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Toy maker shares fun

Rick Hartman knows what he wants to be when he grows up: a toy maker. No, wait, scratch that - he doesn't want to grow up. He's having too much fun making and playing with toys. That's what makes his job as a toy maker perfect for him.

"It's been kind of a long journey of discovery for me," said Hartman of North Bend.

The journey began with his creativity as a child. Like any child, he loved to play with his toys. But he made toys, too.

"I've always loved the area of invention, toys, playfulness, flirting, discovery," Hartman said. "I remember being fascinated when I was maybe 6, 7 years old and my brother showed me how to turn a little chapstick canister into a pop-gun. You unscrew something, unwind something and turn it into a little pressure device where the top pops up. I still think it's one of the coolest things in the world."

As he got older, he didn't get tired of playing with toys. But he didn't launch into his toy making career right away. First, he went to Brown University where he got a degree in English Literature in 1983. In 1984, he got a job as a reporter in Kodiak, Alaska, where he met his wife, Lee, a fellow reporter. That job lasted until 1986.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of the Valley Record or subscribe by calling (425) 888-2311.

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