April 4, 2010
On Hatteberg’s People, for 40 years, Bob Jacob of Bentley has been collecting toys. He’s not exactly a kid any more but then again, maybe he is.
“I enjoy going to my shop every day and looking at my toys, I really do,” Jacob said.
In Bentley, Kansas the smell of spring heralds warmer days and that means Bob Jacob’s golf cart gets a workout as he heads to his workshop full of toys to be fixed.
“I built that when I moved here. It’s an awful nice little garage. I insulated it, got a little heat in it,” Jacob said
He may be older, but Bob is basically still a kid.
“It keeps me young Larry, and I really enjoy it. I might leave it like that. Sometimes toys are better in the rough,” Jacob said.
His workshop is a bit eclectic; some might say a little bit of a mess.
“Some people call it junk, I don’t mind. To me, its stuff you can use, you know. Yeah, this is a good day to play with toys. I’ve been waiting on it all spring. Maybe it’s here,” Jacob said.
We’ll go to his garage where he put on display much of his toy collection. It’s certainly worth the visit.
“A lot of guys go to bars and have a drink and spend the money I’ve got in toys. I’ve got something solid left, and they don’t,” Jacob said.
In his garage, just for me, he put on display many of his favorites. Each one has a story, each one gently loved by the man who never grew up.
“I’ll have to spend probably a week before I get it all done,” Jacob said.
He repairs the broken toys, builds some from scratch, but each one he won’t trade, because he remembers his childhood.
“Never had any when I was a kid. My brother and I played with corncobs and anything we could find and we appreciate toys today. I probably have 1,500 of them. I haven’t counted them, but between the little ones and the big ones it could be close to 2,000 you know. I’m doing what I like to do,” Jacob said.
The back ends of these sprayers are made from coffee cans – almost any toy can be recreated and Bob has become an expert.
“I made a Case International Swather from scratch,” Jacob said. “I probably work on these three weeks.”
Working in the world of custom combining for years, the ‘farm’ toys are his favorite, but every toy is special for a man whose eyes may be aging but whose spirit is still playing in a sandbox.
“You know I’m gaining, I’m not losing. I’m 81 years old and I know people who don’t have a hobby and I feel sorry for them. It just makes you stay younger, I’m sure,” Jacob said.