For Friday, December 2, 2011
One of my favorite childhood stories was The Velveteen Rabbit. The story of a boy’s beloved stuffed animal who miraculously comes to life was one I thought of most evenings as I fell asleep. A dozen friends including a red poodle named Spooky and a little white kitten named Princess whose back had a patch of missing fur, were tucked in carefully alongside of me as my Mom and Dad kissed me goodnight. My Dad would ask, “Are you sure you have enough room to sleep?” and I’d giggle and insist that I did.
The idea of having my stuffed animals becoming real was one that remained with me. Oh, I knew it was only a fantasy but I would feel sad whenever I, as a teenager no longer playing with stuffed animals, tucked away another one in a box set in my bedroom closet. To be a forgotten toy, like the Velveteen Rabbit whose little boy grew to love other toys once Scarlet Fever prevented him from playing with his favorite toy any longer, seemed a great tragedy to my wild and colorful imagination. Even when I became a parent, I remember whispering to a few of my rescued old friends that I’d found them a new playmate. I smiled with great joy as “Mary Ann” my three foot doll, renamed “Abby” by Sydney, was once again dressed in her pink snowsuit and dragged outside to play in the snow.
It would be wonderful to pen that story, to have it illustrated, and to see a book published. It is one of my many dreams. As I look at the worn coat that little dog wears today I know that like the Velveteen Rabbit, he has grown neglected, taking a back seat to the three children I’ve nurtured for the last twenty years, but I know that someday, Bilbo Dudley will indeed come to life...I will make him real. He’ll be immortalized even, at least on the printed page.