Having recently downsized and needing to purge years of “collectibles”, I spent a lot of time pondering the items carried with me since childhood and my reluctance to part with “stuff”.

It would take pages of a blog to truly sort through the emotions involved in letting go of belongings and their hidden meanings, so let me focus on what I insisted on keeping and why.

Ironically, many of my must-keep, keep-sakes are all games.  After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that ever since I was on my own, I have kept a Rummikub game, several decks of cards, a backgammon set and a pinball machine.

Growing up, I never imagined I would be immersed in the wonderful world of the toy industry.  Had life not presented itself with roads followed that lead me here, I don’t think I would have realized my need to keep these items.  Listening to the amazing retailers, manufacturers and sales reps, I now understand the significance of each of these must-have items.

Each is about happy memories shared with my parents, family and friends.  Days-on-end spent playing Rummikub with my mom and her friends in the Florida sunshine; playing cards (gin and poker) with my mom and dad until the wee hours of the night; heated backgammon games in college dorm rooms; and watching my father’s face light up in delight while we played endless games on the pinball machine he bought just before he died.

So, with a deep sense of gratitude – I want to thank everyone in the toy industry.  To the incredible local store owners and employees who delight with each new game and toy and who share their joy of play with such enthusiasm; to the manufacturers and inventors who keep bringing new and exciting items to us; and to the sales reps who work so hard to get new products to the market…THANK YOU!

To the consumers who may be reading this – do not miss out on the opportunity to shop at a local merchant.  Their knowledge and expertise will astound and inspire you!  And they are doing what they can to help your communities.