LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's never too late for a dream to come true. Just ask Charlie Thompson.
"The name of my business is Charlie's Dream and I know it's an odd name but it really describes what it is to me," Thompson said.
About 40 years ago, the Little Rock native moved to Mountain View -- where he tried to make a living making toys.
"That helped us make end's meet but the ends did not meet very well," Thompson said with a smile.
At that point, Thompson got what he calls a 'grown-up job', never losing sight of his life's passion.
"I worked in factories for the last 40-something years and every night, practically, I would dream or think while I was working 'I could be doing something more than what I was doing,'" he said.
Thompson retired in June, and that's when his dream became reality once again.
"I'm able to do this more on a full-time basis and I'm having a ball," Thompson said from his garage workshop. "There's no doubt about it."
Inside his garage, Thompson handcrafts timeless treasures.
His work includes walking ducks and gators, crossbows that shoot marshmallows, nativity scenes and Noah's Ark playsets. However, Charlie's favorite toy is the one that launched his dream -- a rainbow.
"When you see a rainbow you have certain thoughts and feelings that happen. I always have certain feelings that happen when I see a rainbow after a storm."
Once the toys leave his shop, Charlie hopes they spark feelings of imagination and creativity within their owners.
"The thing about wooden toys, they don't destroy imagination. Children can do whatever they want to do with them. It's not like a video game or something that does all the thinking for you," he said.
He hopes they also inspire dreams, much like the one he's held onto for decades.
"If you have a dream, never give up on it. Never give up on it," he said.
Places where you can find Charlie's toys:
- Arkansas Arts Center - Little Rock
- MOXY Modern Mercantile - Little Rock
- Clinton Presidential Center - Little Rock
- The Freckled Frog - Little Rock
- Box Turtle - Little Rock
- All Things Arkansas - Hot Springs
- Terry's Looking Glass - Eureka Springs
For more information on Charlie's Dream, you can visit his Facebook page.