Friday, December 8

Henry.

As me and the Missus were moving all of our things over to our new house this September, I realized just how many childhood items that she still has.

You see, the Missus lived at one place with her parents all of her life, until she moved out with me. She never had any reason to get rid of anything. Her old bedroom still looked the same right up until she left it; stacked with boxes of childhood toys, stuffed animals and letters from old pen pals. It always gave me a very nostalgic feeling, because this was something I've been detached from for quite some time.

The concept of holding onto childhood items is quite foreign to me. I had moved five times before I even turned 18, and my parents divorced when I was 10. I was bounced around many different houses of varying sizes and shapes for two decades, and every time I did, some more of my belongings didn't make the trip.

It's almost impossible for childhood things to survive that much torture. When you have to move all the time, you have to give up things due to space or work limitations. Everytime I packed up my belongings, more and more of my childhood disappeared. Sometimes, they would get lost along the way. Other times, I was forced to choose what I would bring along and what I would toss. By the time I reached adolescence, almost everything I had as a kid had vanished.

Apart from that, I was hit with a massive bout of OCD in my early teens, which caused me to essentially become a monk and throw out all of my possessions. My opinion at the time was that the core of pain and envy was desire and material things, so I thought a life of nothing would make me a better man.

Didn't work. I was shocked.

As an adult, I've collected nostalgia items from the 80's as a way to re-live the childhood I no longer have. However, there is just no substitute for the real deal, no matter how many garage sales I visit. In the end, I'm just playing with someone elses' childhood toys. Every time me and my family moved, the rooms got smaller and the space was more and more limited. Decisions had to be made, and there just wasn't any room for the past.

Except for Henry.

Me & Henry - 1985.
(This is me and Henry, circa 1985. He's a stuffed dog, and you can see him in the right-hand background of this photo, with his ass up in the air. Forgive me, it was the best shot I could find.)

Henry is my childhood; it's all that's left. If I lose Henry, I lose everything.

As the story goes, Henry was given to me on the day that I was born in 1982. Even though that was 24 years ago, the approximate birthdate of Henry is closer to 1970.

Henry is in amazing shape for something that's been around for 36 years (he looks a lot better than I do, and I'm 24). He's been wrestled with, punched and kicked, slept with and tossed around the yard. He's been spun around by the arms and legs, and continues to come back for more.

He comforted me when I was sad, took the brunt of my violence when I was angry and listened to everything I had to say as a young child. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that Henry is the only childhood toy I have left. It's the only proof I have of my adolescence.

As people age and their lives begin to evolve, you may feel the need to re-invent; start anew. Let it be said, however, that the basement is a far better home for your youth than a dumpster.

Me & Henry - 2006.
(This is me and Henry, taken yesterday. As it turns out, this stuffed animal is quite rare, and is going on Ebay for upwards of $400. You're never getting it from me.)

What's your Henry? Sound off in the comments section and get nostalgic this Friday.

NEXT WEEK: SWEEPS MONTH CONTINUES!
(The CDP's Top 20 Albums Of 2006 - All Next Week!)

Comments:
Woah, that picture of me is large and unappealing. It was taken on a whim, so don't judge.
 
I'm sorry :(
 
No, the Polaroid you sent me looks just fine, it's the one taken 21 years later that looks like crap.
 
Oh, I get it. You were apologizing for my childhood.

No biggie. I'm just fine.

In fact, me and the Missus just did a podcast where we were praising our folks for the way they raised us. Then we bust on other peoples' kids for about an hour. Expect to see that in a few weeks.
 
I have a brown dog wearing striped overalls and a matching engineer hat. As a child I creatively named him 'Engineer Dog'. It is my oldest toy and he has still survived today. The two shiny buttons on his shoulder straps have worn down revealing that one is blue while the other is red. Other than that he is prime and I have passed him down to my son who likes the name I originally gave him.
 
The last time I was in my parents' attic, I found an old stuffed tiger I used to sleep with as a child. I was helping my mom gather items to donate to Goodwill, and I expressly forbade her to donate it. Now I'm paranoid, and will have to search their attic the next time I visit.
 
See, this is what I'm talking about. I'm not the only one.

When you move around all the time, you start to wonder why you have so much stuff that you never use, and you start to think you'd be better off without it.

