Thursday, July 14, 2011

The gangs all here.

When I was younger my girlfriends and I would often have impromptu sleepovers at each others houses on the weekends. Most of the time we would end up at my house, with our sleeping bags sprawled out across the living room floor and the hi-fi blaring the 45 of “Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s. Jenny, Lea, and the two Susie’s would grab a toothbrush, a loooong nightshirt (I coveted Jenny’s pink Mork and Mindy one…) and a bag of Cheetos and show up at our front door ready for a fun, loud, mostly sleepless night.

We ate pizza, played board games with exclamation points at the end of their names (Sorry! Trouble!), ate Cheetos (both puffy and crunchy varieties until our fingers were permanently stained orange), and watched MTV.

We were all still into stuffed animals around age eleven, but “cool” stuffed animals. My stuffed buddies may not have been very soft and sweet to snuggle up with at night, but they sure looked cool displayed neatly on my bed, underneath the puffy rainbow and cloud “artwork” that hung on my wall.

Below is a list of my essential plush toys, circa 1982, ranking from least to most important:

Flying Stuffed Kliban Cat.
Back in the day Kliban cats were everywhere. Coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, and stuffed animals. This stuffed cat was more like a pillow, all one piece with no jointed arms or legs on him. I thought Kliban (as I cleverly named him) was very cool due to the fact that he was black, white and red – very grown up colors. I didn’t even consider Kliban a stuffed animal or toy, he was more like a piece of art. Years later I learned that the artist who created the cat is mostly famous for his dirty/funny cartoons that he contributed to Playboy Magazine. If I had that information at eleven that would have upped Kliban’s status significantly.

This was probably the tail end of my love for Snoopy - his last hurrah. I had gotten him years earlier as a Christmas gift. Snoopy was the predecessor to my Barbie Dolls, as he had interchangeable outfits that I could dress him up in. But they weren’t very exciting outfits - a Beagle Scout uniform, a rain coat, and a British Beefeater - you can see why I was beginning to lose interest.

Rainbows, Pegasus and unicorns, how did I love thee? A LOT - unicorns were numero uno in my sticker book. I had a unicorn poster on my wall, two little hand painted china unicorns with shiny gold horns on my dresser (one standing, one laying down sleeping sweetly) and my unicorn stuffed animal. I was very gentle in handling my Unicorn, as not to dirty his pretty white coat. His horn stood out majestically, a bright yellow-gold color. He slept at the foot of my bed to avoid me possibly rolling onto him and crushing him in the middle of the night. Like Snoopy was my practice Barbie, Unicorn was my practice child.

I loved Garfield before he became so popular he was annoying. Before people had smooshed stuffed Garfield’s coming out of the trunks of their cars, before everyone and their mothers knew he liked to eat lasagna, and waaaaay before the film version with Bill Murray, I loved Garfield. Garfield slept with me every night, right next to me with his big fat head/body combo on my pillow. He had big, plastic eyes and wiry whiskers that popped out of the sides of his head.

When we would go upstate to Rochester to visit my mom’s family, my dad and my Uncle Bob would kidnap Garfield and send me into a pre-teen tizzy. They knew how much Garfield meant to me and thought it was funny to torment me by putting Garfield into dangerous/near death situations. Sometimes they would leave ransom notes with demands, other times I would find him in the oven. But the worst was the time I found Garfield hanging from a noose around his neck off of the back porch of my grandparent’s house. That one actually brought me to tears, and that was the last time Garfield ever went missing/tried to off himself.

Today, I am not one of those people who thinks a teddy bear on my adult bed is cute, (although the Kliban Cat might still be acceptable). No more Snoopy, Unicorn, or Garfield in my life. Just the memories of my plush friends, who stayed up all night, partying all night with my girlfriends and me.

And Garfield, wherever you are living today, I hope your life is a lot less stressful.


Susie #2 better have washed the Cheetos off
of her hands before holding my precious Unicorn.

1 comment:

  1. I was totally LOLing at all the precarious garfield predicaments until you said the noose. I concur, that is taking it just a liiiitle bit too far.

    Love the memories I'm getting of my own history of plush toys. Ironically enough, I had a large snow cheetah that I named "cheeto". He was my fave. :)