Behold…the 1979 Lego Alpha-1 Rocket base.
This was the birthday gift I woke up to on a crisp fall day in 1980. I got to open this gift before school, which was an awesome way to start the day (although that did mean I had to wait all day to play with it). I remember marveling over the tiny faucets. I had had a few multi-colored generic lego sets before, the kind the come with flowers and windows with shutters. But until the alpha-1, legos were only an acceptable way to pass the time. Space legos, well that was a different story. Space legos rocked my world! They drew upon so much of what was exciting in my universe—the moon, space ships, astronauts, exploration. More than just a box of bricks, space legos were like an engine of creativity, waiting to be assembled and recombined in new and unique ways. The pieces were elements that just begged to be incorporated into a story—computers, wrenches, hoses, steering wheels, walkie-talkies, radar dishes, helmets, and oxygen tanks (which added a level of realism that was probably lacking in every other toy I had). This one set opened the door to creating my own world, and the many many sets the followed only expanded that universe. Whatever I imagined could be. And now as I finish up a novel I think that in so many ways I am still just creating new worlds so that I can play in them.
More lego nostalgia can be found here.