Sunday, September 20, 2009


Mom said no to another 'stuffed animal'. That I had enough. But I was the one in the back of our hot cream-colored van, along for the ride to every garage sale in town.

Clowny wasn't my first stuffed toy, or even my last. But she is the most memorable.

Mom picked a 'boring house'. Gaudy old jewels and lace table clothes. Where were the bright plastic toys? The Barbies and board games? I followed my mom around while she oohed and aahed at this woman's 50 year old costume jewelry and Christmas ornaments. And then I found them. The only two items a child would be interested in at this sale. Two stuffed clown dolls. There was a Raggedy Ann doll and an old blue acquaintance. I can't even remember the price, but mom said no. She wasn't being mean, she just knew I had a room full of them at home. The old woman behind the folded card table must have seen my disappointment as I walked down her drive-way, back to the family van.
Then, the lady turned me around and handed me the soft clown doll. She told me she wanted me to have it. I was speechless and so happy.

I've kept this clown doll, since named Clowny (because I felt 'Clowny' is not a boy or a girl), for over 15 years.

How did Clowny become the last toy of my childhood? Why am I still holding on?

The sentimental attachment to certain objects can be almost impossible to separate. Items are constantly moving in and out of our lives, gaining importance, losing interest. In art, we learn detachment. It's a lesson one must learn fast. Things are bound to break, crack, explode, or just disappear.

What happens as we get older, that changes our levels of emotional priority? Look around you. What is the most important object in your life right now? Why?

Where did Clowny come from? Was this the last of this woman's childhood as well? Was she detaching her emotions of one object, to give away?
If I wasn't 7 at the time, I would have thought to ask.

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