There is something magical about making toys. As a child, of course, any toy--especially a new one--absolutely captivated me. Remember the feeling of walking into one of those giant toy stores? The one I remember most vividly is the one in Chicago--I forget the name--a two-story wonderland of stuffed animals, games, trains. Magic.
Naturally the creator of such a wonderful thing must be equally magnificent, right?
I had the pleasure of meeting with one of Hillsborough's own toymakers the other day. Vince Krauth and his wife, Leona, moved to the South a few years ago, bringing along Vince's hobby of woodworking.
Listening to the couple illustrate the behind-the-scenes work of a toymaker, the intricacies, the fine touches, even the inspiration--it was clear by the fire in their eyes how much they loved this passion they have dedicated so much of their lives to. And it is a commitment, from what they said: the craft shows, the traveling.
It's been a while since I felt that thrill only a toy shop can bring, but I certainly felt the stirring of a shadow in my heart when I stepped into the garage-turned-workshop and saw the wooden trains, the cars, the trucks even the mini table and chairs for dolls' tea parties. I could only laugh knowingly as Vince's grandson snuck in behind us to fiddle with a wooden crane. Oh to have that fascination again!
Vince's toys had a way of bringing that back.
For more on the story, see the Wednesday, Aug. 8, edition of the News of Orange.