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Monday, December 19, 2016

Favorite Stories at Christmas

By Sharon Hamilton

I've picked up a few books lately that depict old favorite toys. I'm beginning to feel like one now! (LOL). I'm sure you have your childhood favorites, too.

We recently recovered my old teddy bear, aptly named "Teddy" and I had him cleaned. I think he's rather handsome, don't you? His eyes are gone and half his hair is rubbed off, but I remember telling things to him when I was young - things I would never dare tell my parents.

I think that's why these old special toys mean so much to us. My little record player was also a favorite - but hard to hug in bed like Teddy was!

So here's my favorite passage from The Velveteen Rabbit, by Marjorie Williams. May your Christmas be healthy, merry and bright.

 Christmas Morning

For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor,
and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and
being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite
snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down
upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended
they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and
lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an
opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms. The Rabbit
could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that
real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust
like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and
should never be mentioned in modern circles. Even Timothy, the jointed
wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have
had broader views, put on airs and pretended he was connected with
Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel
himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who
was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by
side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." "I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. The Skin Horse Tells His Story
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Melissa Keir said...

What a great post! I love the old toys.

Cara Marsi said...

Merry Christmas, Sharon. What a sweet post. I have some old dolls stored in the attic, but my favorite doll, a Madame Alexander Alice in Wonderland, sits on the bookcase in my office. I've had Alice since I was eight years old, many, many years ago. Those dolls weren't to be played with. loved playing with her. I trimmed her hair and put red nail polish on her nails. She's still wearing her original dress and shoes but her sheer stockings went years ago. She's one of my most treasured possessions. Had I not played with her and kept her in the original packaging, she'd be worth a little bundle now. But what fun would that have been?

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thanks Cara and Melissa. I love this snippet and the old books.

Judy Baker said...

Your post made me think about some of my old toys that I hadn't thought about in decades! Thank you for the memory. Have a wonderful Christmas.

jean hart stewart said...

This brings back memories of my children and their favorite toys. Some of them got so tatty it was disgraceful, but that didn't stop the love...

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