is the inside of our second store at Universal
City Walk, Outside of Hollywood's Universal
In 1980, when I lived in Bayside, New York, I rescued
a small wooden rocking horse from a barrel of marked
down music boxes and toys. It was a musical horse that
had been over-wound and no longer worked. The white
paint on the horse was streaked and looked old. The
saddle was painted a dull red with a small curled rope
tail and his tiny stirrup and ears were made of black
leather. It was perched on faded red rockers and couldn’t
have been more than nine inches by six inches high.
I turned it over. The price was a whopping two dollars.
It could have easily passed for an antique.
in the world would you want a broken down horse?”
my husband asked.
In spite of its chipped and shabby state, it looked
like a proud thoroughbred. “I’m taking
Since I was a compulsive shopper of ‘chachkis’
(knick knacks), my husband knew he was getting off
cheap. We took my new acquisition home. I sat him
on the wood floor directly under our stereo. My rocking
horse was right at home. I loved looking at him. On
a Sunday afternoon, five years later, my husband and
I were sitting on the small balcony of our apartment
overlooking the bay, dotted with bobbing sailboats,
and enjoying a lunch of bagels and lox when a harsh
grinding sound came from the living room, jolting
the quiet afternoon.
wrong with the stereo?” I asked.
stereo’s not on,” my husband said.
The irritating sound continued. We followed the noise
and ended up in front of the stereo. It was coming
from the floor where the horse stood. After a few
minutes, the grinding stopped. My husband picked up
the horse and examined it. For fear of over winding
it again, he slowly and carefully tried the key attached
to the music box. He returned it to the floor. It
started rocking, playing the haunting music of ‘Waltzing
Matilda’. My stallion turned into a mare, Matilda.
I sat down on the floor and surveyed this smug little
could you unwind by yourself? Why did you remain silent
My husband smiled and reminded me that our son, Jody
was opening ‘The Wound & Wound Toy’
store at the same moment in Los Angeles. Matilda unwound
herself at two o’clock in New York, it was eleven
o’clock Los Angeles time.
Serendipity, coincidence? I looked at my dear rocking
horse. Never at a loss for words, I was speechless.
“Let’s send Matilda to Jody.”
Our grinning little mascot sat on the top shelf of
the store looking down on the laughing grown-ups who
remembered their childhood toys with nostalgia. Giggling
like children, the adults were a joy to watch as they
played with the toys. Now, sadly, after twenty years
of fun, friendship and good will, The Wound &
Wound Toy Co., a Melrose Avenue landmark, is bidding
a bittersweet good-bye to neighbors and customers.
Her work completed, Matilda comes home. I sit in the
living room looking at my rocking horse. “When
I plucked you out of that barrel in New York, I had
no way of knowing that we would open a toy business,
that we’d relocate to California, and for the
next twenty years you’d stand watch over us;
that you and I would retire to our tree house in the
How’d you know?”
ethel bluefield golub