Always Real, Makes Me Sigh, Snips And Snails

Magoo Car

Is it not true that you can drive through nearly any neighborhood in the country and spot one of these in someone’s front yard?


This is ours.  It’s a vintage model.  We call it a Magoo Car.



Sean’s Godmother Gigi bought it at a garage sale for her kids.  Her kids are grown now and have children of their own.  Even Gigi’s grandchildren have outgrown it, so a few years ago, when we were at her house in East Texas, Sean fell in love with it and Gigi let us “borrow” it.


Like all kids, Sean loves that little car.  And I love that Sean loves that little car. I have loved watching him play with that little car, putting gas in the little car, washing the little car with the garden hose, turning it upside down and working on the engine of that little car.


But now I’m ready for the Magoo car to bring joy to another family. I’m tired of looking at the Magoo car and want to reclaim the space that it occupies on my patio — especially now that Sean has outgrown it.  These days, he can barely wedge his skinny daddy long legs into the drivers seat, yet he can’t bear the thought of parting with it.


Anytime I mention that it might be time to return the Magoo car to Gigi, this suggestion is met with a powerful argument:  No.


Several weeks ago, we returned from vacation around midnight and found the Magoo car sitting at the entrance to the neighborhood, about two blocks from our house.  Under the shallow gray circle of light from the streetlamp, it looked like a sad old dog, waiting for its owner to return.  No telling how long the little car had been parked on the side of the road, suffering the sun and rain and curious stares from all the neighbors.


The last I had seen the car, it was parked behind the house near the garage.  Had someone taken it out for a joy ride and then abandoned it?  Or had the wind driven it down the driveway and pushed it along the street?  Or having noticed that we were leaving, maybe it tried to follow us, finally giving up exhausted after two blocks.  Or maybe — maybe it was searching for Gigi, trying to make its way back to East Texas.  I don’t know, but isn’t it fun to anthropomorphize? 


When we saw it, we wondered how long it had been sitting at the entrance of the neighborhood or why no one had claimed it.  But then again, who would want a 30-year-old Magoo car with two broken wheels and no gas cap?  Then I remembered who:  The long-legged little boy sleeping in the backseat who is in love with that old sun-faded high-miler jalopy. That’s who.


So after a long day of driving, we pulled in the driveway, gingerly pulled the little boy from his car seat and tucked him in his bed bothering only to take off his shoes.


And then AD walked back down the street and brought the little car home and parked it on my patio.


The next morning, when I looked out my back windows and saw that Magoo car occupying space on my patio, I realized that I didn’t really mind.  I didn’t really mind at all.


* * * * *


The people at Graco like me!


35 thoughts on “Magoo Car

  1. My boys loved their Magoo car with all their heart and souls as well. Strangely, I don’t even know what happened to that car. We must have given it to somebody, but I can’t think whom.

    These days they are preoccupied with vintage muscle cars. I think it will be a long time before *that* longing is fulfilled.

  2. We have one too! It was actually passed down from 2 other families – it’s gotta be like 15 years old by now. I might have to start using it if gas prices continue this way. Today’s models have convertibles, real engines, MP3 player plug ins and say Bratz or something stupid like that. I love our Fred Flintstone car….that’s what we call it.

  3. My son (who’s 5) is still attached to his Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer (you know, those ride-on toys for kids 9-36 months old). I must be too, because I can’t seem to part with it.

  4. So you would understand why I, an almost-64-year-old grandmother, cherish and keep the baby crib both my babies slept in, and the first blankets and quilts used on them, and the dolls they played with. Wouldn’t you?

  5. There was also a miniature Magoo car that went with the Little Tykes doll house. About three years ago we drug all of that stuff out to sell at a yard sale and it sat there for a bit; I looked at my husband and he looked at me and we quietly put it all away. Our daughters didn’t care a bit, but we couldn’t part with the tiny Magoo car or the the bitty turtle sandbox!

  6. SOmehow I am 3 days behind on your posts and so I just caught up. I just want to take a moment to say that your writing is absolutely fantastic. Thank you for that.

  7. We had a well-loved Magoo car. I don’t remember who handed it down to us and I don’t remember to whom we passed it. But I do remember the races up and down the driveway. I remember the puppies who went for rides in it. I remember the too long legs that tried to squeeze in it one last time. The car washes. The so many fun times. Who would have thought that hunk of blow-molded plastic would mean so much to childhood?

  8. My two now-20-something daughters loved that car too.

    When they outgrew it, the neighbor across the street asked if she could use if for her day-care kids. Sure!

    Her day-care kids grew out of it and one day she gave it back. Yikes! I didn’t really want it back. But my then-7-year-old wanted it to give our very obnoxious frog puppet driving lessons in it. So it came home again for a few years.

  9. I had the same argument with my girls today over a small toy truck they never play with anymore. Furthermore, I will not believe you in the future should you try to claim some sort of loss of brain cells due to momminess as long as you’re using words like “anthropomorphize”. I mean really now. Anthropomorphize? Was the 5 bottles of ketchup a hoax for the sake of blog fodder? Goodness sakes, girl! 😉

  10. I love this post. Jensen has longed for a Magoo Car. He spent many hours coveting the one he spotted at the church nursery, two years ago.

