Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Here's a little essay that didn't make it into print. I love little red wagons - I do wonder where ours went to - and I was delighted to write this.

The last Wednesday in March, March 29 this year, is now designated as National Little Red Wagon Day.

In 1936, Ogden Nash wrote this as the first stanza of his poem about Custard the Dragon:
       Belinda lived in a little white house, 
       With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse, 
       And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon, 
       And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon. 

Every family owned at least one little red wagon, probably a Radio Flyer. What began with a craftsman’s sideline of making wooden wagons in 1917 Chicago, became the ubiquitous red wagon, now made of steel, still available today. Kids use them to ferry their pets and other treasures from place to place, boaters and campers use them to tote their gear, interior decorators use them to add that bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to an eclectic room, and parents trip over them all the time.

Red wagons never die. Unless they were left to rust away, they can be handed down through the generations. Vintage Radio Flyers available on eBay, and there are even various replacement parts, ‘used’ and new, available on line. Many seniors remember the really great ‘big’ toys like Erector sets, Lionel trains, Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys, Buddy L trucks and cars, Steiff toys, and dolls and doll houses of all shapes and sizes. All were built to last if given the proper care. Any fan of Antiques Roadshow knows how valuable they can be. They would surely outlast most of the plastic toys that so quickly come and go these days. Things like roller skates (do you still have your skate key?) and baseball gloves were made to last.

Celebrate your own Little Red Wagon, your Radio Flyer, or other treasured toys you still have – or still remember. If you haven’t already done so, pass them down in your family, or be sure to reminisce about your enjoyment of them the next time you have a family get-together.  

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