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This Is Seal

This raggedy creature has been in my possession for forty-two years.


Once upon a time, Seal had soft white fur, long black whiskers, and black button eyes. Once upon a time, his stuffing held his head up high and proud, and he was plump enough for little-girl-me to use as a pillow.

But years and years of being tucked under my little-girl arm squished all the stuffing out of Seal's neck. Whiskers and eyes were replaced over and over--always via a careful surgical operation after Seal had been allowed to fall asleep so there was no discomfort.  His button eyes were replaced by two or three different kinds of eyes, until finally the current ones lost their pupils. The fur wore away bit by bit, eventually becoming so thin and sparse, the stuffing could be seen in some places.

I remember pressing Seal against my face and screaming when strangers pounded on my window and told me to run because our house had caught fire, and I had to run outside to stand in the dark while my dad climbed onto the roof with the garden hose to do what he could until the fire department arrived. (The garage and its contents were a total loss. The firewall saved the house from fire damage.)

I remember dreaming about Seal, my companion on so many imagined adventures.

I remember putting my stuffed penguin on the opposite side of the pillows, out of Seal's reach, when I first learned seals eat penguins.

I remember wondering, when I was about ten, if I'd still care about Seal when I was eighteen, or when I was an elderly thirty.

I remember stuffing Seal into the bottom of my sleeping bag when I went to Sixth Grade Camp, because I still wanted him with me but didn't dare let anyone else know. I remember using my feet to move Seal into my arms after lights-out.

And today? Seal sits on a shelf in my bedroom, worn and raggedy and dear. When my nephew was here--a boy who loves his Lamby as much as I loved Seal--he met Seal, and saw he doesn't need to get rid of his best friend in order to grow up.

Now that I think about it, only my parents have been in my life longer than Seal, and they only beat Seal by about eleven months.

I'm not certain why this became important today. Maybe it's just the comfort of knowing something -- something good and sweet and loving -- can endure through damned near anything, and still matter enough to make me smile.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, he's lovely. I have several original stuffies that are 'real' like that - so battered that no other child would want them, and I can't bear to think of them being just thrown away, so I told my daughter that when I go, they're to go in the wake-fire.

When I was about 10, I sewed a satin pillow, and stuffed it with the raggedy remains of my original baby blanket. That little pillow has had three new covers over the years and is about to get a fourth. ;~)
Apr. 6th, 2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
:) I love hearing stories like that.

My son still has his baby blanket, stored away. And I've enough of the same material I used to make it to make his first child one to match.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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