Friday, January 18, 2008

La La Land

The stuffed animals from my mother finally arrive. Henry the hippo is my favorite because I can hold him in my arms and then I get this funny smile like I'm little again, except this time with hope. Or, I can lean my chin onto Henry's snout and pout with him. He's still awfully soft, it's impressive he's lasted so long since he was one of those cheap stuffed animals from the Ocean City boardwalk or somewhere like that, I can't remember if I won him.

What is it about a stuffed animal that can hold so much innocence? Even when undoubtedly made in a sweatshop there’s something that can radiate hope. Of course it's not the physical object, although about a year ago I saw these incredibly cute animals at the Made in Australia store and I got so excited because maybe they weren't made in sweatshops, and still the person working there instead know, they're made in China. Otherwise they'd be too expensive, the smallest one would be thirty dollars.

I was angry at this notion of whose expenses mattered, like stuffed animals were an important commodity that needed to be disposably cheap -- I'd pay thirty dollars, I said. Can you imagine -- how could thirty dollars be too expensive for a lifetime of memories?

I think Henry was ten dollars, that's what I'm remembering, I mean unless I won him at some game -- maybe ski ball, I was good at ski ball. That would have been in Rehoboth instead of Ocean City, usually we went to Rehoboth because it was closer no actually Rehoboth and Ocean City were the same distance but my parents thought Ocean City was tacky. And there was too much traffic.

Rehoboth was smaller and cutesier, other nights my sister and I stayed at home at the Sea Colony and listened to the ocean rise and fall while her parents went to restaurants with names like The Back Porch and The Blue Moon. And later on a newer one, La La Land. My father said we couldn't go with them, there were too many fairies. Eventually we were allowed to join them on occasion, but we still couldn't go to The Blue Moon because they had a bar.

Senior year of high school, beach week we went to Dewey Beach, which was right between Bethany, where the Sea Colony was, and Rehoboth, which obnoxious high school kids called Rehomo. Apparently our house was on the wrong side of Dewey, the gay side, it was maybe nine women and me and I was sharing a bed with the two women who were considered slutty, one of them was always trying to make out with me she would climb on top of me and the other one liked to party as much as I did so we always got along. She wanted this gray sweatshirt I wore, I traded it to her for a vintage green plaid shirt that was made of some kind of cotton that stayed shiny but smooth. Really it was too big, and later I regretted it.

This kid asked me why I wore such tight shorts if I wasn't gay, he was probably only a year younger than me but I thought of him as a kid because he was so annoying. Before then I hadn't realized that my shorts could be considered tight, I just wanted to squeeze into the smallest size possible because even though I wasn't anorexic anymore I still wanted my body to disappear then everything would be easier.


grantatee said...

those stuffed animals are cute.

thanks for sharing some of your childhood memories...

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh, I'm glad you think so too...

Memories -- any time -- lots more where those came from, I imagine.

Love --