Category Archives: The My Little Pony Project

My Little Pony Project: Blowing My Wad

It may not surprise you to know that I got bored with the whole pony-by-pony indexing of what turned out only to be HALF my whole collection. There are only so many memories and stupid stories to go around, and I didn’t want my entire blog to get hijacked by nostalgia that is interesting only to me.

So, I decided to have a little more wacky fun with it. The other weekend, in the midst of cleaning out the closets in my office, I dragged out the giant box, dusted off the toys, dressed them up, and photographed them in stupid scenarios — and then shipped most of them off to Goodwill so that a kid who really, truly needs some toys can appreciate them in a way I can’t any more. Full disclosure: I did save a small handful in case I ever have a girl, or a really horse-obsessed boy, but otherwise I gave myself one last afternoon of goofy with them before saying goodbye for good.

My tools: Several costumes, a dilapidated Dream Castle, a faded and janky Grooming Parlour, several baby-pony carriages, a stripper pole (not generally recommended for use with My Little Pony), and about 30 plastic animals with gnarled hair.

This photo has the makings of an orgy, doesn’t it? So sweet. And I DID pair off my ponies and assign genders to them, so they could sleep with their heads interlocked — you know, like human couples do.

First, I set up what was left of the Dream Castle. Life has been unkind to this storied pink edifice:

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Pony Project #4: Skydancer

As is typical, I don't remember too much of when or how I came to own Skydancer here.

She was apparently very well utilized, though. And probably also a boy. I vaguely recall deciding most of my Pegasus ponies were male, because… I don't know, flying around the sky on wee little wings is so butch? No idea. Once I unearth the rest of them — which will entail taking the giant cardboard box out of my closet, rather than just reaching in and photographing whichever pony comes out — maybe some concrete memories will emerge. But for now, all I can note is that the rainbow ponies, or the ponies with special hair of any kind, were generally my favorites. I loved rainbows. They were pretty, and so very easy to draw for an artistically challenged child like me. Rainbows, stick people, unintentionally disfigured-looking horses, and — when I was four — Snoopy's doghouse. That is my entire repertoire.

Project Pony: #3

Meet Bubbles and Seashell.

I didn’t get these two at the same time, but I believe it was one after the other — Bubbles up there on the left (as if you couldn’t guess by her rump) came first, followed by Seashell, who I think arrived in my Easter basket one year. My mother rocked.

These ponies always seemed so cute to me, because they were sitting down all beseechingly and had the white diamond on their faces. Every horse I ever drew at that age — and there were a LOT; later on, in my fifth grade class, we had to create a comic strip and mine was about a horse named Garfunkel, and for the record, it was AWFUL, because I can’t draw or write jokes — had either a white diamond or a white strip down its nose.

But as my pony collection expanded and I started deciding to pair them off romantically, I gender-changed one of these ponies so they could be a couple. I can’t remember which one, but I believe I made Bubbles the doddering old stallion and Seashell was the mare. And yes, I also made them old-fogey horses, which is totally unfair and probably stemmed from how they were sitting down, because CLEARLY, only OLD THINGS sit down all the time. So they became the sages of the neighborhood.

It occurs to me that in all this time I played with My Little Pony toys, I never actually NAMED the neighborhood. What an oversight.

Project My Little Pony: No. 2

At one point when I was roommates with Lauren, my mother sent me a box of knick-knacks from my old room in Sarasota — well, more accurately, the room at their house where my stuff went. It was mostly enamel boxes, a picture frame I never filled, and my old class photo, Grad photo, and the big school photo in the ravine from my Grade 12 year. You know — standard bits and pieces I wasn’t sure I needed, but she didn’t need them either, and it was her polite way of saying, "Hey, maybe if you don’t need these any more, then WE don’t need these any more!" Of course, she was also giving me a chance to reminisce about high school with alternating horror and fondness. I kept the pictures.

She also threw in a random My Little Pony that she grabbed from the box — in its way, a precursor to me doing this, I suppose — and it’s kicked around my house ever since. That pony is Cascade.

I wish I’d documented her condition when she arrived to me those
five years ago, because I am now not entirely sure how much of her
current coif is because of childhood shenanigans and how much is
because she’s been sitting inside a compartment in one of my end tables
through at least one, if not two, moves. However, that is some spectacular hair. In many ways it resembles my own bedhead when I have short hair.

That is so stylish.

And THAT is sort of Sideshow Bob in nature.

Her poor tail — it starts out all smooth, but devolves into the
kind of frizz that some curlyheads know all too well. If only My Little
Pony had sold some Mane & Tail product. I probably would have
bought a case of it.

Cascade came with a waterfall playset, a plastic thing with a green base that sort of looked like a meadow, a giant sun, and a rainbow that connected the base to the fluffy white cloud overhead — which doubled as a shower. It also provided bubbles so that you could create some froth, and a little orange plastic pal named Duck Soup. Because I lived in England, I got the "International" set, which is not the same as what was available in the U.S. — y’all got a different pony AND a different-looking waterfall.

