CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
As Jay McBee pulled box after box of toys from his truck Saturday, he wasn’t just unloading pieces to display at the Carl Junction Community Center.
From stacks of G.I. Joe action figures to board games not made since the 1960s, these boxes are essentially McBee’s childhood on display, now readily available for visitors to enjoy. McBee hopes that displaying a small portion of his collection will bring that same wave of nostalgia back to people in Carl Junction.
“I was a kid in the golden age of toys, and it was that time before Pong and before Simon,” McBee said. “These toys really captured the imagination when I was a kid, and that has changed since then. That’s why I started collecting the stuff that I remember from when I was a kid. These are timeless to me, and that’s why they are here this month.”
Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gary Stubblefield said this month’s display at the community center is the latest in an ongoing effort by the chamber to bring historical exhibits to the city each month.
“It is just a natural extension of the exhibits we have done throughout the year, like our Titanic and JFK displays,” Stubblefield said. “This is a perfect tie-in to Christmas, and we are really excited to have such an awesome collection for people to enjoy. For families that come through here, these may be the toys that the parents played with when they were young, but the kids see them and think it is just plain cool.”
McBee got serious with collecting toys about 10 years ago and has found most of his purchases online or at local flea markets. While most collectors are adamant about original packaging and complete parts, McBee sees his collection as something that is meant to be handled and enjoyed.
“When I have kids over, it makes me happy to see them go for these things,” McBee said. “They still gravitate towards these toys because they are fun, and that’s how I remember them. As time goes on for me, I still look back on my childhood and remember it as the part of the best and most simple time of my life. These toys remind me of that.”
Stubblefield said that McBee’s toys will be on display for the rest of December.
“This is perfect for Christmas because I’m sure many of these toys first found their way into the hands of kids on Christmas Day,” Stubblefield said.
THE CARL JUNCTION Area Chamber of Commerce canceled the outdoor events scheduled for Sunday, including the city’s annual Christmas parade. However, indoor events will kick off at 2:30 p.m. at the community center, including the Miss Jingle Bell and Mr. Elf crowning, the cookie and candy house and a performance by Christi Leonard’s Dance Academy.