It didn’t really click for me until I saw the cheetah Transformers toy hanging on a wall in the back of the store.
Similarly, the allure of O’Smiley’s Dolls and Collectibles might not click for you until you find that favorite childhood toy about which you’ve long since forgotten. Then you’ll become wistful and giddy as your nostalgia glands kick into overdrive.
Nostalgia is what O’Smiley’s sells. Yes, you’ll find just-issued toys too, but the primary focus is toys from the 1980s. That includes vrooming Matchbox cars, Star Wars figurines, plastic dinosaurs, American Girl dolls in their original box, and much more—so much more that any attempt to list it all would undoubtedly bore you.
The store itself is anything but boring. Located in Mt. Washington, it’s a veritable bonanza, a colorful nod to the bygone days when we actually played with toys rather than (*clears throat*) technology.
Not that Angry Birds and Fortnight are the worst ways for kids to spend their time. But at least this much is intuitively obvious to us: Kids need to play with toys. Something about the creativity, the imagination, the tactile exploration of the object toys allow us, at a very young age, to dig our roots into reality.
Ironic, then, that stepping into O’Smiley’s feels like stepping into a dream. That’s nostalgia for you. But it makes sense, as most of what we consider to be “toys” emerged from a very particular span of time—the late ’70s, the ’80s, and the early ’90s. No wonder the prevalence of movies like Small Soldiers and Prehysteria, or shows like Transformers. They played on this very phenomenon, the way children were encountering a reality mediated by action figures—and dolls, and cars, and every other toy conceivable.
For better or worse, things are much different now. If you’re a Millennial, you’re likely of the last generation that truly played. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy playing with your former toys.
At O’Smiley’s, you can. So stop in and have a look around. Once you find that favorite childhood toy, you're sure to get swept up in the awesomeness.
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O’Smiley’s Dolls and Collectibles is located at 2103 Beechmont Avenue (45230).