Austin Toy Box

Edward makes the Austin Toy Box special

His name is Edward, and he’s awesome. He was sitting outside of his East Austin house (which I’ve dubbed the Austin Toy Box) when I happened to ride by on a lazy Monday afternoon. He works the graveyard shift at the local newspaper, delivering news to those who still enjoy the tactile experience of reading the daily printed edition. He is friendly, welcoming, and talkative. He’s part of what makes Austin so great.

In the beginning

Before the time of instant digital development, Edward used to take pictures with his Rebel camera. As I chatted with him, his excitement for capturing the less-appreciated, yet most important in-between moments during lifecycle events was palpable. You know those moments — the loving smile between newlyweds, the gaze of a father towards his child, or the subtle grin of a 90-year-old during her birthday party. It reminded me of how much I enjoy capturing those subtleties.

He mentioned one particular moment. It was one of the last he spent with his mother. He took a picture of her, had it developed quickly, and brought back two prints. One for him, and one for her. He asked her to sign it. She signed the first print on the back. Then he asked her to sign the second on the front of the picture, like a celebrity. She reluctantly agreed. He cherishes that moment and picture to this day. He’s especially proud because he managed to get a shot that his sister (who started taking photos before him) didn’t get. It seems he likes a good challenge.

The Austin Toy Box

Celebrities have visited, as have newspapers and city inspectors. Some that are in the know have found their way there during SXSW. Edward isn’t always around, but enjoys the attention his Austin Toy Box brings. His family has lived on the same corner for four generations, and he’s happy to continue to call the place home. In the front yard, you’ll find old toy bikes and cars, old metal dump trucks, piles of beer cans, and what he calls, “ankle biters”. Those are the chihuahuas that will bite you if you trespass too far into the yard. They looked sweet, but he assured me they can be ferocious if provoked.

The Toy Box isn’t a tourist attraction. It’s just a guy’s house, who loves to collect toys, and spend time sitting outside with his friends after work. If you happen to visit, be respectful. This guy is what I call, “one of the good ones”. He’s an Austin original, and hopefully even gentrification won’t change that.

Originally published at The Ramblin’ Geek.

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