Christmas 1982 I was a little farm girl furiously tearing through wrapping paper, uncovering every last present Santa had deposited beneath our skinny tree. I was especially fond of a Strawberry Shortcake doll whose belly would push out cool, strawberry scented air when squeezed. I carried it around with me everywhere until it was replaced by a Cabbage Patch doll the following year. However, since I was convinced that both Strawberry Shortcake and “Hannah Dale” the Cabbage Patch kid had feelings, I tried to find equal time for both of them.

I was reminded of the attachments we form in our childhoods to inanimate objects when I saw this monkey blanket on Saturday. Pauli’s youngest son, Owen, walked into the stands of Civic Field clutching it until it was time for a bathroom break. “Kar-Kar” was entrusted with it until he returned. Then, Owen and Monkey enjoyed watching Chuck play some football for a few hours.

What I love about childhood is that, for a magical period of time, our blankets, our dolls, and probably even plastic dinosaurs had feelings and emotions. We carried them everywhere like best friends. It was such a gloriously simple time, and we could never possibly know to appreciate it.

A lucky few, like Pauli and Karl, get to relive the miracle of childhood through their children’s eyes. I imagine having kids is A LOT of work, but I think the opportunity to rediscover life everyday must balance it out.

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