Looking at the abundance of stuffies in my current life as a mom, it’s no wonder that my kids have collected so many because thinking back on my own childhood, I realize that I was also stuffed animal obsessed. The collection was so big that I needed one of those corner net dealies to hold them all because there was no way my bed could contain me and them.
The net itself was fantastic because it had a special edging to it, like a braided/embroidered belt, that was double sided with three colors (red/orange/yellow) on one side and three more (blue, green, purple, I’m assuming) on the other, with sailing rings in the corners for easy flipping to match whichever colors I wanted to display. Of course, seeing the net wasn’t always easy because over time I stuffed it (pun intended) absolutely full with stuffies (not a term I used then but now, yes). I ordered a similar contraption for our playroom but the quality was not near as great as my old one and it definitely didn’t have the special swag edging either.
Although pretty much each one lived in the net, not every stuffed animal that came into my life got a name. I remember a pretty wide range of cuddlers that fall into both the named/unnamed categories:
*the light brown teddy bear with a blue beanie that also wore some fancy clothes like a vest and bowtie that I clearly snuggled a lot because the way I remember it now is with the hair fairly matted down from years of kid hand/arm exposure. This one was featured in photos, including a Christmas card when I was a young toddler.
*a giant bear that I stole/got from Grandma Gert’s named Maurice (maybe he was my aunt Tammy’s? Gertie’s? I don’t know, but I remember his name was embroidered on his red stocking cap attached to his big, brown, fuzzy head, at least until I eventually cut the strings and removed the hat).
*my Care Bear named Sunshine who I adored even though the color yellow has never been my favorite; the song “You Are My Sunshine” had to play into this bear’s place in my heart.
*a Pound Puppy named Peanut who I kept near and dear for ages.
*the white Popple that had either blue or rainbow colored hair on it’s belly and maybe feet/head, who I loved to transform from creature to ball shape, even after the white fur got all gray-ish and a bit scuzzy.
*the green GloWarm that didn’t have a name but continued to light up its cheeks for what seemed liked years past when it should have been possible for it to still work.
*a koala puppet that I got from Alana, my Australian pen-pal that Uncle Terry connected me with in grade school.
*Beanie Babies – not that I ever collected them with a passion but I received several over the years, including later in high school when I got a tiger that represented my future college’s mascot.
If I ever latched on to one of these stuffed animals in particular, like my own kids have with their (limit four) Sleep Friends, I don’t remember that. I don’t recall ever needing to have one particular stuffie to be able to sleep or one that had to travel with me to visit grandparents, etc.; in my mind, it was more of a rotation of them that I played with, with some particular favorites standing out like Sunshine Bear.
What sticks out most in my mind is that by high school, that corner net was full to the brim and I worked to load them in such a way that displayed their various little and large faces, unless I was in a big rush to clean and just tossed them up like basketballs that were meant to stay in the net, not come crashing back down on my head. That makes my connection to them sound a bit callous but all of these soft toys clearly had a soft spot in my heart and were a big part of my life as the collection grew along with me over the years.
*This is part of a year-long writing challenge that will get me from 40-41 with weekly writing prompts that I will share here; seeing as my writing has tapered off in the last year, this is a great way to reboot.