Most kids have a stuffed animal or “blankey” that they can’t live without—an extra appendage of soft, fluffy security that takes on a real life personality of “comforter” for a child. When my mom used to paint, one of her subjects was a stuffed teddy bear with one eye, tattered edges, and an overall appearance of smothering love. It was called “Love Lasts” (I think…she’s welcome to correct me—my mom…NOT the bear!)
When I was about three, Santa snuck in the back door and left me my toys because we didn’t have a fireplace, yet. With all the loot (because I was such a good little girl) was a little stuffed red horse with a music box in his belly. Before him, I had somebody else’s tired old toy poodle named “FiFi”. I loved her too, but I think one of the dogs may have gotten to her, and I don’t mean in the “making puppies” kind of way. Anyway, I had this brand new little horse that became my one true love along with a certain “blankey”. He’s in my attic somewhere. If I could get my hands on him I’d take a picture, but I can’t so here is the picture in my memory. He was that velour-y fabric of any stuffed toy in the ‘70’s, you know, sort of like the inside of a sweatshirt—not that soft, fluffy stuff they have today. He was supposed to look like a carousel horse, so he had some fabric-like/paper-like saddle that wrapped around his middle making him look more festive. Yarn made up his mane and tail, and I can’t for the life of me remember what song the music box played—probably the circus, Calliope standard. We named him “Strawberry”, and he was my new best friend. It wasn’t long before the music stopped from a three-year-old over winding it, but he was still snuggly in spite of the hard spot in his middle. In retrospect, I have always laughed that I found this little guy so comforting because he was obviously not thrilled with his lot in life. The reason I say this is because he had really angry eyes. They were angled on his face in a way that made them look like they were glaring at my every action. They even had the white felt around them adding the wide-eyed, knit-browed intensity. But I adored him anyway—even if he didn’t feel the same way. He probably looks really pissed, now, after God only knows how many years cooped up in a box in a million degree attic.
Then there is Butter Bear. That’s Greg’s teddy that he got at the age of two. Butter Bear has a woven-ish leather looking belly button that replaced the black fuzzy one he was born with, and crazy, big glossy, topaz eyes. You’re picturing the pretty Afghani women on National Geographic right, aren’t you. Well…not so much. More like a freaked out stuffed bear on angel dust, staring into space, wondering when this bad trip is going to end. Another product of the ‘60’s/’70’s. True to his namesake, he was made of a buttery colored fabric that was maybe, at one point a bit fluffier than sweatshirt material, but after many hugs, has really gone the way of bad ‘70’s shag carpet that has never been raked—kind of matted, a little shiny and steel wool-ish. That and the stuffing in him was very, very firm, so he’s not all that comforting either, but he was good enough for Greg. Oh, he’s hanging in Mikey’s room—not because he hate’s his life or anything—because I have hung up all the stuffed toys on a chain with clothes pins as storage and decoration.
Nummy! Sweet, delicious, wonderful Nummy! I bought the lamb for Mikey when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. It was the first gift I purchased for my little love growing within. Lamby had microfiber covered legs, feet and muzzle, with this really soft, shaggy, synthetic material over his body. He was so cute and wonderful for the nursery, I was thrilled when Michael, out of all his stuffed toys, took to the lamb for his favorite. He couldn’t say “lamby” so it became “Nummy” and has been that ever since. Nummy looks like the Serta mattress company sheep from their marketing campaign. The little guy with his plastic disks on inside the bottom of his feet, has been loved sooooo much, the disks have shifted up the legs and become knee caps; meanwhile rubbing the fabric to practically the thickness of gossamer in several areas. Because of this, he has had multiple stitches to keep him going. Nummy looks like he is 100 years old and been on the front lines of every war since birth—that is how very loved, hugged and kissed he has been. His fluffy fabric has matted so that it looks like the scant, patchy wool of a real starving sheep. He’s misshapen… but alas, he is still Nummy, and he is still perfect and beautiful to Mikey.
Pierce love’s stuffed animals, but hasn’t taken to one with any fervor. He has Gray Hare—and actual gray hare, that he loves, but it’s not a security blanket, yet…