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My daughter and now, both of her daughters have one toy that they cling to. For my daughter, it was her “Doll-doll”. I remember how she brought this rag doll with her everywhere we went. She couldn’t sleep without her “Doll-doll,” and it was crisis time if we visited someone and accidentally left “Doll-doll” behind. There was such weeping and wailing. The same holds true for her oldest daughter, who has her “Puppy” and for her youngest, who has her “Bun-bun”.
I often wondered how it is that they formed such an attachment to stuffed animals or a rag doll, but then, I look in the toy room, where the grandchildren come to play, and I see Harvey. Just thinking about Harvey puts a smile on my face. Suddenly, I realize that the apples didn’t fall too far from the tree.
I got Harvey in either the late sixties or very early seventies, when I was between eight and ten years old, and he was one of a kind, which is probably one of the reasons I loved him so much. He was a misfit among all of my dolls and my other cute little stuffed animals. Harvey, named after one of my stepfather’s coworkers, stands at not quite three feet tall. He has a hot pink shirt, plaid pants with a hat to match, and a psychedelic flower tie. He looked like one of the toys Santa had picked up from the island of misfit toys, and Santa gave him to me, a misfit little girl, and I loved, (Oh, who am I kidding? I still do love him!) Harvey’s unique individuality.
Harvey always took center stage, as I made my bed everyday and placed him in just the right spot so that he was the main focal point. Harvey has been with me through good times and bad. He has seen the many tears I’ve shed, and much of the pain I’ve borne. Harvey watched in silence while I changed one of the grades on my report card, and he kept my secret. He also bore witness to the many beatings I received the day my parents learned about my deception. He watched as my parents came into my room, cursing me and swearing at me, telling me that they were ashamed of me, and how they wished no one knew that I was their daughter. He was the one I clung to, when both mom and my stepfather left my bedroom, after taking turns and beating me. I muffled my weeping in his chest, for fear they would hear me and return to beat me. Sadly, that didn’t help me, as they kept returning, over and over again to beat me again and again, throughout that long night. I held Harvey tightly as tremors of fear overwhelmed me, leaving me fearful of falling asleep, only to be snatched from my sleep for yet another beating. He was there as Mom kept returning to my room, calling me names, cussing at me and beating me over and over and over again.
Harvey was in the bed with me the day my stepfather molested me. He witnessed my fear and shame, without judging me or turning away from me. He knows that I was asleep in my robe when it happened.This little twelve year old did not entice him or flirt with him or tempt him as he claimed. I was in my bedroom, taking a nap after school. Harvey saw me open my eyes, and beg him to stop, and he saw me rush out of the room, when my stepfather left the house, so that I could call my Mommy to come and rescue me. Harvey saw my disappointment and pain, when Mom didn’t come rushing home to my aid, but waited until her regular time to come home.
He was there when both parents came in one at a time, and told me not to tell my sister, because they didn’t want me to hurt her. Neither one of them even acknowledged my pain. And Harvey also heard them each, individually come in and also tell me not to tell anyone else, or I would destroy our family. How I held Harvey tight and wept into his lion’s mane and buried my sobs into his chest, so no one would hear and know how deeply wounded I was.
Harvey remained my strong and silent lion, as I went through Elementary school, Intermediate school, Jr. High and Sr. High School. He quietly listened while I raged about the injustices of life, and he silently listened as I wept when I was rejected by other students and my teachers. Harvey quietly watched and listened when I talked about the boys I liked, and he patiently allowed me to squeeze him tightly while I cried when those boys rejected me. Harvey listened to my pity parties, and he listened when I rejoiced, many times singing into my hairbrush at the top of my lungs all of my favorite Donny Osmond songs, like “Go Away Little Girl”, and “Puppy Love.”
Harvey was also there when I went through my rebellious stage, stealing my mother’s cigarettes and smoking at twelve years of age, cursing and swearing like a sailor, sassing my mother and stepfather under my breath, being careful so only Harvey heard, and not my parents.
As I got older, I didn’t talk to Harvey anymore, but He still held the prominent place in my bed, and I still held him close to me at night, especially on those nights when I was fearful and anxious. Harvey was there in the room with me, when I started having panic attacks, at home, and at work. I was unable to catch my breath, as my heart pounded and raced, and my whole body shook with tremors, and Harvey knew how much I disliked the psychiatrist I was forced to go to at that time. I never shared anything with him, because he reported everything I said to my parents, and there was absolutely no trust between us. His diagnosis of my problems was that I was simply immature.
Harvey was there when I met the man that I would one day marry as well, and he heard me defy my mother for the first time, when she told me she didn’t want me to see my husband anymore. I told her that she could take anything else she wanted away from me, but I would not stop seeing my future spouse. We were married a few months later.
When my husband and I married, Harvey was moved into storage. This once loyal friend was no longer in my room, instead, he was put away to collect dust. It wasn’t until many years later, that my husband was in our attic, and he brought Harvey down to me. I smiled at Harvey with fondness. I still loved his loud flashy clothing, even though he was now dingy and dusty. I showed him to my grandchildren, who were at first a little frightened of him.
I haven’t thought much about Harvey lately, until this morning, when I was visiting my friend Sis Caddo at her blog, Grace Pieces, and she had written a post entitled “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Toys”. Intrigued, after reading her post, I clicked the link to the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Toys, and when I read the challenge and the rules, I just had to share my good friend Harvey with you. He’s a little tattered and torn now, and extremely dusty, but there’s still a place in my heart for him.
Cheryl A. Showers