Monday, June 20, 2005

Gifts That Mattered

 Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of a gift that has sentimental value to you. If you like, explain the sentimental attachment. The gift can be anything that's important to you, from any time in your life, from a stuffed animal to a new car to a simple card that just means a lot. You pick the gift. - J.S.

My Saturn, March 30, 2005The best gift I ever got was also the biggest:  my 1997 Saturn.  You probably know what happened to that.  If you don't, you can deduce the answer from the picture at right.  It counts as a sentimental gift because my mom bought it for me at the beginning of the last year of her life.  Her entire estate at the end wasn't worth a third of what that car cost, but it was important to her that I have reliable transportation, both so I could take her to doctor appointments and so that she didn't have to worry about how John and I were going to continue to get by sharing her old 1984 New Yorker.  When the car was totaled earlier this year, my heart agitated for fixing it anyway, strictly because of the Mom connection.  Ultimately, though, I did the sensible thing, and got another car.

The second best gift I ever got was the digital camera I used to take the Saturn photo and the third photo in this entry (and, indeed, every photo I've taken since March 10th, 2005). The Canon PowerShot S410 was John's birthday gift to me this year, and boy have I used it!  The sentimental angle is that I love the camera--and the man who gave it to me.  Still, I'm not going to repost the picture of that gift here tonight.

Setting aside these two obvious big-ticket items, what I want to highlight are a couple of gifts that didn't come from relatives--not official relatives, anyway. 
TrophyFirst up is a rerun photo of Trophy, the stuffed poodle toy given me by Joan Fagan, my godmother, on the occasion of my baptism.  I was six years old at the time.  Trophy came on a red velvet pillow.  The combination of dog and pillow reminded me of the shape of a trophy, from a dog show, for example.  Hence the name.  I lost the pillow within a year or two, or possibly the maid threw it out.  She did things like that.  But Trophy I hung onto.  A friend's dog chewed on Trophy early on, but my mom sewed him back together.  (This is why one leg is shorter than the others.)  When I stayed with my dad's parents and sister for a while while my mom was in the hospital (in 1963, I think), Trophy came with me.  When he got all worn and torn, my Aunt Hazel restuffed him and sewed him up a second time. Years later, I replaced worn or missing foam with wadded tissues and possibly glue,and sewed him up again myself.  Trophy was at the head of my chronological list of stuffed animals that I often proudly recited: Trophy, Snoopy, Percy, Timmy, Toothy... well, I'm no longer quite sure of the exact list beyond those initial five.  But you get the idea.  Percy, Timmy, and most of the later additions are long gone, given to a neighbor child whose mother threw them away.  But I still have Trophy, Snoopy and Toothy, and still keep Trophy out where I can see him.  He's not pretty any more, but he is in effect my Velveteen Rabbit.  He's also one of my main memories of "Aunt" Joan.  I lost touch with her at least thirty years ago.

Tutti and...should I name the little dragon?The last photo features two gifts a couple of friends gave me in the 1990s.   Tutti came from my friend Linda, and kicked off my reaquisition of the Barbie-related dolls I had as of 1969.  Tutti  is Barbie's nearly forgotten little sister, who came out in 1966.  I got my original Tutti for Christmas that year.  During the winter I lost the doll in the little mountain of plowed snow at the foot of the driveway, but got her back in the spring.  I vaguely remember giving Tutti, Bubble Cut Barbie, Talking Stacey and Casey to a friend, probably Lori Thornton, when I no longer cared about them.  But once Linda got this replacement, equally vintage Tutti for me, I replaced the dolls I no longer had, and picked up a few that Cindy and Lori originally had as well.  Unfortunately, one hot Tucson summer I made the mistake of displaying this Tutti holding this green pail, and some of the green plastic melted onto the doll's arm.  Drat!  Sorry, Linda!

Also in that photo is a little dragon figure, given to me by Sara G. in 1992 or 1993.  Sara and Sarah were two of the most interesting "froods" on the old Prodigy Hitchhiker's Guide boards during that period.  They both got to read a version of my first novel, which probably explains why Sara sent me this neat little dragon.  Note that the dragon is a writer: he's holding a book and a pencil.  Sara told me many years later that it seemed like an appropriate gift for me.  Considering I'd never even met Sara at the time (and still haven't, except virtually), the gift was  a big surprise--and much appreciated.

It occurs to me that I could also have mentioned my first-ever dog, Jenny, given to me by Bob, and Tuffy, given to me by D.J. from work.  But dogs aren't gifts.  They're family!



ondinemonet said...

Hi Karen

I also recieved a Saturn for a present. Alan bought me a 1999Saturn SL1 for our 8th anniversary. I still have "Angelica," she is my girl. I know someday parting with her will has with all my past cars, but it will be the thing to do. I totally understand how you feel. I love the other items you mentioned as well.

Always, Carly :)

demandnlilchit said...

I never even heard of Tutti! lol But I do think I had a dress very similiar to hers though and I know I had a pair of white crinkle go go boots when I was 10! lol lol lol

ryanagi said...

I had a friend who gave me "Becky", the first Barbie who is physically challenged. Sharon gave me "Becky" when I was home recovering from my first major surgery. I loved Barbies when I was a pre-teen and Sharon rekindled my Barbie mania. She also sent me a cheerleader Barbie wearing her college's colors/uniform. LOL  I wish I hadn't lost touch with her. Since then, I've bought the Wonder Woman Barbie, the BatGirl Barbie, I Dream of Jeannie get the idea. LOL What better way to commemorate the icons of my youth than having them immortalized in Barbie form. :-)  But I couldn't decide on just one (or two or three) sentimental gifts for this photo challenge. It was too hard. I am WAY too was overwhelming to try and pick just a couple things.

madmanadhd said...

What wonderful memories. My love has a treasured item much like Trophy... hers is BooBoo a once-white stuffed dog that was given to her around her first birthday by a handy-man on her father's farm. She has Boo Boo wraped and carfelly tucked away as he has been well loved. Very cool story about the Dragon and doll given to you by Sara G. I just re-read the first Hitch-Hikers Guide at the encouragement of my daughter. Fun reading! Thanks for sharing Karen.

deabvt said...

Neat dragon!!