• Tamara S. Graham

ISO - Those Rare & Elusive Maileg Mice

Updated: Jan 30

Once upon a time I didn’t even know what "ISO" or "MMARO" stood for. But my love for all things Maileg required me to find out!


"IN SEARCH OF"

~ or ~

"MAKE ME A REASONABLE OFFER"

Early in my collecting of Maileg toy mice, I was made painfully aware that mice can be retired, and very hard to find or afford. I had joined Facebook groups to share my joy and love for these adorable mice, but I never realized it was going to be like having an enabler fueling my addiction!


Superhero where are you...


It was on these group posts that I learned of, and fell in love with, the Maileg superhero mouse. (Do you hear music? Lol) Apparently Maileg made a little brother sized mouse not too long ago that had a lightning bolt on his chest. As soon as I saw it posted on the Facebook groups I fell in love and wanted it to represent my son in my growing mouse family. I had already gotten a little sister ballerina to be my surrogate daughter. This little guy even came with his own little superhero suitcase. (photo shown below with permission from Genevieve Soucy)



I wanted, no I needed, this version of the superhero mouse with the lightning bolt on his chest because my son and I had used that lightning bolt symbol as a discreet way of saying "I love you" on notes in his school lunchbox starting way back in 1991. He would get teased if I signed a note, "Love, Mom". So he came up with the idea to use the lightning bolt as a symbol of love between us. This was long before J.K. Rowling used it to represent love in the Harry Potter series! But then again my son has always been ahead of his time. ⚡️ And we continue using it to this day!

So, I began my search for the elusive little brother superhero lightning dude. (I did not care for the larger size one Maileg was still making.) The only ones I kept finding were missing the cape or the eye mask, which I didn't really need, but for collecting should get. I didn't want to spend the high prices that people were asking or pay for shipping from another country, so I often hesitated when they came up for auction as I saw how high the selling price went. My mouth would drop witnessing the bidding wars under "MMARO" posts on my Facebook groups. I had already been choosing to eat Ramen on occasion to afford my new obsession, so I could not justify that additional expense. I ended up settling for a blue striped shirt mouse that was more accurate for my family because it was also a big brother. It did remind me of my son and you can read more about that in another blog I wrote called "For The Love of Mice", if you haven't already.


Respecting my elders...


I soon became obsessed with finding grandparent mice and once they arrived I squealed out loud with joy! My boyfriend must have thought I was nuts, but the joy I felt at age 58 for the elders in my new mouse family was very obvious! Of course, as I built my mouse family, and spent way too much time on Facebook, I realized there were two different retired sets. Now, I needed both - because - well - my kids had two sets of grandparents when they were little! (I'm getting really good at justifying my purchases!) Yes, I know, I have the Maileg mania virus and it was a welcome distraction from the real virus we were (and still are) all facing - or more like hiding from.

I created the cutest nesting box house for the grandparents with old fashioned looking items I found at thrift stores or had collected over time. Fun things real mice might use, like a porcelain tea cup for their bathtub, a mini mantle clock, and antique mini baby powder tin. I was having a blast finding items from all over my house to help build the grandparents nest!


What makes a house a home...


Speaking of houses, I went completely off the deep end looking for the retired Maileg Storybook House. It really spoke to me as a writer, and I loved the size of it and how it was decorated. I searched high and low and with a little help from another fellow Maileg collector I got a tip on a store on the East Coast that had one more left! Another loud squeal sent round the world when I opened this whimsical beauty! I haven't stopped playing with it since.

I had really wanted to set it up to be a true 1:12 scale home and use it for my new wool felted characters that I had custom made to match the main character's in my children's book. But I also couldn't resist using it for the Maileg mice. After all, I do consider it to be the grandma's house, no matter what the species! And since Maileg has so many different animals and sizes, I wanted to make this one more traditional dollhouse sized. Here is a cute video I did for a Thanksgiving scene:



And then... Oh did I swoon,

when the coveted Bride and Groom

went on a honeymoon

...for my birthday...


I left no stone unturned as I searched for the beloved Maileg bride and groom. I was just about to give up when a fellow Maileg collector saw my ISO long shot in a Facebook group and suggested I call a few shops that don't do online selling. There was one in Beverly Hills of all places that had one pair left, and they were too busy to take my credit card!!!! They assured me that they would hold them and call me back within the next day or so to get my payment. Wow, talk about trust and having faith. I was beside myself with worry that they would end up selling them to someone who walked in to their store. I imagined all kinds of terrible scenarios where someone would see them sitting on the edge of a counter with my name on them and offer the owner double the price. I was having nightmares and could not take it any more, so I called the next morning and pleaded with them to let me pay so I could feel that I had some claim on them. They were too busy to answer the phone, so I left a message. I sent an email. I called back in an hour. I was going bonkers with worry! I wanted them so badly and had decided it would be my best birthday gift to myself ever! And, since happy endings are my Disney-like imprinted dream.... drumroll please....

I GOT THEM!!!

And, I giggle to think of them as having been married in fancy schmancy Beverly Hills and pretend they came here to Mount Shasta to honeymoon! I even ordered them a custom made wedding cake and took them to one of our gorgeous mountain lakes on my 59th birthday. Awwww...

And of course they needed to travel in style so I fashioned a hot air ballon out of a paper lantern and basket I had around the house. Up, Up and away...


Always looking forward...

Even though I didn't get to purchase the superhero lightning bolt mouse, I am very grateful for what I do have and I'm super excited for the new Spring release of more cuties coming soon. Be still my heart! And of course, in between all of these captures of rare and retired mice, I continue to buy more Maileg friends and family to share my little home! I even decided to spoil my inner child as she turned 59 and buy my very first dollhouse, but that is a whole other story, I mean blog. Lol! Stay tuned for more!




About Tamara S. Graham

Tami is a creative writer with a passion for children, animals and emotional intelligence. Being a mother has been her hardest and most rewarding job since her unique and sensitive children have been her greatest inspiration and teachers. She is currently writing a series of children’s books called The Sunshine Books which are about a young girl named Sunshine who is an old soul with a big heart. While the main characters in The Sunshine Book series are not mice, there is a little mouse in each book hidden in the scenes for the kids to find as a secondary fun activity. Book 1# has a boy mouse, and Book #2 will have a girl mouse that looks very much like her first Maileg mouse! Follow this Maileg Mom blog for more of her musings about mice and all things Maileg. She is busy creating more content and you can also find Maileg Mom on Instagram and YouTube channel.


{Copyright 2021-2022 - Most photos are the property of Tamara S. Graham unless noted otherwise}




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