This basically opened up a whole new world of bathtub fun for me. I had the Sea Ponies — oh, yes, we’ll get to those later — but when I saw there was a pony that came with a WATERFALL and seemed TAILOR-MADE for tubby-time fun, well, it was like someone had turned on a light in a dark room and scrawled on the wall was the phrase, "YES, THAT’S RIGHT, I AM TELLING YOU THAT THEY CAN GET WET! WOOO!" So any pony that didn’t have curly hair or fur or glitter usually ended up taking a swim with me at least once. This may account, in part, for her punk hairdo. The poor thing was always lying down somewhere while she dried.

As for her personality, well, let’s just assume I made Cascade really fun. I mean, the kid had her own waterfall to frolic in — I’m fairly certain that would’ve been popular with the other ponies. I can’t remember if she had a boyfriend, but when we get deeper into all of this maybe something will jog my memory. I will say that I’m not sure how often I played with her when I wasn’t in the tub. The bathroom was her domain, and people had to come to HER. So I’m guessing she WAS popular, actually, given that my bathtub most nights was a glorified stable.

This stuff would give collectors palpitations: "YOU PUT THEM IN THE BATH AND DIDN’T DRY THEM OUT PROPERLY AND LET THEIR HAIR GO ALL OVER THE PLACE OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!?" To which I say, at that age, the idea of keeping them pristine so I could sell them never would’ve occurred to me — it was pre-Internet, pre-eBay, pre-CIVILIZATION — and the idea of PARTING with them was unthinkable. Back then, I suspect I believed I would be the only person in history to bring her pony collection with her to college, because dude, being able to play with them ALL THE TIME and not have to go to BED, are you KIDDING ME WITH THAT PARADISE? AWESOME.

Project My Little Pony: No. 1

There’s a giant box in the closet of my office that contains, I believe, all my My Little Pony toys from when I was little. My mother has kept them for so long because she felt too nostalgic to throw them out despite her every spring-cleaning urge telling her to toss the box in the Goodwill pile. So when my parents drove out my piano and the Bar Billiards table, they brought with them the sacred box.

"Your kids can play with them," mom suggested, helpfully.

Kevin was dubious. And after a while, so was I. Yes, these are allegedly collector’s items, but they’re in terrible condition — I loved the hell out of these ponies and it shows — and so I’m not even sure my kids would want something that’s so, well, USED. So I’m thinking it might be time to part with them myself. There’s a little girl out there somewhere, or maybe 60 little girls considering how many of these horses I have, who needs these toys more than my unborn children do or will. So although the quickest way to make me regret cutting emotional ties with something is for me to make the decision to go through with it, I do suspect it’s time to take the box out, bid its contents farewell, and give them a chance at new owners.

Of course, the goodbyes can be really drawn-out — and so, for all you ladies out there who owned or loved My Little Pony toys the way I did, I’m going to catalog them photographically.

This excited me. I regret not being a real diary-keeper when I was young; I wish I remembered better all the stories Julie made up when we did puzzles together, all the soap operas I created for my toys. So this is my way of reaching into the musty old cardboard box that is my brain and seeing what I can find that resonates. Hopefully I will recall all the little details I never put to paper, or remember what personality I ascribed to each Pony and/or why each one ended up looking the way it does. I decided to start with the very first one I found.

So naturally, this is what I got: a pony I don’t remember at all. Not even a little. And I have a great memory for stuff — I can tell you the first six ponies I ever got, in order — but I had NO IDEA what this one’s name is, when I acquired it, nothing. No clue why it is wearing legwarmers. And no great backstory for her. Even she seems sort of doleful about it, like, "Yeah, thanks a LOT. You keep me in a box for 20 years and then you act like you’ve never seen me before? NICE."

Some research online tells me her name is Sundance, and that now completely rings a bell. Apparently she came with a girl called Megan, but I have absolutely no recollection of ever owning Megan. Maybe she’s buried in the box somewhere and I will pull her out in three weeks and think, "Huh, okay. I guess." The more I look at it, the more I suspect Sundance was a bit of a goody two-shoes. I am sure all the ponies I made into boys loved her terribly, because of her pretty curly hair and her blue eyes. I clearly liked her, because her entire hindquarters are smudged with the dirt you can only build up through the adoring hands of your owner. There’s even grime on her ear. I wonder if she was an ear slut.

My bet is, she wooed everyone with her amazing dancing, since rubber ponies are so naturally graceful. Or maybe she was a snooty bitch pony. I sort of hope it was the latter, because as I was taking her picture, I noticed that time and smooshing and her cardboard prison have made her hair eerily reminisce of The Great Joan Collins:

I should probably just DECIDE that she was a husband-stealing drama queen who liked to stalk into people’s trials and drop informational bombs, or throw martinis into people’s faces.

Poor Sundance. She deserved better from my memory. It makes me wonder whether I’ll be able to dig up anything for these ponies at all. Given that my young imagination was not so refined, I’m sure I’ll have 30 entries that go, "This pony was mean. I don’t know why," and then 30 more that say, "This pony was a boy. I don’t know why."

But guess what? We’re all totally going to find out, even if it’s unreadable. Sometimes memory lane is a boring place to be, but I’m going to head down the path anyway and see where it goes.