Things that look used
“I like things that look used, especially when they were used by someone who matters to me.” – Gary Hager
Does this raggedy raccoon look familiar? If so, you may have seen him in this post. Actually, I have pictures of him in any number of places; looking out the window of the Coast Starlight, cruising the Caribbean, catching the rays of Hawaiian sunshine. He’s a world traveler, and though he never talks about his experiences, they have clearly left their mark on him.
On Drew’s first Christmas, when he was about 9 months old, our dear friends who were his unofficial godparents gave him this then-plush and beautiful toy raccoon. For reasons never clear to us, Drew soon told us “his name is Gludgey.” (Drew was an early talker, but the spelling was my own guess that met his later approval.) Gludgey has been everywhere with Drew, for more years than we would have ever predicted. In fact, as Drew got older, I was a bit torn between being happy that he was not eager to leave childhood behind, and worried that his friends would tease him for hanging on to his dearly loved toy companion. If Drew felt the slightest bit self-conscious about it, he gave no sign of it.
I’m not exaggerating. Gludgey went away to summer camps, on all our vacations, even on medical mission trips to South America with his buddy who was by then in high school. Then he went off to college with Drew, thousands of miles from his California home. The next year, the day Drew left to go back to school at the end of the summer, Jeff came into the kitchen with a rather sad expression on his face. “I see Drew left Gludgey behind this time. That’s the end of that. I guess he has finally grown up.”
That night the phone rang. “I forgot to bring Gludgey — can you mail him to me?” I agreed, but I snapped several photos first (including the one above) in case the Gludgemeister got lost in the mail. He didn’t. In fact, I believe he went to Athens and later, to Oxford with Drew, spending those overseas semesters with him. I have to wonder what Drew’s classmates thought.
In case you’re curious, Gludgey was consigned to a closet shelf when Drew married and had the good sense to take someone else’s decorating preferences into consideration, but I suppose the venerable raccoon will re-emerge about the time Grady is old enough to notice him. As these things tend to go, Grady may not like him– at least not at first– but he probably won’t have immediate veto power.
Do you have old, well-loved toys, blankets or other comfort objects (including furniture) that you would not part with for anything newer or grander? I’ve found that many of us do. At nearly 57, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone who treasures old things. As the wonderful story The Velveteen Rabbit so eloquently describes it, it’s not getting OLD – it’s becoming REAL. Please tell us about your favorite “real” things!