Friday, November 29, 2013

Much Loved - Honoring Favorite Toys from Childhood

Photographer Mark Nixon has recently compiled Much Loved a new collection of photographs and biographies of much loved stuffed animals from childhood. You can view a sample of these favorite friends on his website:

Some stuffed animals and dolls, like the Velveteen Rabbit, become more than mere playthings. In their own way, though they may lose their outward beauty, they become real. These are the toys that this book captures. In honor of that, I thought I'd share the stories of three beloved friends from my own life.

This is my doll, Alise. She is about 40 years old. She was originally my older sister's doll. My parents gave her to her on her 9th birthday (I would be born 6 months later). When I was two, my mom put her in my crib to keep me company. I promptly pulled some of the hair out of her head and pulled out all her eyelashes. Needless to say, when my sister came home, she was not amused, but from that day forward Alise became my doll.

She was more than doll, though. She was part of the family, the little sister I didn't have. She went everywhere with me that I could possibly bring her and I slept with her until I was eleven. When I broke my arm when I was eight, my Dad made a sling for her as well. We periodically bought her new clothes and shoes and replaced her eyelashes and reinserted her arms and legs when they would fall out. I loved her with all of my heart. She's too fragile to be played with by a child anymore, but I still have her and plan to keep her as long as I live!

This is Teddy, David's (age 12 1/2) bear. Teddy shares his birthday with Isaac, who recently turned eleven. My parents brought him with them when they came to see me in the hospital. Isaac's newborn photo has him holding this bear, but David who was a year-and-a-half soon claimed him as his own, and has loved him ever since.

But, lest you worry that Isaac was deprived of a stuffed friend, this is Blue, perhaps the most loved bear of them all. Blue came in an Easter Basket from his Grandma when he was maybe two or three years old and the two became fast friends. I can't even tell you how many surgeries this poor bear has been through. I replaced his eyes and nose and gave him a new mouth and a neck brace because there was literally no more fabric to hold his neck together.

Do you (or your child) have a favorite toy that has become "real?" If so, I invite you to share your story in the blog comments. Who knows why certain toys become the best of friends, while others sit on a shelf, but I am so thankful for these three who brought so much joy to my and my children's lives. 


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