When I was a kid, my mom and I played a game. We hid a little rubberized clown named Bendable Buddy around the house in odd places for the other to find. Whomever hid him last often heard peals of laughter and knew instantly he had been discovered.
We tried to be clever with our hiding places. I tied him to the blade of the ceiling fan. Mom squeezed him in the egg carton. It was so much fun trying to outwit each other. Sometimes we caught each other in the act and had to abandon our plan. The hilarity continued for years.
I moved out when I was 18, but still lived in town. Mom of course was a frequent visitor and so was Bendable Buddy. She would sneak him in; on the lookout for a covert spot, me pretending I didn’t know what was going on. As soon as she left, the search began and still giggling over the cleverness of wherever he was discovered, I would call her so we could share the joy of our ritual. And then I always made sure he always found his way home to her again!
Bendable Buddy was quite the traveler too. His early journeys included Canada, around the United States and a Caribbean cruise, stowed away discreetly in my suitcase. I sent him to the Bahamas with her and dad. The search for him became as much of a game as hiding him.
I hadn’t thought about Bendable Buddy in a long while. He had been packed up with all my parents belongings that were stored in my garage when they moved to an Assisted Living Facility nearly a decade ago. Mom had been ill several years before that and no longer drove. The game had not been on our radar for some time.
After my parents passed away, most of their things were brought to my home, boxes and boxes of memories stored in our garage. I still haven’t been able to go through all the boxes. There are some memories I’m not prepared to deal with yet.
Then he appeared on day. I found him inside a drawer in a rolling cabinet in my kitchen that my dad had made, tucked in next to the silverware. The tears flowed and I broke out in a huge grin at the same time.
For weeks he sat on my dresser, his happy face greeting mine every day. Bendable Buddy may be just a toy to some, but to me he is a an important memory I shared with my mom. He reminds me of silly mother-daughter times, giggling and feeling loved. He helps me remember the twinkle in my mom’s eye and her beautiful smile and, how much I miss her.
Memories are powerful. They evoke so many emotions. But most importantly, they connect us to the people in our lives and the events we experience. They tell the tale of our past and shape our future too.
Our stories are composed of our memories. They are created with family or friends, or our own private journey. They bring joy, evoke tears and fill our heart.
Silly old clown. I’m so glad I opened that drawer.