hearing off. Happy Sunday Herb. Allan

  2. Yep, definitely remember dime stores. But I do so much of my buying online anymore, I would be part of the reason for their demise. Love the line “Grandchildren are God’s reward to you for not killing your children”

  3. The year I watched my niece, and all the visits with my area nephews around the same time, was to witness how toys are recycled. I find the Toy Story movies increasingly, needlessly maudlin, but they do capture something that’s usually just background static. The fifth one will have to be set at an antique shop, which the fourth one already suggested, while still clinging to the hope Woody will always find a happy new child companion. Eventually, though…

    • They all show wear and tear after a while and one day will wind up either in the trash or at the Goodwill. Some might hit an antique store…

  4. We still have all our kids matchbox etc cars too. There are no children in our lives now that play with them, but they don’t take up a lot of space and they bring back lots of happy memories.

  5. I loved the dime store when I was a kid. My allowance was ten cents a week, and it was amazing how much you could get for ten cents. Even more amazing was that our mothers could let us walk to the dime store unsupervised and not worry for our safety. They knew the worst that could happen was that we would buy too much candy and eat it all at once, and spoil our appetites for supper.

  6. Hey, Herb, we have a big bucket of vehicles we haul out when grandkids and their cousins come to our house. Many of the cars and trucks are smaller than yours but just as old. When my kids were little, one of their grandfathers would go to the kitchen and haul out a bucket of pans and utensils. Our boys seemed perfectly happy with those as well!

  7. Ooooh, I would have loved that as a kid. I think I have an Ertl Ford Tractor in “the car box” I still own. It’s an old beer case full of toy cars from my childhood.

    • That’s really neat. ERTL made some tough stuff. Have you ever posted about that case?

      Many of these were bought when my sone was a baby so they are well over 35. I have a few of my old Hot Wheels but we moved around so much when I was a kid we didn’t keep a lot of things.

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