Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very nostalgic person. I cherish memories, and I cherish objects that hold memories for me. And I’ve never quite gotten over certain things from my childhood, including my very favorite childhood toy:
Meet Pinky. I was one of those kids who had one toy that was more important than any other toy. In fact, each of us three kids had a stuffed rabbit that was gifted to us by our godparents and named after its color. Yes, “Pinky” was actually once pink… She’s not so pink now, though. In fact, the grey shade in these black and white images is pretty accurate, save for one small slice of perfectly pink fur preserved beneath her round, flattened tail. Pinky accompanied me everywhere in my childhood. She required search-and-rescue missions whenever I left her somewhere, like on a city bus or at the YMCA after swimming class. She had several careful procedures to re-attach arms and ears, and I’m pretty sure she nearly lost her head a few times. She went through several button-noses before my mom finally gave up and Pinky became permanently nose-less. Whenever there was a tornado watch, Pinky was one of the two things I grabbed before running to the basement with a flashlight and a radio (the other was my very much alive cat, Tippy). During my college years, she traveled with me from our childhood home to New York City, Milwaukee, back home, and finally to Madison, Wisconsin. She and Tippy were my comfort on nights when I was homesick, lovesick, stressed out, and unsure. She never left my room, even when I got married. Pinky is still one of the few items I would run for if I smelled smoke in the house… And I have been guilty of storing her in a fire-proof safe in our master closet between her occasional adventures outside…and into…our bed.
Yes. I still sleep with Pinky. Sometimes. Even after 31 years, she still manages to fit perfectly under one arm while I sleep.
When my husband was young, he had a similar best friend. His toy rabbit was named Flip and now resides in a box in his mother’s house (at least, we’re pretty sure). Perhaps that is why he’s so tolerant of my ridiculous desire to keep her close some nights. See, my hubby is not so much a fan of anything that very likely has over three decades of accumulated dust, dirt, germs, and let’s not consider what else living inside it. There have been a few half-serious protests on his part (he refuses to call her by her name and refers to her as “the rabbit”), but as long as she stays on my side of the bed (or under my pillow) he somehow gets over his disgust at my vile stuffed toy and cuddles me anyway.
That right there is true love. A very OCD, germophobic grown man who loves me so very much, he risks the plight of what may come from sleeping in the same bed with a three-decade-old stuffed animal. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ve shown him that I love him and need him as much as, if not more than, my dear Pinky.