Well, I know posted about Christmas in 2002, but I ended up self-gifting myself a Lego set I have wanted since I was 5. It's a Lego Hopper, form one of the orginal town sets (pictured on the right). To me, as a kid, this was the Ultimate. I got it as part of my "heal my youth" expenditures, which also got me a replacement Fisher-Price Airport two years ago. I scan Ebay for these things, but when this item rarely came up, it was for hundreds of dollars, and folks, I am not THAT desperate. But thanks to BrickLink, the online Lego Shopper's Garage Sale for Lego sets, parts, and pieces, I found a seller in Australia who was selling his (sans box) for under $50. Dude. I had to have it, who cares about the box. A Paypal transaction and two weeks later, it came, all mushed and smashed by US Customs, but complete with instructions. I built it last night. Nerdvana! I don't know why I never got the set as a kid. I don't recall anyone telling me I couldn't have it, and I must have asked for it, but I probably got the "Well, see, you have a LOT of Legos already..." I think this would have been a reasonable response, and since I can't recall any other... there you are. Part of why I wanted this so bad was that yellow conveyor belt that takes up half the picture. It's all one piece. I played with it a lot when I opened my Australian package (which came in some "Melbourne's Own Iced Pies" box). The belt slips, but the rubber is old, after all. But as I assembled it from the yellowing instruction pamphlet, it was like some deep light went off in my head, like some gap in my life was complete. But not like the airport.
The Fisher-Price Airport I got last year (photo on left). It was the model from 1972, and I had one as a wee kid, and I loved that thing more than... any toy at the time. But then I poured orange juice into it. I am not sure why, but when you're 5... heck, I even threw a Xylophone mallet through the window of the house we were renting. I wasn't a bad kid, but I had my moments. Well, as the OJ aged, the airport got stained, and began to smell, but I screamed and yelled and protested when my mother suggested we throw it away. Then, when we moved from California to the DC area, it was throw away when I wasn't looking. Now, as an adult, I forgive my mother for doing this, because I am now a parent, and I mean Yeech! Rotting OJ! But the "throwing things away when I am not looking" became a theme growing up. In fact it became part of the materialist paranoia I have now that when I am not looking, stuff I have will vanish. Of course, this stems from the overal instability of my mother's alcoholism and father's random abuse. My house was one big circus. Getting this airport and playing with it, even for a little bit, filled in some emptiness. And hell, it's cheaper than a therapist.