I am a girl, and as such it was dictated I play with baby dolls, tea sets and little play kitchen sets. I had many. Every birthday and Christmas until I was maybe 4 years old, I was inundated with such things by well meaning relatives.
My dad had other ideas.
He supplied soccer balls, frisbees, kites, whiffle bats, and stuffed animals he made a big show of winning for me at Rockaway's Playland.
The one thing I wasn't given were action figures.
The only kids my age in my neighborhood were boys. They had action figures and little toy cars. That's what I wanted to play with.
I saw commercials on TV.
I saw them on the racks at Woolsworth while shopping with my mom.
I saw them in action from the window of our apartment as the boys played on the stoop.
I finally got the nerve to say something about it at the very industrious age of 3. My parents response? I received a ballerina doll.
But something must have clicked in their parental brains, because one day my dad came home from work with three little men. I don't know where they came from, all I know is that I loved them.
They looked like Playmobil men, but had buttons in their torso, and feet which moved at the ankles.
(After many years of searching I have finally learned they were Play Big figures.)
I never really cared that I knew next to nothing about them. One was green. One was blue. One was yellow.
I used to make capes for them and I'd pretend they were Batman & Robin fighting the Hulk. Their Batmobile was either a shoebox I found or later on, one if my Hulk skates.
I took them everywhere with me. I even named them: Bruce (blue), Dick (yellow)and David (green). I was so proud of them, I treated them as the Crown Jewels of my toyroom.
It wasn't until the mean kid with the Bespin Luke that I ever questioned my little men. I've always regretting letting that little jerk do that to me. He essentially killed my fearless action figures.
The Play Big men proved to my parents that I could be left alone for hours in my own world quiet, behaved, and hassle free if I was given action figures.
They opened the door for Decker, and the rest that followed.
I lost Bruce many years ago.
Dick and David are still with me, scraped, scarred and battle worn. They are badges of honor. They lived up to their name. They played big.