Then one day, you realize that everything you own can fit inside of a foot locker, and you start to get a little depressed.

JT - Your CDP/PBR Care Package was mailed out today.
 
I like that picture.
 
Thanks Kenny. As an aside, the 1985 Den had one of the darkest and most typical color schemes of the era EVER. It ruled.

Me and the Missus had a good time on Wednesday.

For the record, there was nothing in those judges' folders that was of any value, negative OR positive. In fact, two of them were completely empty.
 
I hope it has enough postage on it!!! I weighed it on our crappy office scale, so you never can be too sure...
 
Thanks CDP and Hathery, you two are awesome. CDP - you need more long-sleeved merch in your store...

My weekend promises to have a lame start, as tonight is the office party...sure, it's free booze, but my new manager will be there, so I'm going to behave.
 
We're doing the same thing on Sunday; hanging out with the Missus' boss. Hoo-rah.

Chris Woldt is the funniest comic in Madison.
 
I have a red and white striped blanket that has ragedy ann & andy on it..well, falling off of it. This blanket was given to me, like Henry,just hours after my momentous birth. It has the most unique texture, so anytime I find a shirt with that feeling, I am compelled to purchase it. And, at the age of 25, this blanket still makes it into my bed on occasion. This can be very embarrassing, as you can imagine, when I wake up in the morning next to a random guy I have brought home in a drunken stupor and there lies between us the tattered ragedy ann & andy blanket.
Was that too much information?
 
So, what's more embarrassing, the blanket or the random guy?

I suppose it all depends on the severity of the drunken stupor.
 
The blanket is more embarassing, I feel that boys would think it's a little odd/crazy.
At least the boy is just as embarrased as I am, especially if they are in my bed.
 
Well-played.

I had a blanket that I carried around for an endless period of time as a child. By the end of its tenure, it was full of holes and frayed to no end. My Grandma threw it away, and I effectively lost my mind. I'm still recovering.
 
I'm pretty sure I still slept w/ my blankie until we moved into our second apartment. I'm not even joking!

Now I sleep with a stuffed worm/caterpillar that the CDP bought me at the Mall of America.
 
It was her wedding present.
 
As a Navy brat, rather little of my childhood has survived, too. I don't have anything left that I acquired near my actual birth that I know of(except for a small strawberry shaped birthmark on my lower back, but I guess that doesn't count, eh?), but the next closest thing would be a baby blanket I acquired soon after. Amazingly it is still soft and in one piece, though slightly threadbare. I don't sleep with it, but I do know its location at all times.

However, stuffed animal-wise, I have a stuffed koala bear that my dad brought me back from Australia when I was probably 2ish (which would be around 1980).

However....

Koala is an ACTUAL "stuffed" koala. At least I think so...it is definitely a "stuffed," former alive, animal of some kind with real skin and fur, though a very simplified body that more resembles that of Pikachu (remember pokemon?). It is actually meant to be a toy and not mounted on a safari man's wall; it has a plastic nose and glass eyes and vinyl claws and is filled with stuffing, not offal. I'm kind of scared to find out if it is really a koala, or simply a bunch of rat fur stitched together to resemble one.

Whatever it is, I loved that thing to death, all around the paws and seams all the fur is rubbed off of it. And while now, the idea of it is disturbing to me to say the least (I'm not sure which would be worse, dead koala or dead rat or dead...something else), I can't get rid of it, it means too much.

Hmm, holding on to a stuffed dead animal of unknown origin makes for a kind of creepy childhood. This explains a lot, I suppose. Meh. Man, I hope what passes for toys in Australia these days is a little more humane. No wonder Russell Crowe turned out like he did.
 
That's pretty wild, Godot. I also hope that Australia has throttled back on the actual-stuffed-animal market.

Look at it this way; you have something that probably nobody else that you know has. Sort of like me, with my furniture fashioned out of human skin.
 
Maybe it's wombat fur...those seem to be fairly plentiful in Australia.
 
wow! I have my very own henry which I have had since I was 1 year old. I got him on my birthday in 1986 and still have him at my parents house in richmond, indiana. I picked up a second henry at a consignment shop about 12 years ago and now, along with Alf, sit on my bed at home. I might do a piece on Henry. Check it out at my blog:

hamstermanswheel.blogspot.com
 

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