Dec 3, 2010

being real


The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. 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."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. 

And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

excerpt ~ the velveteen rabbit
by margery williams

did you have a rabbit or skin horse or perhaps a leopard like elmer?

elmer came to me one christmas morning when i was about 6 years old ...
i remember vividly pulling him out of that long box and into my arms.

we were inseparable.

he had a zipper and a pouch for my jammies,
but i never put anything in his pouch ...
for me he was someone to cuddle with every single night.

in fact the crook of his neck made a perfect pillow
for many a dreamy sleep ...

and yes, i asked god to bless elmer in my bedtime prayers
along with my 'mommy and daddy, tommy, ronny and all the people in the world' ...
and our dog, ralph, of course!

elmer left home when i did
and has been close by ever since ...

i knew i wanted to take his pic for this post
and when i pulled him out from his safe keeping spot beneath our bed,
i got that same indescribable feeling for my dearest friend ...

i was so tickled at how vivid the colour of his nose, his one eye, tongue and collar were ...
i noticed the thread bare seam on his back splitting slightly more than before ...
elmer is even more beautiful than i remembered ...
worn from love ...
and so very, very real.

to the world you may be one person
but to one person you may be the world
~author unknown

be kind and gentle and true to you ...

you are really loved.



Leah C said...

The Velveteen of my very favorite stories! I still have an old "worn with love" teddy bear of mine; he's been with me so long I've forgotten how & when I got him. But I remember the love & comfort...very real:)

Crafty Girl said...

I love the pictures!!

Jill said...

I have no favorites from childhood but my two oldest girls 21 and 19 feel that way about their "blankies"! I enjoyed this post!

BonnieRose said...

beautiful post! My youngest daughter had her blankie.... and now at 16, she still touches it and holds it near her heart, when she goes to bed. xo

Kim Klassen said...

oh aeleen
this is lovely... truly!!

thank you!

my dad bought me a cabbage patch when you could not get them...they were sold out and parents all over were going mad trying to get one for their kids for Christmas.... Because Dad worked at Eatons... ( sure miss Eatons, he nabbed a few of them for me and my cousins) I was probably around 12? anyhow, I pulled Pat out when I was expecting Bryce...telling him, mommy's going to have a baby that's kind of like this baby.... :)
Pat and Brett were together for years.... Brett would rub Pat's bald baby head...very comforting. Pat will be with us forever.... never forgotten.

xxo, kim
p.s. sooo loved this!

Jamie said...

I got a little teary reading this - because I have a Teddy. He was made by my mom for my first Christmas (I was 3 months old.) He's still with me. His eyes have been replace more times than I can remember and currently his eyes are dried glue left behind from the other eyes. But he's been my buddy my entire life.

Dyche Designs said...

I loved this post, it made me tear up. What would be do without our long time friends. :0)

lisa said...

A beautiful post, and my very favorite book!

Gilding Lilies said...

What a sweet and touching post. I loved the pictures. I have a stick pony that looks very similar. I loved to ride.

ELK said...

one of my very favorite childhood stories that touches adults as well..maybe even more..your photos as always are so gentle and special!!

Mary my stuffed bull dog survived THREE older brothers and sits quietly in my daughters room!!

dbalyoz said...

you know I still have my very first stuffed animal. he (barbar) was once a pink elephant. now faded to white cream grey and sitting proudly on my daughter's shelf. she know's that he is 'mama's elephant' though...:) xx denise

kelly@thebluemuse said...

oh my, yes, i had a red and white teddy bear, he slept with me every night throughout my childhood and into my teens, although i would never have admitted that then!
i still have him, he is very scruffy and fragile and has no nose, but we do get so attached to these cuddly friends, it does seem that they become real.