Life Here

March 28, 2019 By Liz Wildberger

Toys for Us

A new service is arising at Paradise Valley Estates, one that is resident-driven and timely. Not the volunteer activity that marks every able-bodied person in our community as a generous, concerned citizen; not the outreach to the Fairfield area to libraries, churches, and civic organizations like Rotary, Sons of Italy, and Daughters of the American Revolution. These involvements have existed as long as PVE has, since 1997.

No, I refer to a service that makes grandparents and great-grandparents sigh with relief; the entertainment of young guests who are actively engaged in physical feats such as scooter-driving and bike riding and indoor activities involving Lego, model trucks that “transform” into dinosaurs, Playdoh, and games requiring manual dexterity and memory training. All the things that most of us residents sold in garage sales — along with the crockpots — because we were quietly certain that we would not be visited by grandchildren unless they were passing through Fairfield on their way to playgrounds in Yosemite or Lake Tahoe.

And guess what? We were wrong.

Modern, more youthful grandparents who reside in PVE know better. Their garages and storage areas are replete with Barbie bikes, scooters, Radio Flyer wagons, and plastic tubs filled with aforementioned Lego and model trucks. And these modern grandparents are willing to lend those vehicles and indoor toys to us benighted souls who thought we could “put a few miles on the kids” by taking them to the swimming pool or letting them whack a few golf balls around the putting green.

Grandchildren who are now parents themselves are describing PVE as a destination vacation with trips to local playgrounds and the Jelly Belly Factory a subtext to the warm feelings of letting their toddlers ride in circles in the courts that abound at PVE and smile at the kids’ cries of: “Look, Granddad, I’m riding in the street!”

We know who we are — the crafty great-grands who invite neighbors for cocktails or to go to an art museum or concert as our guests because we have caught a glimpse of residents’ garages housing trikes and wagons when we get a text message announcing the imminent arrival of small persons who are related to us.  But the really amazing message is that these possessors of plastic tubs filled with Little Tikes trucks are happy to offer this treasure to us less fortunate persons! They actually call, saying “We heard your grandchildren are going to visit.  Would you like some toys to use while they’re here?”

Tears of gratitude mingle with martinis as we plot the best way to make a transfer from one garage to the other. These generous, fairly-recent arrivals are able to offer us more than toys to occupy our young ones; they offer us generational modality, practical kindnesses that transcend retirement.


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