Spring, 1994:

We were in her brother's old bedroom, bored and rummaging through his dresser drawers, when something caught my eye. It was a piece of a toy. I wasn't sure, but it looked familiar. More rummaging, more pieces. Yes, it was.

"It's a Zoid!"

"A what?"

"A Zoid! It was this Japanese windup robot that you put together. They had this little chrome guy who rode in the cockpit. I loved them. I must have it!"

I kept rummaging through the drawer and eventually found most of the pieces. I was missing a hand, and its head (the cockpit). After a few minutes of fiddling with the pieces I was able to assemble it. After that, I was done for.

When I was a kid, I had a bunch of these. They were all smallish, blue and gray, and looked like robot dinosaur skeletons. You had to put them together. That's what sealed it for me. At that age I loved taking things apart. With these, I would take them all apart, put all the pieces in a big pile in the middle of the room, and then get to work.

Good times...

I remember once in high school having the above flashback. At the time that was both my earliest and happiest memory. What happened to all those toys? Then it passed, and I forgot all about it for years.

When I found the pieces of that toy, I started having even more flashbacks. It also started affecting my dreams. I would start having dreams where I'd be walking down some street, when something on the ground would catch my eye. It would be the two missing pieces! I would be so excited. And then I'd wake up...

This went on for months.

The Happy Ending:

The next year everyone went online and so did I. Like, all the time. It wasn't long before I found more Zoids than I even knew existed. I even got enough spare parts to complete that first one—the one that started this whole obsession.