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A Toy Story

Emma Pearce

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Before I was born, my most cherished toy was someone else’s. It was one toy among many in a plushie-infested bed; just one more animal in the masses of velvet frogs, cats in dresses, and aquatic mammals. This toy was nothing special to its first owner, but it soon became the main attraction of my own collection.

I had never been one to hold on to too many toys; usually, I would give it a naming ceremony and about a week later I would leave it in the playroom with all the other unwanted plushies. For the majority of my childhood, I had three constant toys: Pancake Bear. The flat teddy bear, Emily the shaggy little dog, and Turtle.

By the time I was old enough to name things, my absolute favorite name was Emily. I would have named Turtle Emily, but the name was already taken by my shaggy dog toy. I was so distressed by the thought I could not label Turtle with my favorite name that I decided to postpone the ceremony until a later date. Time passed and more and more toys moved to the playroom. Through this time, favored titles had come and gone but Turtle’s name never was updated, so Turtle continued its adventures with a placeholder name.

It was those very adventures that revealed my sometimes argumentative nature. As a self-imposed rule, I only ever brought one toy on trips, so I rotated through my three toys when my family went camping. More often than not, I could be found right before the trip arguing with Emily and Pancake Bear why Turtle had to come on this trip instead of them. Again. Turtle got more than its fair share of adventures in camping. My family discovered that I would almost always provide a counter to their words.

Years have passed since my days of arguing with toys; I have moved on to arguing playfully with my dad. Although Turtle, Pancake Bear, and Emily no longer compete, Turtle is still the only toy that holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it is the soft tufts of fluff that blankets Turtle’s squishy body, maybe it is the stitched on eyes that always seemed kind, maybe it is the calming presence reminding me of the times where my biggest worry was a scraped knee, and maybe there is no real reason for my devotion to Turtle even years after I grew out of toys.

Whatever the reason, my loving connection to this plush, two-toned turtle with a rattle in its chest has not dimmed with the years, but only moved farther back into my mind. When I see it sitting on my desk diligently holding down old math homework, I feel a rush of childlike happiness and contentment. When an upcoming test creates more stress than it should, hearing the familiar clink of the old rattle can be the best de-stressor. Although Turtle had a name and a life before me, its soft turquoise and pink form is a constant in mine.

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A Toy Story