Monday, September 17, 2007

Toy Story

David McMahon had the idea of sharing about our favorite childhood toy. I also saw a lovely book a couple weeks ago that included 'portraits' and 'bios' of beloved stuffed animals and blankets and have wanted to do something similar ever since.

Isaac was 3 when my grandmother brought Fluffy for him after a trip to Alaska. She said, 'Every boy needs a dog.' Isaac was delighted that Fluffy was a husky because he loved the movie 'Balto' (about sled dogs in Alaska) at the time. In fact, Fluffy was almost named Balto. His soft fur, which is now matted and compressed after 9 years of loving and some washings, led to his given name. Fluffy has been a faithful and warm companion to Isaac ever since their introduction. He could most often be found tucked under Isaac's arm while they slept or pulling imaginary sleds as scenes from 'Balto' were re-enacted. Isaac was deeply concerned for Fluffy's well-being when an encounter with hostile visitors left his tail nearly detached. After a few minutes at the stuffed dog hospital a successful reattachment was achieved.

Gaby came all the way from Bolivia to live with Calypso when friends visiting from there realized they would be here during Calypso's 7th birthday. Calypso's eyes lit up when she saw Gaby's beautiful traditional dress. You'll notice Gaby is carrying her wee one, Karencita, in her aguayo. They were named for the wife and baby daughter of our visitors and were always given a place of honor in Calypso's room. Calypso enjoyed introducing Gaby to new friends and always wanted to make sure they knew how far she had come in order to live with Calypso.

Calypso also latched onto Lime's bunny Austin. Austin originally joined the family when Lime took a trip to Texas at age 10. From the bunny's name you can guess Lime saw the state capital. Austin was purchased with Lime's own money at a time when Lime was trying to decide if she needed any more stuffed friends or not because she was getting older. Being far away from home was interesting and fun but Lime kind of missed her friends from home. Austin's eyes were shining at Lime in the store and so a new friendship was born. Calypso found Austin in a box one day and decided the bunny needed more loving than she was getting so Austin went to live in Calypso's room. It's the eyes, I tell you....

When I went to look for Diana's 'Silky' I couldn't bring myself to disturb the set-up I discovered. Silky is the tuft of frayed satin edging on a blanket I cross-stitched for her before she was born. You can just see the white edge of it poking out at the left. Silky was carried most places with Diana. When Diana went to bed you could find Silky's corner carefully folded into a point and held a certain way so Diana could suck her thumb and flick the satiny edge until she fell asleep. When the original corner frayed away, only then did Diana begin using a new corner. Silky now serves as cushioning along with two doll blankets made by Grammy. The dolls who are provided this sancitifed bedding do not have names that I am aware of. I won the china doll when Diana was a baby and chose a red-haired one for her. The little Eskimo doll came from Alaska along with Fluffy and, according to Diana, is a treasured reminder of the last gift from Nana before she died.

Lime's mother made Debbie when Lime was 6. Lime fondly remembers picking out the fabric for Debbie's wardrobe. In addition to this simple dress and pinafore, Debbie owns a purple dress and matching bonnet. Unfortunately, her shoes were lost long ago but Debbie didn't seem to mind since she has always enjoyed being barefooted as much as Lime does. Debbie lived on Lime's bed along with Kermit the Frog, a small yellow dog, an enormous gray cat, and a huge purple and white panda bear named Captain Purple. Lime's mother wondered how there was room for a child to sleep in the bed with such an array but they all kept Lime safe from the horrible creatures who lived under the bed. Each had his or her own job as a member of the security contingent. Yellow dog was first alert. Gray Kitty was the bouncer. Captain Purple was the provider of general comfort (He has many matted down spots on his shoulders from tears and snot being wiped there.). Kermit was comic relief. Debbie's job was to keep order among the ranks and provide a girly ear to listen.

Hepzibah is a very old girl. She came to Lime from her paternal Grandmother (Mom-mom) who had received Hepzibah from her own maternal grandmother. Mom-mom remembers Hepzibah having a very special place in her house growing up and only being permitted to hold her very gently on her lap on special occasions. Hepzibah spent many years on top of Mom-mom's small China cabinet before coming to live with Lime. Mom-mom would greet Hepzibah each morning and about 25 years ago decided Hepzibah needed some nicer clothing since her original dress was terribly damaged. Lime is not entirely happy that Hepzibah's new clothes are polyester and have velcro fasteners but Hepzibah feels more ladylike being attired in a dress that is not falling apart. She is very happy her original bonnet is still in good condition. Hepzibah sometimes felt a little lonely since she didn't see a lot of play time but she seems happy to be surrounded by other friends at Lime's house. Here is a bonus picture of Hepzibah and Mom-mom ca. 1915.


Shari said...

How cute. Thanks for sharing. I don't think I have anything from my childhood days. :( Just lots of memories.

My youngest loves her stuffed cat and my oldest treasures a lot of stuffed animals she got from her dad.

G-Man said...

That was an awesome display of family memorablia, history, and love..
Loved that pic from the past..Love that Lime from the present!!

TLP said...

This is a most wonderful post. I especially love the last picture. Just lovely.

MONA said...

Family heirloom! how sweet! :)

I just love Austin! & I just love the tales about the rest of them.They make quite a family in themselves!

S said...

Oh I love Debbie! I love this doll post Lime, you make me want to take pics of all of my old dolls, but they are all packed away in a storage locker..sigh, one day I may have a house large enough to be able to enjoy all my old stashed away things.

LR has a Silkyish situation as well....a raggedy old yellow flannel blanket that shes had all her this point its just a wad of raggedyness but she loves it still.

