Writer's Block: Your Own Toy Story
Did you have a favorite stuffed animal, action figure, or doll growing up? If so, what was it and what happened to it?
Hell yes I did! I still do. In fact, the procession of favorite toys was rather impressive and definitely odd.
I have always had a tendency to become obsessed with things. (I hear people who know me saying, "No shit??") When I was very small--still in a crib--I became obsessed with this gold-plated tag on the bar of the crib. I would constantly implore my parents or anyone near by to look at it by saying, "Dookatdat." Sometimes, I'd get stuck on a syllable, like, "Dookadookadookadookadookadookadookatdat.
Similarly, I have shared my life with a progression of toys. When I was small, I had Teddy, a plain brown teddy bear. I still have Teddy; he is about three feet away from me now, sitting on top of a plastic storage unit, in the embrace of my wooden drawing dummy.
Teddy was a rather ordinary toy. Almost cliche. At the same age, I also had Crispy. Crispy was a round decorative cushion that my grandmother got as a free gift from a bank. She gave it to me. I was obsessed with it. I called it Crispy because it was golden-brown like the breading on fried chicken. Crispy had a spot of white paint on one of his (his? Crispy has a gender?!) edges and a piece of plastic stitching that stuck out slightly. I can still see those in my mind's eye too. Crispy is somewhere around here; in my closet, maybe.
I had a pillow obsession, maybe, when I was a kid. I was also obsessed with a blue gingham pillow with a butterfly stitched on it that my mom made for me. I was also obsessed with this particular pillowcase with a butterfly on it; I wouldn't sleep on any other. I could tell this particular pillowcase from the others like it because the printing was slightly off, so a piece of the flower's sepals appeared attached to the butterfly's antenna. The butterfly on one side was named Sneaky; the butterfly on the opposite side was named Snoof. Yes, I could tell the butterflies apart.
This was elementary school. When I reached middle school, I wanted a Golden Retriever; my parents said no. So in a bizarre fit of creativity and revenge, I made my own Golden Retriever by stuffing an old shirt that belonged to my dad with an old bathrobe that belonged to me and naming it Golden. Golden went everywhere with me. I held him (yes, Golden was a boy dog) while I watched TV with my family. He went on vacation with us. Of course, he slept in bed with me! I think he was actually still sleeping in my bed during the early years that Bobby and I were dating. I think Golden is on the bookshelf in my study. I can't see him because I think Bobby piled my other stuffed animals on top of him. It's no wonder; a bathrobe-stuffed shirt is a weird addition to any decor.
In high school, I had Footyball, who was a stuffed soccer ball. Footyball communicated in squeaks. He would tolerate few nicknames, but he loves being called Golfball. My mom and my mom alone could call him Füd.He also likes construction equipment. Footyball is around somewhere too.
When Bobby and I were just out of high school, we went for a winter trip to Ocean City. We stopped at Candy Kitchen on our way out of town, and they had a big tub full of white stuffed unicorns. If you squeezed one's chest, it played "Somewhere over the Rainbow"! I admired them, and when paying for our candy, Bobby plopped one up on the counter. I made some vague protests, but really, I wanted one, so I didn't protest too hard.
In later years, the unicorn would evolve its own name and personality. His name is Nelyo. Yes, after that Nelyo. His picture is in my LJ icon. He's traveled everywhere with me. He's been to England, Scotland, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and a variety of places within the Continental U.S. He did sleep with me until my tendency to pull the blankets up too high started mashing his ears.
Here is Nelyo in Guanica, PR:
Nelyo is a miniature Arctic long-haired unicorn. Contrary to depictions of unicorns as nice and sparkly, they are not. Nelyo is very badly behaved. He pees in the house. He has peed on my friends before. In their native home in the sub-Arctic, they are fond of robbing trashcans of residences, since food can be scarce. They're regarded as pests, kind of like crows or raccoons around here. They'll eat anything they can get a hold of. Nelyo's favorite food is a canned unicorn food called Turkey of the Sea, but he'll eat anything. Nelyo has a sort-of unicorn girlfriend called Flour. Flour is kind of grayish in color and has a skin condition that causes her to lose patches of her hair. She mostly steals Nelyo's food; she's bigger than he is, so she can.
My family tries to abuse Nelyo. My dad threatens to put him in the washing machine. My sister-in-law Kirsty calls him a big gay-mo and steals him, sometimes putting him in compromising positions and always squeezing him too hard and hurting his ribs.
So there's the procession of stuffed animals in my life. I'm almost 30--I wonder if I'll get another? Or does having a husband to sleep with tend to curb the need to have a stuffed animal to sleep with? I don't know. It seems to me that I enjoyed my stuffed animals not so much for sleeping with as to imbue them with personalities and characters--go figure.