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Through Your Eyes

Written by: Polite Society Readers

In response to our monthly question, written solely by our readers.


Was there an item(s) you treasured most as a child? A stuffed animal or toy? Collection of stamps or coins? A certain article of clothing? Why was it so meaningful? Do you still have it/them now?

Kerstin Engelhart: One item I treasured very much when I was a child was my teddy bear. It was a gift from my great-grandmother. I don't think that this is the reason why it was always with me; I never really got to know her (I was too young). It was the only stuffed animal that was in my bed every night, even when we were on vacations. And do I still have it today? Yes, it's lying in my bed and gets an occasional cuddle!

Lee Thatcher: Although I have a few things from my childhood that mean a lot to me, it is the stories that were told to me by my mom that mean the most to me. The stories by my parents and grandparents serve as a reminder that they experienced hard times as well. I pass these stories onto my own children, so we can learn from their lessons.

Nanette Steimle: I treasured my yellow Teddy bear. His name was Berrett. I thought that was a clever name. I got him as a baby. I took him everywhere. He sat on my bed everyday growing up. He was the final resting piece after all the other pillows and stuffed animals were placed. Berrett now sits in a box. I enjoy, however, seeing pictures of me holding Berrett and loving him.

Nancy Schultz: I HAVE WAY TOO MANY TREASURES!!! I can't get rid of any of them. I treasure the blessing dress my baby girls were all dressed in, because my husband's only aunt, Irma, on his father's side sent it to me from Indiana. I treasure the doll made from a man's white sock that my sister Carol Joy, who died at age 33, hand-made. I treasure a little, china cup that my grandmother gave to me because she treasured it so much… it belonged to her little Nora, who died at age 5; she would be about 105 years old now. I treasure a special apron that my grandmother hand-stitched for me. I treasure the "Mothers" quilt my five daughters made with pictures of me with each one of my eight babies. The fact that they found the pictures and made a quilt just for me means so much. I treasure the grand piano I have from my parents that I grew up with and learned to play on. My favorite memory of it was me playing "Liebestraum," their favorite love song, while they sat on the couch holding hands and listening to me like it was a concert. Those are just some of the things I treasure. There are many other types of things I treasure that are relationships, and memories, but these are tangible objects that I can touch and hold to remind me of those memories.

Elizabeth E. Ellenbecker: "Mr. Doggy" was my best friend throughout my childhood into my early adult years. I had my heart set on getting "My Puppy Loves Me," the fad toy every girl in my 1st grade class so desperately wanted. I was elated when my mom took me to Wal-Mart to pick it out. My classmates had the "Dog Show Quality White Border Collie" or "Cuddly Cute Cocker Spaniel" that squealed with delight when you pushed the nose and puppy whimpered "I love you". I was determined to be like them and get my own clone toy. When I bounced down the aisle and saw the ten or so to choose from, I set my eyes on a tan, shaggy mutt, sitting alone tucked behind the other dogs. Like choosing an overlooked dog at the pound with an unfavorable destiny, I felt that this toy needed me to take him home. "Mr. Doggy" was my friend and a part of my nightly ritual for years. He's surpassed countless other toys and stuffed animals and has been with me through overnight camp, my new home in Iowa in 8th grade, and through my first year away at college. He's comforted me during family trials, fights with friends, break ups with boyfriends, loss of family pets, grandparents, and the loss of my brother in my early 20s. "Mr. Doggy" has long stopped whimpering "I love you," and his tan, shaggy hair has matted into one tangled mess. He's now tucked away with my wedding and child hood mementos preserved in a Rubbermaid bin. Today, when I see my 21-month-old son toting around his "Mr. Bunny," a shaggy, little plush toy he picked out at the German Wal-Mart, I hope that he will have the same companionship with his friend as I did with mine.

Steph Myers: Funny you mentioned this, because I was just looking up two paintings from one of my favorite stories about Cornelia. She is the daughter of a great warrior who is visited by a rich friend showing off her expensive jewelry. Cornelia called for her children, showed them to her friend and said, "These are my jewels." So, in answer to your questions, I treasure my children. "These are my jewels."

Amy Carpenter: Barbies! Lots and lots of Barbies! My parents got me them for birthdays and Christmas. The rest of the time, I saved my allowance to buy them myself. My Barbies never lost arms or legs or heads. I kept them dressed, with their hair brushed. They had hand-made, wooden furniture and a house in Malibu (under the bench in the play room). I also bought two Corvettes — pink and metallic purple — for them to cruise around in. They were the jewels in my crown of dolls. I still have them tucked away in two foot lockers, and my children are not allowed to play with them, although once in a blue moon, I'll take them out so they can see them. I have Peaches and Cream Barbie, Exercise Barbie (that's the one in Toy Story 3), Astronaut Barbie, Crystal Barbie, Western Barbie, and a ton of other Barbies. I also have the Ken dolls to go along with them. In fact, a few years ago, I bought a Rett Butler Ken Doll to satisfy an urge for a decent Ken doll (he's still in the box). I may have been a tom boy, but I loved my Barbies. I loved working and saving to buy them. I loved dressing them. I loved creating romance between Barbie and Ken. I even took pictures of them among the roses of my parent's yard. I still love Barbies, and wish I could afford to collect them. Instead, I buy them for my preschooler and watch helplessly as she rips their clothes off and parades them around in all their naked glory. Ah, well. What's the point of having toys if you don't play with them?

Natalie Lessard: I still have a Winnie the Pooh that I received for my 6th birthday present. It is 36 years old. My birthday is Christmas Day, and my parents took us Christmas shopping. We were in Sears, the only company that sold Winnie the Pooh at the time. I saw a little Pooh there and BEGGED my mom for it. She said no. I was heartbroken. At Christmas two weeks later, I opened an even bigger and better one for my birthday.

Brittany Knotts: My stuffed tiger, aptly (and very creatively) named "Tiger." I got him with my mom at the closing of a department store when I was about two-years-old, and he has been a permanent resident of my bed ever since. I used to carry him around with me everywhere as a young child, and after my parents split up, he'd make the trek with me from house to house every other week. And when I went to college, I didn't pull an Andy and give him to another child as was the fate of all the Toy Story toys. No, I was too selfish and took him with me to grace the residence halls of USC. I was even tempted to take him to Germany with me for my 6 month stay.

Jacque Watene: When I was a little girl, I treasured magic and mystery. In fact, I still do. But when I was young, all of life was a wonder. I used to watch the Twilight Zone every evening with my dad, loving the sensation of being "spooked," yet knowing my protector was seated near enough that no harm would ever reach me. I was enthralled by stories of fairies and magical witches, and even aliens. Often during sleep-overs with my cousins, I would retell the mysterious, spooky stories I'd read or heard and then drift happily off to sleep while my poor cousins would lie awake in bed, watching the moon just outside my window, scared witless! To me, life without magic would be like watching the world in black and white. Magic is what colors our existence!