As an Oregonian by way of Wisconsin, my father is an avid outdoorsman. While growing up, I managed to avoid the deer and duck hunting trips that my sister endured but I did have to spend a fair amount of time in a boat at dawn fishing for trout. I actually enjoyed fishing; I liked the quiet, the mist, and the mirror-like water at that time of day. But, just as some girls lose interest in family activities when they discover boys, my interest waned when I discovered Trolls.
I wasn’t a big doll person, maybe because my Barbies would most often end up dismembered at the hands of my doll-hating sister and then thrown over the pasture fence for the horses to drop loads on. But I'll never forget seeing my first Troll—it was love at first sight. I started the acquisitions process immediately and soon had a full family of dayglo-haired playmates. I cleared the hooks and swivels and leader line out my tackle box and replaced it with Trolls and the empty match boxes, corks, jewelry cases, and other cast offs that became fantastic Troll World furniture. I remember combing the house for Troll accouterments—the puffy cotton I stole from the top of prescription bottles made for excellent pillows and costume-jewelry brooches became elegant door knockers on stacked-shoebox Troll apartments.
Why the instant connection with Trolls? I can’t quite say. Maybe it was the candy-colored hair, or the welcoming outstretched arms, or perhaps the stubby, jointless limbs that were beyond my sister's doll amputation skills. Can true love be explained? Not really. It’s a chemistry thing. Those Trolls and I had instant chemistry.
I found this love was shared by my cousins as well. When Aunt Judy and Uncle Keith would come up from San Francisco with cousins Chris and Jeff, we’d always head up to the lake for some fishing. But after I had discovered Trolls, we’d talk our parents into dropping us off on a small island in the middle of the lake while they fished. All we needed was a bag of sandwiches, a cooler full of Shasta Tiki Punch, and my tricked-out Troll tackle box. Untroubled by adults, the four of us would spend the day alone on the island in the blazing sun creating lagoons, quarries, entire mud villages for the trolls. It was bliss. I’d pay a lot of money for some sort of holodeck-type experience to revisit Troll Island.
A few months ago, I received a troll with hazmat-orange hair in the mail from my cousin Jeff. My kids don’t see the allure, they prefer to build build their tiny worlds for a cute but charmless Calico Critters mouse family, so happily the troll is mine. All mine! Though I do restrain myself from emptying out an old tackle box to fill with Troll World material, I must admit I do look twice when I see a particularly trollworthy box going into the recycling bin.
I don’t think any toy ever measured up to my Trolls. Any similar toy love stories out there?
2 months ago