The only remaining Tonka toy truck that I have from my childhood. I had sold my entire collection of well over a dozen of my Tonka toy trucks, to continue publishing the old Lincoln Park Journal back in the summer of 1987.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
At the dawn of 1987, I thought that I was on top of the world. I had a great job, working for a major manufacturer of orthopedic implants. I wrote and edited their product catalogues. I also served as the editor of their company newsletter. At the same time, I was publishing the Lincoln Park Journal, a weekly newspaper that covered the scene of the small town of Lincoln Park. It was a magical time. It was a wonderful time. It was a time of little sleep and hard, hard work.
I wrote many articles for LPJ at my desk in my bedroom of the old Mabey Homestead. My loyal cat, Little One, would practically always stay by side as I wrote, rewrote, edited and rewrote again, the articles and stories that appeared in the pages of LPJ.
In the beginning of June of 1987, the printing company that I used, increased the price of printing my newspaper. I had lost a couple of regular advertisers, who were now putting their advertising budget into cable television. I was at my wit’s end as to what to do. I just didn’t have the money to keep publishing the Lincoln Park Journal. My little town weekly newspaper was near and dear to my heart. The thought of discontinuing the publication of the journal, was breaking my heart.
In the basement of the old Mabey Homestead, I had this collection of old Tonka toy trucks that I had from way back when I was a little boy. I always took very good care of the Tonka toy trucks. I guess it was when I was in about the sixth grade that Dad and I built two bookshelves to display my collection of old Tonka toy trucks. I had well over a dozen of old Tonka toy trucks.
Publishing the Lincoln Park Journal was something that was near and dear to my heart.
I was lost as to what to do. I did not want to take out a bank loan. But, I wanted so very much to keep on publishing the Lincoln Park Journal. I could not imagine life without publishing LPJ. Then, one day, while I was down in the basement, I took a good hard look at my collection of Tonka toy trucks.
Well, the light went on over my head, like in those old MGM cartoons. An idea came to my mind, that if I sold my collection of Tonka toy trucks, I could possibly make enough money on them to keep publishing LPJ. That night, I remember that I tossed and turned all night. There was this conflict swirling in my heart and in my mind, as to whether or not I should sell my old Tonka toys. Some of them I had gotten when I was only a very little boy.
The old Green Giant tractor trailer truck was one of the large metal trucks that I sold to keep Lincoln Park Journal alive and well. I had gotten the Green Giant truck in the Christmas of 1955. I was two years old at the time.
I sold my entire collection of Tonka toy trucks in the latter part of June of 1987. I sold them at a large auction house located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As painful as it was, I did sit through that very auction. My dad came with me that day. My old Tonka toy truck set sold for a little over 700 hundred dollars. I was sad to say goodbye to my Tonka toy trucks, but alas, I was able to continue publishing my small town newspaper. It was something that was very important to me.
Life is tough. At times it’s very tough. I learned so very much from publishing Lincoln Park Journal. With all respect to our educational system here in America, the truth of the matter is that I learned more about journalism from publishing LPJ than I ever did from any writing course that I had ever taken.
After I had sold my collection of Tonka toy trucks, I felt a bit sad. But I knew deep in my heart that my sacrifice had served a purpose. My old hometown continued to have a town weekly newspaper and I grew, by leaps and bounds, to become a better writer.