This is my very own Toy Story.
As with any garage sale that I find myself in, the only thing that really grabs my full attention are books. Like a bee dancing in the air and circling about in a garden, nothing is as important a goal for me as that nectar of nutrition that is the plot hidden inside a book.
In fact, my mind has its own secret code of an image for the impulse to find books – a purple bunny. But before today, until this moment when I saw a ruined and tattered cover of a children’s book, I could never remember how it became so. Now, as if a trigger has been pulled, there’s this epiphany – it was the Velveteen Rabbit! (Before you interject that the rabbit in question was in fact not purple but brown, the association is quite a simple and forgivable one, believe me. The story of the velveteen rabbit which I read was one of some four or five stories put together in a book and the color of the cover of the book was, you got it, purple.)
The Velveteen Rabbit wasn’t just one of the stories I’ve read when I was a child, it was an important milestone in my young mind.You see, I was born a third child of a very humble family. I was to become the third of four the next year with my younger sister and then of six with the identical twins after her and finally of eight after two more siblings. With a big family as ours, the hand-me-downs were a given but that only really worked a little more favorably for me and my older brother as we were the only boys. The hand downs of clothes and school supplies were necessary for us and we were fine with that but the toys were a different story because as much as possible our parents made it a point to select gender-neutral ones so that everyone could enjoy them. Among these simple treasures were the few books on our shared room’s little two-rowed bookshelf hung on the wall and they were to be the introduction to the limitless world of adventure against the limited circumstance that we all had to share. The purple book was my favorite one because for every page it has as much space for words as it does for it’s illustrations, sometimes even more!
“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
The story written by Margery Williams about the old and tattered velveteen rabbit that was about to be burned along with other things that a sick young boy owned was most etched in my mind. The toy was so loved that it came to life, just as anything that is given so much love could. What a fantastical notion it was and yet it made a world of a sense for me because I was the same way, someone born and given life through love. And I read that book every time I had the chance and it was as if I had the monopoly over it since I didn’t care much for the other toys my siblings wanted to play with. I kept on reading it even after we had to move from our house to our grandparents’ and I’ve read it every time I cleaned the big shelves of books there (they were three times taller than I was and had up to four rows each with lengths incomparable to our little shelf back at our old house!) I read it until the covers got tattered and wet from when I hid it under the bed and forgot about it for weeks and from when I spilled water on the table where I was reading it on. I read it for the last time when I got home for one summer break during high school and haven’t seen it since.
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Although it was lost to me, that book remains with me as the purple bunny I think of when I want to read more books. It will forever be the book that started my journey through literature which later sparked my will to write. It is my Velveteen Rabbit.
An entry for today’s Daily Prompt: Memories For Sale as with:
- The Velveteen Rabbit (heartmama.net)
- Love is What Makes Us Real (thecollaborationclub.wordpress.com)