ImageI am currently enrolled in iversity’s Future of Storytelling.  My first assignment is to recall a story (written, heard or seen) that greatly impacted me.  After summarizing the story, I have to explain the context in which the story was important to me or influenced me.  Below is my response to this assignment.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams is a children’s story that explains how a toy can become real through a child’s love.  The Velveteen Rabbit begins his stay in the nursery as the laughing-stock of all toys because he is an old-fashioned stuffed animal with no modern-day mechanics or tricks.  He actually sits neglected for a long while until he is used to replace the boy’s missing bedtime toy.  The boy becomes attached to the Rabbit and takes him everywhere.  The Rabbit becomes shabby in appearance but does not mind because the boy believes the Rabbit is “real”.  The boy becomes sick with scarlet fever and the doctors insist all the toys and bedding must be burned or thrown away, including the boy’s beloved bunny.  The Rabbit cries while mourning his fate.  The nursery fairy then appears and bestows upon him some magic to turn him into a “real” rabbit that he has seen in his forays into the forest with the boy.  The Velveteen Rabbit is overcome with joy at being able to run, hop and play with the other rabbits and still remain close to his boy.

I don’t know how old I was when I first read this story but I remember that I began to place a lot of sentimental value on all of my stuffed animals.   I did not drag my toys around or even play with them enough to lose their aesthetic value.  I did remember the occasion in which I acquired each animal and I used those toys as a never-ending bond to the giver of each one.  When I was twelve, I was in a car accident that required a hospital stay and subsequent surgeries.  I racked up quite a collection of stuffed toys during that three-year duration.  Even though I was well into my teens and had outgrown the security of my many plush toys, I refused to give them away or trash them.  I was emotionally invested in the toys merely because of the circumstances in which I received each one.  To me, they were all “real” in that they represented real people who had shown me real compassion at a time I needed it most.  In ridding my room of these toys, I felt I was dishonoring the memories of those that had loved me.  When at last I was married and acknowledged the need to sever my ties to these childish items, I passed them on lovingly to other children that I hoped would love them and make them “real” in their own hearts.

Advertisements