I wrote this in response to a thread on the Storytell listserve, but my family read this blog and probably share this same memory:
When we were children, my father would melt lead in his little smelter pot and pour it into molds to make lead soldiers for us to play with. The molds had been his father's, and were for WWI-era soldiers. We loved those soldiers, but now I wonder if we were harmed by playing with them. Too late to change it.
One of my sisters, I believe (or was it one of my brothers?), got the molds and the smelter when Dad died. She won't use them of course. It's the memory of being in the basement with him as he melted the lead and carefully poured that molten silver metal into the molds that she cherishes. As do I. Like so many other things, we now know the hazard of what seemed simple enough when we were young.
(To illustrate this story, I googled "lead soldiers" +"World War I" and up popped these little fellows on eBay. Guess who owns them now? They're not the ones Dad made, but very like them. They'll do. )