Saturday, March 8, 2008


I'm grateful for my tv, my computer (the internet!), my car, and my apartment. However, the things I consider my favorite possessions are much smaller and seemingly less significant in life. They are attached to memories, though, making them invaluable to me.

Most kids had their favorite blanket/toy/household cleaning product growing up. I was no exception. I had a little stuffed animal named Scruffy. I say had, but I still have him. He sits on my bookshelf in my living room, reminding me of a happy childhood I thought I experienced. It's strange how when you're a kid, you can live worry-free, but now as an adult, I stress over the semi-rotten childhood I seem to have endured.

We moved to Michigan when I was two. I don't remember much of being two because those were my drinking days. However, I remember my dad's cousin (whom I called uncle) giving me Scruffy. I don't have any other toys from my childhood, but I have Scruffy. I don't know why he's the toy I kept. Well, I'd planned to keep Bobby, the cabbage patch doll, but my younger brother decided to use permanent marker to draw Bobby licking his own boogers. So, I know why I don't have Bobby. (Random sidenote: When I was 20something---later 20's---my mom got this brilliant idea to give me a replica of Bobby for Christmas. Yes, she gave me a cabbage patch doll at the age of ... 27? Weird.) Deep in my subconscious, I found it necessary to keep Scruffy as a reminder that no matter what therapists and self help books tell me, somewhere, somehow, I was happy as a child.

I grew up in a small Detroit suburb. My grandma lived in the same city, and in fact, we lived with her for a time, as well as down the street from her. We spent a lot of time at Grandma's. Grandma's house was the routine for holidays, family reunions, and refuge from a drunken father. Her house had a smell. It wasn't a bad smell, but it was the smell of grandma's house. Recently, I realized it was the smell of some kind of cleaning solvent because I met the same smell in the preschool hallway of our school. The scent immediately took me to grandma's house, where the cousins would trade stickers on Easter, put on performances for the great uncles on Christmas, where Grandma would make soft-boiled eggs and set them on old milk bottles so we could dip into the eggs. She used to put 1/2 gallon ice cream blocks into Tupperware, and then she'd slice off pieces like a cake. Ice cream at Grandma's. yum. I could submit an entire post just about my amazing grandma, but I'm getting off track here. One of my favorite things to do at Grandma's was play with the coasters. Yes, the drink coasters. She didn't really have toys, so I played with the coasters that sat in a tiny rocking chair on her end table. When she passed away in 2007, one of the only things I wanted was the rocking chair. It sits on a cabinet in my apartment along with some angels I asked my dad to get from Grandma's too. My grandma was an angel.

My mom's parents lived in Ohio and Florida, so I didn't see them very often. In high school, my mom, my younger brother, and I would travel to Ohio to visit my grandpa. He was very nice, but we never really had much to talk about. In the last couple years, his health began to decline, and he was stricken with cancer. He was a World War II veteran---a Pearl Harbor Survivor! He'd recorded his memoirs on cassette, and I have a copy. I live near Washington, D.C., and whenever I'd wander around the National Mall, I'd get nostalgic, and then I'd feel sad that my grandpa would never see the WWII Memorial, nor any of the other sites dedicated to him and our nation's military. In September of 2007, an amazing non-profit organization flew my grandpa and several hundred other veterans to Washington, D.C. for the day. I was able to meet up with him and share his experience as he stood in the WWII Memorial. Watching people walk by and thank him for his service made me weepy. He's my grandpa, I thought! It is one of my most cherished memories because it gave me a chance to spend time with my grandpa whom I didn't know very well. Just a few months later, the cancer took over, and he moved on to heaven. That day in D.C. he wore a hat that read Pearl Harbor Survivor. When I traveled to Ohio for the funeral, I asked if I could have the hat, and it was given to me. It sits on my bookshelf in the living room, reminding me of my heroic grandpa.

These are my favorite possessions. What are yours?


Kelly said...

hmm, i'd have to think about that a little...but i did want to say that i'm glad i didn't get rid of the link to your blog. i had faith that you would revive it!

Emily said...

"These are my favorite possessions. What are yours?"

I don't really have a lot of POSSESSIONS that mean a lot to me. I have the memories of fun times with friends and family. I guess my pictures would be some of my favorite possessions.

Oh, and I still have Lambie--one of my favorite stuffed animals as a child.