Irena was a well-travelled, warm-hearted and generous-spirited woman. Most of the days she was busy running her pharmacy but as well she took part in local events and enterprises, wrote publications and visited friends and relatives scattered around Europe.
Once I asked my grandmother Irena to bring me a horse for my Barbie doll from her trip to Paris. Little did she know about the latest toy crazes, and in fact, I could only keep up with the trends by flicking through the colourful toy catalogue and window shopping at Pewex and Baltona stores. I could not wait for her to come back and once she did, I excitedly and impatiently ripped open the present. Well, that was a surprise.
The horse was pink, and winged and much too small for Barbie. How could she possibly ride on it? It was more like a fairyland pet and it became clear Barbie will not be a jockey, at least not for a while. Anyway, I put my loveliest smile on and pretended it was the best gift ever. The pony was placed on the highest shelf, while the room turned into Barbie world again. I decided I might play with the odd pink horsie some other day.
This day came a few weeks later when my next-door friends came home for their summer holidays. As usual they would show me the hottest toys they brought back with them and as usual my eyes would sparkle and I would go: “Wow. Let’s play with them!” And we would all share and play happily for hours, and days. Well, actually, this time was different. I did not go “wow”. Why would I get excited about a pony that I already had and that stood unplayed on my – highest – shelf. On second thoughts, I decided to give her a second chance. I rushed back home to bring her for a little pony play date. We played until dusk came and my mum literally dragged my out from the neighbours’ house. This night I slept with my little North Star resting graciously on the top of the pillow.
The next day we played with the ponies. And the next day. And the next day. All through the summer. The girls filled me in all about My Little Pony land. The cutie mark that was supposed to be the pony’s name. The whole world of fashionable accessories. The baby ponies, that were the most adorable. Every day looked excitedly the same. Brushing the manes and the tails. Dressing the ponies up. Playing out pony family adventures.
A few years went by and the ponies eventually got packed in a box destined to be stored and waiting for the next generation to play with them. When my daughter, Natasha, got her first pony for her third birthday it was time to get the old generation of ponies meet the new one.
Our Little Pony family grew and grew. Some ponies came pristine from the shop smelling of new plastic, some were found at charity shops or brocante adopted and nursed. One came directly from the North Pole. They changed over the years. Their sizes differ. The hair got longer and the eyes and ears got bigger. They turn their heads now and the cutie mark is on one side only . But they are still being played for hours, and days.