Toy Theatre

When I was in kindergarten, I often got pinkeye. Whenever that happened, my mother would drive me to an eye doctor, and on the way home, we sometimes stopped by at a grocery store right around the corner from the eye doctor’s office.

The store was old and dark inside, but much larger than the one near my house. As I travelled along the aisles with my mother, to keep myself busy, I would observe all the ways in which this grocery store was different from the tiny neighbourhood store near my house. My observation was so thorough that by the time we got to the check-out, there would be nothing else to be discovered. Except one day, a most unusual toy caught my eye in the wrack next to the check-out counter.

The first thing that got my attention was the picture of Sailor Moon on the package. When I picked it up, it said “Toy Theatre.”

“Mommy, what’s a toy theatre?” I knew what a theatre was like. I’d watched a Sailor Moon movie last year with my father. But I hadn’t heard of a toy theatre, yet.

“What? A toy theatre?” My mother was busy talking to the cashier, then pulling out her purse from her bag. “I don’t know, Sweetie. Just put it in the basket.”

And just like that, she threw the little pink package into the shopping basket. It was so unlike my mother to buy me a toy just because I’d asked about it, but I gladly went along with her whim.

Once back in the car, I took out my “toy theatre” from the package. It was so small that I could hold it in my hand. Shaped like a camera, the toy had a lens and a button. When I pressed my eye against the lens, I saw a movie screen inside, showing a picture of a scene from Sailor Moon anime series.

“Wow,” I held my breath. “I’m in a movie theatre!”

When I pressed the button, the picture changed to the next scene. There were about six different pictures in total, and together, they formed a story. As I clicked through the pictures, the special memory of my first movie night came back to me. The soft cushioned seating, the huge screen, and the popcorn. Now that I had this toy theatre, I could experience the excitement of the movie theatre whenever I wanted.

The little toy theatre was added to the special section of my toy box, and it accompanied me wherever I went for quite some time.