Sunday, July 24, 2005

Transformers ... Take on a New Life

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It came to my attention recently that Steven Spielberg, who seems to have his hand in every pie in Hollywood, will be the executive producer of an upcoming movie based on the Transformers animated TV show, and Transformers toys.

These are exactly as named: robots who, when you twist and turn their body parts, become other objects -- eg. hiding behind the belly of a large robot might be a fire engine or a driver's head in a race car. It allows for hours of fun for young children and some adults, as well.

My oldest son, now 10, has had a few of these in his possession, and once in a while when I'd be scouring in his toy collection for something else, perhaps a missing Legos piece, I'd find a small Transformer. I'd sit there -- transfixed! -- as I'd make discoveries within this toy while manipulating it.

When I read today about the upcoming movie, I couldn't help but be reminded of a post I read late last summer on Seraphic Secret. Robert Avrech had talked about hosting Shabbat guests who were there for a Shabbaton, and how they'd been attracted to Robert's Emmy Award, as well as to the collection of Transformers that Ariel's room housed. He and Karen were somehow torn, feeling the need to perhaps let one of the Shabbaton's participants take one of the toys away with him, yet wanting to maintain their precious memories of their son and the collection he was so fond of, therefore not parting with them.

When I was in L.A. last month, I asked Robert if I could see Ariel's room; he gladly showed it to me and I saw all the seforim and all the young boy's and young adult's personal interests displayed, including the beloved Transformers.

Robert and Karen's sweet, young nephew, Yoni, visiting from Israel, had played with Ariel's Transformers throughout Shabbos. He, too, had been transfixed by them and the different personas they took on.

When Shabbos was over, Havdalah was done and extended family members and I were dispersing for the night, I saw Karen ask Yoni if he'd like to have one of the Transformers, telling the boy this particular Transformer's name and letting him know that his cousin Ariel had enjoyed the toy immensely. Robert stood nearby and reiterated that Ariel had a wonderful time playing with these toys.

Yoni's face lit up with this gift, this gift that would travel with the boy from California, to New York and back to Efrat, Israel. This gift that truly had been a gift from the heart.

Transformers... They have a way of transforming people, as well.

12 comments:

cruisin-mom said...

just felt my heart melt with that story. Thanks Pearl
Randi

Doctor Bean said...
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Stacey said...

That is beautiful. I'm sure Yoni will treasure that special transformer always.

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

There's a concept that a person's belongings are a deep reflection of them, deeply connected. This is why Hashem takes out his anger on the stones and wood of our Temple instead of punishing us - it's deeply connected to us. This is why Yaakov went back and ended up risking his life for some small vessels, because there was a deep connection...

PsychoToddler said...

My kids played with the same Matchbox cars I had as a kid. It's really something to see.

Air Time said...

Pearl - When I am looking for a "nice" blog i always come here. Great post.

Chaim said...

Pearl, really excellent post. Very touching.

I grew up during the 80's and I had my own transformers. Those were the coolest toys around, Hands down. Whenever a new one came out, everyone would bring it to school and see who figured out how to transform them first. (some were tricky)

JC said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. I love that blog and read it daily as it warms my heart. I think that Ariel must have been in my sons age group as they also had a collection of transformers when they were young. I am not sure if that is Ariels picture on the blog, but he was such a beautiful young man. I think that because of that blog, there are lots of folks who are feeling his loss, even though they didn't know him.
This post was equally heart warming. Thanks again.

torontopearl said...

Thank you so much for your warm and generous comments. I am pleased when I am able to convey heartfelt thoughts; it is extra-special when readers are moved by my words or by the images they evoke.

My mind can't help but make many associations; Spielberg's upcoming Transformers movie made me think of my son...and of course, of Ariel and his parents.

Robert Avrech said...

Karen and I are torn, do we want to keep Ariel's room precisely as it was, as he left it? It's a tremendous temptation. Yet we also realize that on some very basic level it's not a healthy impulse. And so, when our wonderful and genuinely sweet nephew Yoni showed such love and enjoyment for Ariel's Transformer, well, there was no question that the right thing to do was to give it to him. To let this toy sit on the shelf and gather dust would not be right. Ariel ZT"L I am sure would want his cousin to enjoy the Transformer. It is hard to grieve, hard to go on, harder still to enjoy joy. Yet we must do what is right. As always, Pearl your posts are lovely and bring special melodies into our lives for which we are profoundly grateful.

ifuncused said...

So touched by this story.

I too, grew up in the 80's and love the fact that the toys are coming back..and I get to see my kids play with them. They bring back such memories of my childhood.

I like the way Karen explained what the toy is and how much it really means. Robert will now appreciate it much more.

ifuncused said...

Oops I mean Yoni will appreciate it more....