I love the Easy Bake Oven.
It was and still is my favorite toy. Sadly, the inventor of the Easy Bake Oven, Ronald Howes, passed away last year. I wish I could have met him and thanked him.
Although I don’t agree with the author’s conclusion, that the Easy Bake Oven is losing its soul, I particularly loved this paragraph:
Toys are not just for kids. As I've spent time playing with my girlfriend's crazy-adorable niece, … I find that much of the joy of a good toy is in adults' eyes — watching this tiny person do tiny person things, almost but not quite like how a grown person would do them. We watch them become engrossed, watch them explore the world of their imagination. We watch them stand or sit or tumble before us, but know that, in that moment, where they really are in their fantasy. It's getting a peek at that fantasy that draws me in, that sense of expansive creativity, of possibility that lives in children.
Many stories have been posted at GTN about the importance of toys. Richard, Ruth and I have written about how toys can affect one’s chosen profession. I’m sure the Easy Bake Oven played a big part in why, early in my own career, I sculpted cakes ala Cake Boss for a caterer. I was all about batters and icings.
I don’t think many of us have written here about the pure joy of watching a child play and our being part of their imaginative world of possibility and losing the adult world for awhile. The Japanese Buddhist terms satori or kensho come closest to describing this – a true feeling of enlightenment.
When my daughter played with her Easy Bake Oven, I knew exactly where she was in her fantasy. Recently, when she was in college, I sent her a new Easy Bake Oven with all the mixes for Valentine’s Day. She and her friends loved it. I think not just because it was unusual and fun at their age, but because it reminded them that life was not just exams and big decisions looming. The world was full of possibilities and they could be and do anything they wanted. We all need to be reminded of life’s possibilities on a regular basis.
I’m thinking an Easy Bake Oven would look really good in the corner of my office.