Wednesday, August 15, 2007

523 days, 11 hours, 27minutes 34 seconds

Penny Whistle Toys is, she thinks, open again. It had been closed by the court over a month ago, a large red and yellow sign on the window saying don't worry, kids, we'll be back. But this is what we teach the kids she doesn't have.

When she first moved in with him one of his nieces and one great nephew were still young enough that they always looked at toys for Christmas, and this was the best store around. And the most expensive. But he hated chain toy stores as much as he hated chain restaurants (except for the Toys 'R Us near Times Square with its indoor Ferris wheel that he never got to go on). That will be closing soon. Now there are other small expensive shops on the upper West side and they know about one in the village. Now that niece has two children of her own. That's how long it's been.

Meanwhile, Mattel is recalling nearly 19 million toys built in China because they didn't use the paint they were paid to use and there's possible lead here. All over suburbia mothers are digging through toy chests, checking serial numbers, throwing out toys in large red plastic Neiman Marcus bags that can't be seen through. Day care centers are replacing everything. Children in day care are being checked for lead. Children out of day care are throwing tantrums. Or she would have been, at least. Then again, even her Barbies probably weren't Mattel.

She thinks of the windows at Penny Whistle after 9/11 – some of the best in town. For Valentines Day, a red heart with stuffed Dalmatians inside and surrounding it. A white USA plane, American flag on its wing, seeming to fly into a building when we first attacked Iraq. She has the pictures to prove it. Don't worry kids, we'll be back.