The guy who invented this:


and this:


died last month.  Hans Beck, aged 79.

Bow your heads, moms and dads, for a man of brilliance.

Boywonder and Bottled Lightning own the above systems and a great many of their accoutrements.  Freckles McYoungest had an American Doll instead.  What a mistake.  I shudder to think of the fracas that is coming when it’s time to divide up the “good” toys.  Sweet Mary Malone in the Morning.  It’s gonna be a rumble.

If there’s one type of toy that every one of them loooooved it was Playmobil.  And each kid used the sets in their own unique way.

Boywonder set up the fort with the soldiers and Indians and horses in tableaus of impending horror.  At that point right before the bloodshed began.  A raised tomahawk.  A gun across a saddle.  Later he added prospectors off in a gully, the stagecoach racing for the fort.  He set the scene around his room and then we all tiptoed among the frozen story for weeks, until it was time to nestle each piece back in the box.

Bottled Lightning told me (after she had grown up) that she almost fainted when Santa brought her dollhouse when she was five.  With joy, I’m guessing.  Her method of  “play”–if you can call it that–was to set everything up where it belonged.  Beds in bedrooms.  Table and chairs in dining room, knives forks and spoons in correct drawers, etc.  Like an inventory.  NO ONE WAS TO TOUCH A THING.  EVERYTHING WAS WHERE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AND GOD HELP THE CHILD THAT CAME TO THE HOUSE AND WANTED TO–GASP–PLAY! WITH THE DOLLHOUSE!!!

Freckles McYoungest came along after Bottled Lightning had outgrown the dollhouse.  Bottled Lightning was persuaded to let her little sister borrow it, after being appropriately bribed.  Freckles had those little jointed figures running and riding in the car and sleeping on the roof.  They flew on the carpets, baked dinner for Indians, (who visited from the fort one day, for God’s sake, don’t tell Boywonder,) and held extremely animated conversations.  They changed their aprons and hats.  The mom became the maid.  (Wonder where she got that idea.)  The dog talked.  Or barked.  Or sang.  (And often had to poop.  Loudly.)

So thank you, Hans Beck.  I think you helped me raise an engineer, a statistician, and a storyteller.

Rest in Peace.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on March 4, 2009, in oddities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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