Big things with little cars

I was really thrilled to see last week’s inaugural Micro Monday be such a success. I hope you all enjoyed it too, because I’m in this for the long haul. I’ve got hundreds of these, and this dump truck is going to help me tell you why.

I was five years old in 1986, when Micro Machines debuted with what I remember as an absolute onslaught of advertising. I couldn’t tell you anything about these ads, except that the spokesman spoke insanely fast. As a five year old who was only interested in playing with toy cars and trucks, and Lego (to build more cars and trucks and garages, of course), I wanted some Micro Machines in a big bad way.

Enter Mom. Mom liked tiny things, she actually collected tiny boxes that could hold nothing (except, perhaps, a Micro Machine). Mom thought Micro Machines looked really cool too, and she got me some. I remember playing with them for the first time, outside on a chilly overcast spring morning. My best friend and next door neighbor got some too, and he was just as excited as I was. I believe that first pack had a split-window Corvette, a ‘57 Chevy, and a 2nd gen Camaro, but honestly I don’t remember which ones were my first. We played with them endlessly on the sidewalk between our houses.


Mom got me some more. I was by all accounts a good kid, and Mom had long ago discovered that if she got me a couple toy cars, I was good to go for a whole day of shopping or errands or whatever the heck she was doing while I played. One of the early sets I got, was a set of construction equipment. The set included a steam roller, a cement truck, a front end loader, something else, and this dump truck. I don’t know why, but Mom was smitten by the dump truck. She loved it, it was her favorite Micro Machine.

The Micro Machines started to pile up quickly. I’d have to say Mom got the collecting bug for these more than anything else. She started driving all over the place hunting for new releases. Semi-trucks, limos, fire trucks, what ever the latest release was, Mom had to find it. I was definitely the beneficiary of what I’m quite convinced was a bit of an obsession for her. She didn’t buy any of them for herself, and there was never any talk of value or saving them or anything like that. They all went into my little carrying case to be played with for hours on end. The only ones that were spared this were the pink Micro Machines, those I gave her. She kept them on display with her tiny boxes.


Where the plot thickens, as they say, is when my friend and I started trading Micros. Now as much as I liked this dump truck, something else called to me (I don’t remember what), and I traded it away. When Mom found out I had traded away, she was visibly sad. Being the good kid that I was, I knew I had to get it back.


Now here’s the thing about my friend (we’re still great friends to this day), while he is actually quite generous, he is also quite the shrewd deal maker. When I asked to trade back for the dump truck the next day, he knew he had me in a spot. We didn’t just trade back the same things, oh no. He had leverage, and he knew it. I don’t remember what I had to give him to get back Mom’s beloved dump truck, but I do remember that I took quite a beating on that deal.


Nonetheless, I reaquired the dump truck, and then I immediately went upstairs and gave it to Mom. She gave me a big giant hug and a huge smile. The dump truck then took residence with the pink cars for the next 20+ years.


Many of us have a story of giving away our old toys when we got older, and for sure I did that too. I did hang onto a sizable chunk of my childhood Matchbox and Hot Wheels, and I still have most all of my Lego and my Micro Machines. Some of the Micros were traded away in childhood, and there’s been a bit of loss and breakage over the years, but the bulk of the collection is safe and sound with me. I’ve got hundreds, and I intend to show you them all over the next many many many weeks.


If I had to get rid of all my diecasts but one, you can bet your bottom dollar that this dump truck is never leaving my possession. Although I would rather it was still sitting on a shelf, amongst all the tiny boxes and pink Micro Machines. Sadly Mom passed away nearly four years ago now. Not too long after that, Dad decided to move. When my sister was packing up Mom’s stuff, she asked if there was anything I wanted. This dump truck was all I asked for.

I got the dump truck, and all her pink Micros as well. My wife put the pink ones on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. When my oldest daughter, who would’ve been Mom’s first grandchild, got old enough to ask about the “little cars,” I told her about Micro Machines and gave them to her. They now live in the bin with her Hot Wheels, and she loves to bust out “The Machines!!” Her Grandma would approve :)

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