"It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
That quote is from one of my favoritest books from when I was a kid: The Velveteen Rabbit. The story imbued all my toys, especially my stuffed animals, with their own lives and personalities and heartaches in a way in a way that never left me. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that I stil have a large collection of stuffed animals in my life, ranging in age from 43 years to less than a month old. Some of them have long and detailed personal histories, but I'm still getting to know others. Here's a sampling of my stuffed friends along with a little bit about each of them.
Dorothy the Bunny (with stuffies who have been loved as much as this lady has, it can be hard to tell the animal) has been in my life for as long as I can remember, although I know I haven't had her my entire life. I named her after Dorothy Gale... I was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz when I was a child, back when they'd play it on network television once per year. Also, I don't know if you can see from that picture, but Dorothy has eye shadow - a very young Jessica thought it would be fun.
I bought Francis Bacon at a Goodwill near my undergraduate institution the day before classes started my freshman year in college. I vaguely remember thinking it was a funny and inappropriate name for a bear, since clearly Francis Bacon sounds like a name for a pig, but other than that I don't know why I named him after a philosopher I had never and still have never read. I used to make up stories of derring-do featuring Francis, but these days he just lives on my bed in comfortable semi-retirement.
Chewbacca! What a Wookie! I've had my stuffed Chewie as long as I can remember, although I no longer have his bandoleer. Whenever anyone doubts my nerd credibility, I tell them about how I have a vintage Chewbacca stuffie that I've owned since it was brand new.
At a former institution, there were a lot of faculty members who brought their dogs to work. Although I adored them all (and still do), I had a special relationship with Roy the Pug. Roy looooved me and, if I passed his domain without stopping to say hello, Roy would yell at the top of his lungs in that special high pitched pug yell. When I announced I was leaving that job to become a library director, Roy's human bought me a Webkinz pug who looks just like Roy, and I named the Webkinz pug Fake Roy.
So, how about you? Any stuffed animals hanging around your home or office?