Beach Bum said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks you for sharing the history and pictures. My favorite is Austin, that looks like one tough bunny.

Bsoholic said...

The little doggy is awesome! I had a stuffed doggy too that I carried everywhere. It wasn't a husky though, more of a hound dog type look to it. I'll have to dig around and see if I can find him... :)

MyUtopia said...

Awe how cute. I will have to do this one too. I was never much into dolls, but I loved my stuffed bear.

* Check out my big blog announcement.

lime said...

shari, as long as the memories are happy you are blessed.

gman, thanks, the nostalgia is right up your alley, sisn't it?

tlp, thanks. i'm glad you enjoyed that last picture. i treasure it.

mona, austin is charming in an unassuming way isn't she?

s, iactually still have my blankie too. i rescued it from the rag bag when to my horror i found it there during a visit home from college. the indignity!

beach bum, glad you liked it. austin does have a certain strength. must be her texas roots.

bs, oh i'd love to see a post about your little hound dog.

myutopia, i'd love to see your post. and congratulations on yoru excting news! i guess you'll be finding a new friend or two for someone special soon :)

lecram said...

I so love this post! I had an orange teddy bear which I kept trying to feed milk until his sewn up mouth was a crusty mess.

Rebicmel said...

Lime these memories are always cherished. My son has a little bear named Sherman - I have him in a bag now he is rather worn, but he went everyone with my son when he was young. This was a nice read hun.

david mcmahon said...

G'day Lime,

What an incredible post. And about deciding whether you needed any more stuffed toys or not - no kid can ever have to many stuffed toys.

Your post reminded me of all the toys you see at jumble sales and you always wonder what cherished stories the owners would be happy to share ...



Paul Champagne said...

It is good that fluffy was a toy. Real Huskies will cause you fits, they are way too intelligent to be easily trained and master escape artists.

SignGurl said...

Now I'm feeling like a very guilty parent. I threw out #1's Barney. She's never going to forgive me. She does still have her blankey. It's very similar to Diana's with the cross stitched name and pertinent info on it. It's barely readable now.

The picture of your grandma is so sweet! It only makes Hepzibah more special.

Anonymous said...

I love seeing old stuffed animals and dolls from children's growing years. It's like they absorb the emotions of the child and almost become animate.
Great post lime.:)

MIke Kilgore said...

A walk through our childhood...glad thats over!!!!

BTExpress said...

How sweet. My son's best friends were Bear and Puppy growing up. :-)

lime said...

lecram, that's so sweet (hhmmm, or maybe sour). i can see it now.

rebicmel, sounds like sherman was well loved.

david, you know i always wonder the same thing when i see dolls and toy animals at yard sales. glad you enjoyed the post.

paul, my dad had a real husky named igor. he was a beautiful dog.

signgurl, i'm gasping!! my mother threw away my bunny 'pinky' when we moved.

topcat, oh that is EXACTLY how it is. it's why i used to bawl my eyes out of the veleveteen rabbit....oh, dang, now i need a hankie (sniffle)

mike, a little stroll is nice now and again

BTE, awww, are bear and puppy tucked safely away somewhere?

M said...

I liked my Dressy Bessy doll ...and Mrs Beasly...and this one rag doll with purple hair.

Moosekahl said...

I turn 30 in just under three weeks and I still sleep with an array of stuffed critters when the boy isn't around. I have a panda bear he bought me at the san diego zoo with me in Denver this week. Those dolls are amazing though, particularly that last photo. Thank you for sharing the family treasures with us!

Jocelyn said...

The picture of Hepzibah and Mom-Mom is beyond priceless (that means, um, worth ultragabillions of dollars, if you took the doll and the photo both to Antiques Roadshow).

I could wax dreamy about toys for hours. You've gotten me started.

Love this post. As always.

Dorky Dad said...

Wow. Those are awesome toys. I think I had some broken Star Wars figures and a few broken cars and such. Actually, all my toys were broken.

Cindra said...

Oh, I envy and celebrate your tradition and strong family connections so much! Thanks again for sharing you so readily and so well! MWAH!

lime said...

m, i didn't have a mrs. beasly but i remmeber her. she always looked so kindly.

moose, i love that you still do that!

jocelyn, oh, i hope you'll do a doll/toy post as well. i'd love to see it.

dorky dad, i am going to assume that means you played hard and enjoyed your toys to the fullest

cindra, i've been accused of being overly sentimental, oh well...guilty as charged.

KFarmer said...

Love all your lovlies :)

Funny, last night I dreamed I found my doll, ready for this? Poo-Pah and I was over joyed to hold her again :) Great post dove, just wonderful~

snowelf said...

I love the bios! And what a great place to show off all your family memories. And Hepzibah is so beautiful.


The Zombieslayer said...

That's so cool you still have Debbie. Mine was Maune (pronounced Mane, but I couldn't spell as a little kid). He was a green dinosaur and he's long dead. He was born in 1620 (you could tell this was way before I took college biology & evolution). By the time I was ten, he was gone. I kept asking my parents what happened to Maune years later, but they kept saying he was in some box. To this day, I wonder if we have him or not. I'd love to revive him.

My mother would love Hepzibah. She's into dolls just like that. Mrs. Z and I sometimes find her dolls like Hepzibah and mail them to her. They can get pricey, but you can find them used by people who have no idea their worth.

The best dolls I've ever seen though were in Ventura, CA. There's a guy who makes dolls of famous European historical figures. They're actually scary, because they look like miniature people. He's got their faces and costumes down to a t. Amazing work.