A fine layer of dust covers thousands of figurines spread throughout Hardin “Sonny” Hatfield’s Glendale home.
The toys, many he made himself, bring joy to Sonny, who has battled depression for years, said his daughter, Angela Carter, who owns a photography studio in Glendale.
The figurines, most of them wood or tin, cover countertops and fill cabinets. Each one has a story, and Sonny knows them all.
For 15 years, he has made toys by hand. His favorite subjects are characters from Mickey Mouse and Popeye cartoons.
“I timed myself once,” Sonny says of his whittling speed. He can take a piece of wood from a walnut tree and carve it into a small figurine in 20 minutes. Larger pieces take a few days.
Sonny smiles as he picks up each trinket. Many are familiar characters.
Sonny has a story for every model train and every children’s book. Post-World War II toys from Allied-occupied Japan are a favorite part of his collection, he said.
Sonny’s wife died about three years ago. Dust has since become a constant presence. “That’s one thing I’ve got a lot of,” he said.
Sonny spends most of his days among his toys. When he ventures out, he spends mornings spinning yarns with friends while eating scrambled eggs and drinking coffee at Brooks General Store and Cafe in Sonora.
“I don’t like to eat alone,” Sonny said. “It’s just better when you have someone to talk with.”
Sonny died the following year.