Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Velveteen Rabbit - Remembering the Magic of Real

I recently finished reading The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams to Levi. In Williams' tale, the toys converse. One day, the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, "What is REAL?" and wants to know if it "means having things buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

The Skin Horse replies, "Real isn't how you are made...It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. 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."

Reading The Velveteen Rabbit brought a flood of memories to my mind. First off, I was remembering reading the story aloud to RileyAnn all those years ago. I had never heard of The Velveteen Rabbit prior to that time, but immediately fell in love with the nursery magic of Real. Secondly, I was thinking about an estate sale we hosted last fall, where there were so many beloved toys that must have been Real at some point to some very special children.

I specifically remember the daughter (now in her fifties) walking me through the house before we agreed to the job. She pointed out Huckleberry Hound and told me her brother received him as a gift when he had a childhood ailment. Huckleberry had clearly seen better days. His "velveteen" fur was very dirty and worn. He had a hole in his ankle where an inner spring showed through. Some may have looked at Huckleberry Hound and threw him in the dumpster, but this woman knew the magic called Real that existed for him and her brother, who had since passed away. I also knew someone would see the specialness of Huckleberry and want to take him home....which they did.

Professor Carol Reynolds talks about looking for beauty in the small everyday things around you. Often times, we come across things while staging the house for a sale that are new to us. Some beautiful and some not so much. RileyAnn will tell you that every old lady has a collection, whether it be snow globes, doilies, dolls, or dishes. And, if they've lived through The Great Depression, they are savers of everything!....especially Cool Whip containers and Tupperware. We have had many a giggle over these small treasures.

Part of the reason we took that sale last fall, was because there were so many everyday things and books in every room. I could feel the house that built this family. The father was a university professor who died suddenly one day while mowing the yard. The mother was widowed for over thirty years before developing some dementia and moving in with a daughter in another state. It was obvious her world stopped the day her husband passed on, as walking through the house was a time warp back to the early 1980's.

I grew up in the 70's and 80's so a flood of emotion washed over me many days while we worked and prepared for the sale. There were toys I had as a child and books that we've read as a family. By the time the sale came, my kids had heard countless stories from my childhood that I had all but forgotten before being prompted by some item or another. It was a special time.

Then the actual sale date came. Not only did I experience waves of memories, but so did many of our customers. Time and again, we heard people say after walking through the house that it was like going home to the days of their youth. It was absolutely joyous to hear stories from people I had never met before, but yet had some new found connection with. We laughed and there was even a few tears. People purchased items simply because they brought back a memory of days gone by.

Cindy Rollins talks about remembrance and the importance of making and sharing memories with our children. Everyone of these sales we do provides an opportunity for time spent with my children creating memories. Being able to work with my kids throughout this process was amazing! Through the people and the stories, we made memories. We have since moved on to another estate, but no less memorable.

All this to say, whether in work or maybe just the mundane of everyday, you have an amazing opportunity to create special moments with your children. And, don't feel guilty giving your child time to play because you never know which thing will spark the magic of Real.

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