    And you know what else I love? I have a friend who uses the word “anthropomorphize.” (Sarah made me laugh.) Oh, and off topic, if you outweigh me by 10 pounds skinny girl, I’ll wear my underwear on my head for an entire day.

  11. Now let’e be fair – how many items of clothing do we have in our closets that either don’t fit or are now very ugly but have some memory attached, and we’re just not going to part with? Same thing.

  12. Anthropomorphize away!! I can totally imagine that little car doing and feeling all of those human things. Yes, we too had a “classic” version of that little car that we received as a hand-me-down and then, three Munchkins later, hand-me-downed it to another family!

  13. We had one of these cars too – they’re great!

    Anthropomorphize? Oh dear, I fear that I have just discovered that I am too dumb to be reading your blog! Ha ha! 🙂

  14. My boy is like that with his things too, never wanting to get rid of them. But I’ve found if I am patient, he’ll usually decide on his own when it’s time to give something away, not all that long after I suggested it.

  15. We had a Magoo Car when the kids were little. It’s hard to remember that they were once little enough to fit behind the wheel. Sigh.

    We got it at a garage sale and ended up selling it at our garage sale when we had to move.

    I still have my pictures of it with my kids “driving”. Precious.

  16. Fiddledeedee: I think your underwear should stay safely in your drawer. AM is tiny!

    AM, I consider myself pretty smart, but when I saw anthropomorphize, I realized how quickly you would kick my butt in Scrabble and crossword puzzles. I’ve GOT to get back on

  17. We have a green and yellow Magoo parked in our backyard right now.

    It’s such a classic fixture of American suburban childhood. And they are built so well that they can be passed around from neighbor to neighbor, generation to generation. Ours came from a neighbor who no longer needed it.

    I wonder if Little Tykes actually SELLS any of the things, since they are passed around so much?

  18. Argggh. The bane of my existence is that everything comes to life in my mind. The thought of that poor little Magoo car trying to follow you nearly had me in tears. My first car sits in our driveway…not being used…because it was such a faithful, hard-working car. That’s me. Loyal to a fault.

  19. You’ve just made me come face to face again with one of my worst mothering mistakes: with 8 kids spread out over 19 years, I tend to forget that just because I bought a particular toy once, it does not mean that we still have it. My oldest son had one of these cars, which disappeared many years ago. I needed to wake up and realize that my little ones don’t have a car like this.

    I’m sure I’ve had kids who’ve missed out on vital childhood experiences, like owning a bucket full of Hot Wheels, just because I don’t buy more, thinking we still have them.

  20. You know, we have several toys at our house that I have thinking it was time to send to some other little boy or girl. However, now that I’ve read this post, I think I’ve had a change of heart. If my kiddos love it still, then really, why can’t it stay at our house a bit longer?

    Thanks for a new perspective!

  21. Oh,yes ma’am we have that car. We have a steep driveway so it gets driven most of the time on our large wrap-around deck. It goes to Starbucks, Tar-git, cee-vee-eth, and the doctor every single day. I love that car as much as my little boy does.

  22. Sigh — another sweet post. We have one of those too, a golf cart in honor of my dad’s love for golf. Luckily we have storage space in the basement for those few toys we can’t bear to part with.

    I once heard that the Cozy Coupe is the top selling car in America.

  23. I had never really given thought to the resemblance of that Little Tyke car and Magoo’s car, but it really does look like Magoo’s!

    I can’t even remember what became our our Magoo car, not having been used in over 20 years. I remember my kids peddling around in it, though, pretending to be grown ups, driving their own cars…and now they are.

  24. We, of course, had that exact same make and model . . . we were the 5th family to own it. It FINALLY, with no working wheels, no gas cap, and a broken support for the roof, went to the Magoo Car Junkyard in a land far far away. My kids were OK with it – because they got to see it put into the back of the monster green garbage truck and squished, which is apparently as fascinating as the little car was 😉

  25. Yes, someday you will wish for the Magoo car and other toys to take up space again, but sadly, they will be long gone.

    At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as I fall over hard plastic toys in the bathtub each day.

  26. We have the same car but we call it the Fred Flinstone Mobile.

    My parents bought it for my son at a flea market. The gas cap was cracked and it was fading but both my kids loved it. We still have it.

    For some reason, I can’t bear to part with it. I guess saying good bye to that car will be like acknowledging that my children’s toddler-hood is over. Even though it has long since passed, I can’t bear the thought that it is gone, that my toddlers are gone, that my preschoolers are almost gone.

  27. We have one of those two. It’s been working and working for almost 8 years now. My son, the original owner, used to wash it and take such good care of it! Now, his little brother and two sisters fight over it as it were an Austin Martin. But I never want to part with it. It’s been such a big part of our lives!!!!

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