Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breathing new life into old things

One my youngest's favorite stories involves a sock monkey.  I can't remember the title off the top of my head, but that isn't that important.  What is important is that he likes the book, and especially the sock monkey.  After listening to the story recently, he decided he wanted a sock monkey.  As it turns out, I have one, sealed in a tub in the attic.  I can't remember when I got it, but I've had it as long as I can remember.
For the last week, he's been asking to see it.  I finally dragged the tub down out of the attic a couple days ago.  After locating the sock monkey, I started thinking about all the stories we made up about them.  We had names for all of them.  We even developed personalities, relationships, jobs...a whole world for them.  Well, at least part of the world (more on that later).  Our imaginations, under the direction of my older brother, had created a vast world for our toys to live, play, and experience all manner of adventures.

It's been a long time since I've thought about their world.  I've forgotten most of their names and personalities, but I remember some of it.  I'm feeling there is a story in there, but I'm not sure where I want to go with it.  You see, the world we created wasn't a perfect place.  This wasn't a place full of sunshine and constant happiness that you see in most stories involving children our age.  At the same time, it still maintained some measure of innocence.  I have very few memories of my childhood that are happy, but I remember these were always amazing and wonderful.

Another problem with writing a story about the world of my stuffed animals was that it was so immense and complex.  A fear a children's book wouldn't be able to capture enough of the essence to make it live.  On the flip side, some of the innocence that made it so special would be lost if I wrote it to a more grown up audience.  A true conundrum for me that I hope to resolve soon.  I think writing a story about them would be good.  I've written a poem about them (one of the few from my teenage years that wasn't filled with angst or anger).  I'll have to post it some time.

Here is some of what I remember:

  • All of the toys lived in a terraformed area of the Antarctic.  We wanted some place remote and difficult for the real world to get to.  I remember my brother also suggested that we have some sort of cloaking device to hide them from people.
  • It was a mighty kingdom ruled over by the benevolent, and pink, teddy bear named Sleeptight.  He was the oldest (older than even me), and biggest of all the toys.  He was also my favorite.
  • The kingdom had a prince, named Sleep.  He was my brother's favorite, so he got to be prince.
  • They had enemies, so they had a captain of the guard, a stuffed buzzard, named Buzzy.
  • We had a couple alien races, the Jelloons and the Gagleans.  The Jelloons were a couple of stuffed jellybeans that my brother and I had.  We only had one Gaglean, named Gagloo (that's what it said on his tag).  I've never seen it's like.  The Jelloons and Gaglean were scientists (they were after all aliens).
  • Buzzy had a father, named One Ear (I think).  He was probably my first(?) stuffed animal.  I've had him as long as I can remember.  He's a panda, and yes, he is missing an ear.  One Ear had a brother, named Samsonite.  He was a large panda bear that I got when I was older.
  • Buzzy had a trusty mount that we ride into combat. His "steed" was a white stuffed dog named Blue Eye.
  • There were two sock monkeys.  One for me and one for my brother.  Their names were Monkey See and Monkey Do.  They were floppy (as all sock monkey's are) and were kind of silly.  I'm not sure what they did, but I'm sure it was silly.  Monkey See had more stuffing that Monkey Do so we decided that Monkey Do was more "athletic".  Beyond that, I don't remember.
There is more in there, but it is easy to see the complexity.  What can I say, we were children.  We didn't have TV or video games.  The internet wouldn't be invented until I was almost in college.  All we had were books, our toys, and our imaginations.

Monkey See is now named "Sock Monkey" according to my youngest.  He's been walking around and taking good care of him.  There is a story in here.  One of these days, I'll have to tell it.  We'll see where it takes me.


  1. I don't want to be left out here. There was Heidi the deer and the best friend of Bubba the gorilla (who was head of security later and worked closely with Buzzy. Heidi was Sleeptight's adviser. Bubba had a unicorn steed called Snow, she was all white with a blue collar. The sock monkeys were the comedians; they entertained everyone at dinner. There was also Floppy, my oldest stuffed animal. He was a dog. He was old and wise but didn't do much on account of his age.

    1. Yes, that makes sense. Thanks for the reminder. :D

  2. I seriously love this post for so many reasons, one of which is that I had the most hideous stuffed dog you've ever seen named "Dookie" that was practically an appendage off my arm until I was about 4. I'll bet Dookie would have fit right it with everyone mentioned!

    1. LOL. Isn't Dookie the name of the dog on Johnny Test? :-D

    2. I have no idea! I think "Dookie" came about while I was trying to say "Doggie"...I was that young when I got him :)

    3. HAHAHA! I didn't think it had anything to do with Johnny Test, but I did find it humorous. :D

  3. I love the names! Samsonite, lol. I think Toy Story is genius on both a kid and adult level. Toy Story 3 makes my husband cry every single damn time we watch it. So it CAN be done. Now go do it...

    1. Toy Story 3 makes me cry too. :D I will right this story, but at the moment, none of the characters are speaking very loudly. I keep playing with ideas, but nothing is sticking yet.