Who do you sleep with? by Bill Storie
That got our attention, didn’t it?
I saw some article a few weeks back which alleges that some 20% of us Oldsters still sleep with a stuffed animal. Now, you’re disappointed, aren’t you?
It didn’t elaborate as to whether it refers to people who live alone, or people who live with others but sleep alone, so I’m not quite sure the purpose of the study. I wonder if some Government body funded an enormous survey involving hundreds of survey participants and then people to interpret the results.
In any event, it did trigger some long-list thoughts in my mind.
I remember as a very young child my dad brought home a black cat (stuffed I hasten to add). Let me try that again – my dad brought home a cuddly toy that was a black cat. Got it now?
I loved this cat. I took it everywhere. We potty trained together !!
I remember one time my mum and dad and I went to visit an aunt who lived about 30 miles away. About half way there I realized that “Puddy” (yes, that was my name for him) was missing. I was so angry that he had missed the trip that I forced dad to turn back to get him. Boy did I scold him for not showing up. Of course, dear Puddy couldn’t work it out for himself but I treated him as a human being so I imagine I just saw him as having been forgetful that morning. The notion that I was to blame escaped me.
Then horror of horrors happened.
Puddy lost an eye. I woke up one morning with Puddy beside me as usual and when I said Good Morning he looked at me with one eye. In fairness, he wasn’t complaining or crying. He just lay there.
Obviously, the eye was in my bed somewhere so I started to look for it. Luckily, I had two eyes to do the searching while Puddy, poor wee soul, tried his best with just one eye. Under the pillows, beneath the sheets, under the bed, on the floor, on my bedside table. No luck. I was frantic, but in fairness Puddy seemed to be taking it in his stride. He was not a moaner. He was a trooper.
I was scared to tell my mum so I carried him under my arm for the rest of the day so she couldn’t see that he’d lost an eye. I figured she would have been upset with me.
That evening, Mum said, “Did you see that I washed that smelly cat of yours?”
It was obvious what had happened.
So, I had to look after my one-eyed cat for ever more. I still took him everywhere and we slept together/ I always had to make sure I had him lying on his right side so that when he opened his only eye he would be able to seem beside him. He needed the comfort of knowing I was there beside him. I had the same need of course.
When I left home I took Puddy with me. To university far away. He liked that. But, when I emigrated he somehow got lost in the shuffle and I never saw Puddy ever again. I was distraught. OK, so I was 27 by then but Puddy had been a huge part of my growing up.
In my mum’s final days before she passed, she and I sat reminiscing about times past. It was lovely.
I asked her, “Do you remember Puddy?”
Sheepishly she said “yes”. Then a tear appeared.
She said, “Do you know that I have carried the guilt of losing his eye all my life?”
“Really?” I asked.
“I knew how much Puddy meant to you and through my lack of attention I caused you so much anxiety for so many years. I could have checked the washing machine for his eye, but I didn’t I’m so sorry.”
We laughed. We cried. We hugged. It was a life-changing event in both our lives. The guilt of so many years ago had finally been exposed and resolved.
So, thank you Puddy. You really did a tremendous job of making me grow up – even to this day, as I’m retired I am grateful for Puddy’s contribution.
And if you still sleep with a stuffed animal (husbands aside !!) make sure you cherish it with every fiber of your soul.
Puddy’s r Us
By Bill Storie