Earliest RecollectionsI don't know who gave me Doctor or why? I believe I had recently watched Doctor Doolittle. And so, when I was presented with this guy, he reminded me of said character. But I do not remember either our first meeting or the naming ceremony. As such, there really is not much to say about this time period.
Purple CatAt another time (perhaps, on Easter), I was gifted a Large Purple Cat. I believe he was one of those large sawdust filled contraptions. And between the leakage of sawdust and wires poking out of his neck, he did not last a single day. I believe he was taken away the same day he arrived. This may have been a common occurrence. But I do not remember any other Stuffed Animals that met a similar fate. And in some ways, I still mourn the loss of that Purple Cat.
The Great PurgeAt some point, I had Chicken Pox. For much of the duration, I was restricted to my bed... quarantined, as it were. I like to think I was a relatively well behaved child. So, I did stay in that bed... except to cross the room to gather my Stuffed Animals, making a sort of nest out of my blankets, a ridged circle with myself at the center, the perimeter lined with all my Stuffed Animals. Since I had gotten all my Stuffed Animals into the nest, there could not have been that many of them... 20-50, maybe. Eh, that may sound like a lot. And for a child, it was. When I told this story (in the past), I used to say hundreds. But since most (if not all) of those Stuffed Animals fit in the nest with plenty or room for myself, there could not have been hundreds.
The pertinent point is that I had left my bed to gather the Stuffed Animals. That was against the rules. And as such, the punishment handed down was the loss of all those Stuffed Animals but three. I could pick which ones to keep.
- Winnie The Pooh
- <Who Knows?>
But then, since I still remember The Purge, clearly they were all important.
Later in life, I witnessed similar procedures acted out for others. In theory, the culled toys were placed in a box, as the reaction was accessed, so any mistakes could be reversed. But I never witnessed the return of anything... ever. Eh, maybe the one. But I don't think that particular item was ever intended to be a hard cull. It was put into cold storage... for safe keeping, as it were.
I do not believe crying was considered a meaningful style of communication. And well, not crying meant those toys were headed for the bin lickity-split. So, from my perspective it was a no-win situation.
Play TimeI do not remember playing with Doctor all that much. Like, it would have been a rarity for me to put a gun in his hands and play war or have him do much of anything. Based on his namesake, he did do a bit of Stuffed Animal First Aid. But as I wasn't all that great at sewing, neither was Doctor. And I do not recall his services ever being in high demand... nor did I ever much want them to be. What I do recall is holding him a lot, sitting next to him a lot, and sleeping with him non-stop.
Interior DesignI doubt I had any input into the Jungle Room Design (per above photo). I liked it. Don't get me wrong. And it was done reasonably well from an Interior Design point of view. But it was not a reflection of my own desires. I was probably two or three when it was put together.
Later, the rooms were switched around and I got a much larger one. Yippie! Soon after, that second room was redecorated in a 1776 Revolutionary War Theme. I was away at Summer Camp (for a solid four weeks), so it is hard to plead deprivation. But when I returned, my room was all done up in this new style, which was great. And all my belongings had been lovingly culled, sorted, and organized on my behalf. This being unexpected, I do not know what was removed nor did I ever miss anything. But you know, I do feel like making note of the event at this remove. So, I'm thinking there is something (some kind of emotional reaction) there.
I'd probably have different feelings about the enterprise if I had been consulted. As of late, I like to play a game where I live my life differently, change things. And in that game, my room has more of a pirate theme, complete with bunk beds for sleepovers. But neither pirates nor bunk beds were important to me back then. And after a few moments, I accepted the change and moved on.
There are two other little items of interest to discuss, therein, though.
First, my personalization of the larger room remained minimal even throughout my teenage years. There were two double-door closets in the room. Let's call them 6'x3' each with two doors at 2'. They were nice closets with built-in shelves. And I was allowed to decorate the closet doors however I wanted. Mostly, I taped up hand-drawn faces of folks with big-heads, sort of like caricatures. But I did put up at least one poster, which I had to cut in half on account of the double-door running through the center.
The second item concerns the room decorations, themselves. The furniture was a fake-wood bedroom set, three dressers, shelves for on-top of those three dressers, a corner desk, a night table, and a final piece about halfway in size between the dressers and the night table. That's not very Revolutionary. So, bathroom mats in the shape of a Drum and a Soldier (so, two of them) hung on the wall. And although I am sure I could have ditched them as I got older, I don't think I took them down... or if I did, not until I was seventeen or so. But all of these items were just background noise. For the most, a chest of drawers is a chest of drawers. No. What really mattered was the Stars & Stripes header stripe (a 12" tall runner of wallpaper) that wrapped around the top of the room. For in this bit of trim, I often watched witches dance and cavort.
WitchesThe Witches were not named accurately, like, at all. Falling asleep, lying in bed, that wallpaper stripe would come alive and dance about the room. So, we are talking about pre-dream visual effects, hallucinations, and visions. They scared me. And I am sure I spent many a night clutching Doctor, watching the world spin... until I discovered The Witches could not penetrate a layer of cloth. I slept with my head under the covers from that point onward.
One of my great regrets in life (there are so many) is that I ran from these visions rather than embracing them. Of course, this was back in the days of nightmares. And I didn't have any meaningful guidance in the handling of these visions. So, I never stood a chance.
Now? For the most, I cannot be bothered... nor can I (very easily) turn off the narrative play-by-play that fills my mind, as often as I might like, to gaze upon what patently isn't there.
But then, when I recall what has been good about this day (in the Modern Era) thus far, I would have to put my recollections from The World of Dreams at the top of the list.