In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Prized Possession.”
My parents were not big on toys…They were newly arrived post war immigrants from the Ukraine, and understandably survival was upmost on their minds. I did not have a deprived childhood, and the spirit of play and imagination does not require tons of plastic to express itself.
I remember having a book that would keep me busy for hours. It was a large book, perhaps 12 inches by 16 inches. I would sit endlessly and flip those pages taking in every detail of the illustrations. It followed the shenanigans of a young colt through the forest. The trees and woodland animals were so beautifully drawn that I would amuse myself for hours ogling the handsome colt as he kicked his heels in frolic along his way . I wish I remembered the name of the book as I would seek it out now for my grand daughter.
I also had a set of blocks which I cherished. These were wooden blocks that had scenic pictures pasted on to them…I recall a scene from Snow White, there was one with Cinderella, Pinocchio, Rumpelstiltskin, Handsel and Gretel, and last but not least, Little Red Riding Hood. These were my two most treasured possessions. If I remember correctly, they were my only possessions. They were handed down to me from my sister as she was three years older than I and had moved on to other interests. I believe I might have been four or five at the time. I no longer played with the blocks, but relished gazing at the pictures. I kept these two most valuable items on the floor in my closet, well hidden I thought. At times when I needed comfort I would open the door, go inside, and sit on the floor while examining the lovely pictures that would launch my imagination off into another world. One of beauty and challenge and happy endings. I derived an inner comfort from knowing that the book and the blocks were there, my secret, and available to soothe me at anytime that I was able to peak at them.
I had been out with my father, which often happened.. he took me with him most of the time. My sister would stay with my mother. On this particular day my mother was expecting a visit from a friend of hers.
When I arrived home, I went straight to my closet and riffled through my hiding space. I did not see my book or my blocks. A pain shot into the pit of my stomach. I realised they were gone and suddenly my breaths were racing . Tears flooded my eyes and one rolled down my cheek. I made not a sound. My body tightened with panic and disbelief. What could have happened to them.
My mother entered the room, she found me sitting on the floor of my closet in tears. She asked what was wrong. I asked her where my blocks had gone. She informed me that she had given them away to her friend for the use and pleasure of her friends daughter, Martha. Hearing those words, I felt another jolt and my heart sank. I had not given up on them and hoped they were just misplaced, moved to another location. They were not. “Shame on you ” my mother said, “You are to old to play with those blocks”. They were beautiful and a comfort to me and I liked knowing they were mine.
Oddly, sometimes I still think of them…. things often moved in and out of my life. I learned that we don’t own anything really… just here to use it for a while.
Now that I have lived several decades since this painful lesson, I find it not only appropriate, but also useful….focus on the intangibles. What we can and will take with us is our evolving consciousness. I still enjoy seeing and owning beautiful things, and at the same time I am comfortably detached. I am as happy without my things as I am with them.
Just not my toothbrush.