Friday, December 27, 2013

Victor Nelson's

There are two toy shops in Oamaru which dominated my life when I was a kid. In the days when I collected 1/32 Airfix both of these shops stocked them. This was way back in the 1970 when one box cost a princely sum of $3.15. That sort of cash was far out of my league in those days so I had to wait for birthdays or Christmas before I could hope to get a box. It didn't stop me looking though. I can remember that every time we needed to head up to Oamaru (usually for Christmas provisions because we had a crib (bach for you NIers) in Hampden) I had to make a visit to both shops just to stare at the bounty which was out of my economic reach. Victor Nelson's especially used to have about 2 stacks of Airfic boxes behind the counter so that children without the cash had to stare and drool without being allowed to contact the boxes with their grubby hands.

Just this week I was back in Oamaru again, picking up Christmas provisions for my family and on a whim I ducked in to Victor Nelson's again.  It was like stepping back in time.  Bikes lined the aisles and there was a smell of new bike tyres and oil. Toys of all shapes and sizes lines the walls and off to the side was a sizable collection of  ----- model soldiers! I wandered over and found that they had obviously not been top sellers.  The sunlight had faded the front of them and the declining prices that they had been offered for sale dotted the boxes.  They had initially ranged from $50 for the 1/32 boxes and $17 for the 1//72 (unfortunately they were Italieri not Airfix!!!) Now they were all $5. I wondered what the 6 year old me would have thought if he had walked in to the shop and seen such a treasure.  Of course even at that price I would not have been able to buy any of them. Well, in memory of the little version of myself I bought his entire stock. I now have a piece of Victor Nelson's sitting up in Hampden at the crib probably never to be opened but stacked up just as they were when I was a poppet. I guess a lot of my motivation in life comes from actual and percieved deficits I had as a child but no matter what Freud would have said for me this was a victory at Christmas.