This is a story about a Fisher-Price riding horse that survived a going-out-of-business sale, a downsizing-to-a-condo moving sale, and a garage fire.  Now, 31 years after purchase, it is a toy passed from one generation to another.

Sometime in 1981, a Kay Bee toy store in a Madison, Wis., went out of business. I picked up several toys on a deep discount, including a Fisher-Price Riding horse. It was wrapped up for Annie’s first Christmas, even though she was a little too young for a riding toy. In a blink of an eye, she was ready. And she loved it.

Horsey was stabled at 701C Eagle Heights, married student housing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Annie’s name and address was branded with magic marker on the bottom of the blue tray. In Eagle Heights, indoor-outdoor toys were often communal property and toys could need help finding a way back home.

Over the next 21 years, Horsey found a spot on the moving van headed to our first home in Middleton, Wis., and four homes in Park Ridge, Ill.

In 2004, Annie was in Houston with Teach for America, and Paul and I were about to move into a condo. It was time for the mother of all moving sales.

My brother, Keith, and sister-in-law Nancy drove from Independence, Wis., to help with the sale. They saw Horsey and its modest price tag and declared, “You can not sell this toy. We will keep it for you.”

At the end of the sale, Horsey was loaded into Keith and Nancy’s van along with other treasures. They unloaded most of the stuff into their three-car garage, complete with attic.

A short time later, the garage burned to the ground (see photo). In the middle of the soot and debris stood Horsey. Unscathed. Its magic-marker brand as clear as the day it was applied.

Horsey moved into Keith and Nancy’s house.

Fast forward eight or nine years. Annie is a married-mommy-pastor. Annie, Sean, baby Walter and Hank the Dog live in Stevens Point, Wis. Paul and I live in Johnson Creek, Wis.

On a recent Saturday, Paul and I drove from Crick to Independence, and Annie, Sean and Walter drove from Point to Independence. We had a fast and fun visit with Keith, Nancy, Teresa, Matt and Kevin.

You have guessed the rest of the story. Keith passed Horsey on to Walter. As it was with Annie, Walter is a little too young for Horsey. Still, he loved it.

I love that Keith and Nancy saved Horsey for such a day as this.


Here’s Walter, two months older, with Horsey.

Sue Edison-Swift, 7/5/2012

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4 Responses to Horsey

  1. Laurel Hensel says:

    This is nothing short of a miracle. Why was Horsey spared? Thanks, Keith, for the photo.

  2. Roxann Miller says:

    Sue, I loved the story of Horsey. Had to send the link to my daughter (and grandsons)!

  3. Linda says:

    Believe it or not, I remember horsey when you, Paul & Annie moved to Middleton and I came to visit!

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