The pull of old toys is undeniably powerful, and really not amenable to rational explanation. Nostalgia must play a part, but we think personality is what actually comes into play. These objects are loaded with it. Unlike the new toys we purchase for the kids in our lives, these older and often battered survivors of earlier generations touch us, charm us, make us laugh in a different way. We've lived, and so have they. Their job of reflecting us and the worlds we entered continues.

And of course they are often very beautiful, even when they're not, really. If we contradict ourselves, as we just did, it only to emphasize their mystery and very real magic. It is the poetry of the miniature, recognized by the child that still lives within us. Dolls, cars, trains, things that wind-up or that get pushed around, these are the mirrors of the past, valentines to childhood, that long-ago country we left, that we're still from.