The Road to Happy Days by Stephanie Sadagursky is one of my favorite types of books to read: historical non-fiction that is colorfully written and filled with fascinating and insightful anecdotes. Throughout the book’s 188 pages, Sadagursky vividly recounts her and her husband Paul’s 30-year journey into the world of buying and selling antique and collectible toys.
In 1971, the Sadagursky family uprooted and moved away from the hustle and bustle of the New York City borough of Queens to the suburbs of Long Island. As part of embracing a suburban lifestyle, they discovered the lure of garage sales and quickly made the transition from bargain hunters to vendor.
“Happy Days” is not only a frequent state-of-mind for Sadagursky throughout the book, but also the name of her family business. As her tale unfolds, the Sadagursky family transitions from toy collecting neophytes to seasoned and well-respected veterans of their community. Along the way, readers are introduced to (or perhaps reminded of) a cast of dealers, collectors, and pickers, all of whom are characterized in a tactful and unassuming manner.
Reading Sadursky’s recollections of walking the aisles of Atlantic City, setting up shop in various antique hotbeds in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and travelling abroad gave me a new appreciation for what has often been referred to as the “Golden Age” of toy collecting. While I read the book, I allowed my mind to wander into a way of life that I could only imagine living.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Chronicling a toy collecting journey that spans more than three decades, The Road to Happy Days illustrates that statement in spades.
Discover books, magazines, podcasts, and blogs that celebrate toy history, pop culture, and collecting.