Mystic, Merry Toyland

My father and I are the only members of our family unencumbered by university diplomas. Uncle Jack and Uncle Meyer are both attorneys, as was their sister Rose. But Samuel Reuben never had the motivation to finish college.

“What for?” He must have asked himself. Why be limited to mere academics when there was a whole universe out there of “things” to manipulate and explore.

As the daughter of a man who took money sorely needed for tedious amenities like insurance premiums, mortgage payments and taxes, and used it instead to take out patents on the children of his mind, I say with great pride: My father was an inventor.

Not only did he march to the tune of a different drummer, he reorganized, retooled and reinvented the drum.

And when he was finished, not only was it a better drum, it had become a more interesting one.

One for which he would apply for a patent, inspire others to perceive its pragmatic potency, and just as he was ready to manufacture and market it, whatever it might be, lose interest. Then he would drift towards something else. Something new, about which he could muse, “wouldn’t it be interesting if...”

Or -- “I wonder if I could make…”

Or -- “why hasn’t anyone else ever thought of…”

And, Bing! He got a new idea!

For a new invention!



Samuel Reuben’s world was a merry array of spools, batteries, metal clasps, perforated brass sheets, plugs, dials, gaskets and switches.

Or, as Victor Herbert would say of Toyland:

Childhood’s Joy land,

Mystic, merry Toyland,

While you dwell within it,

You are ever happy then.

Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit

Copyright © 2008, Shelly Reuben.

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