When I first read the funny/sweet/touching posts at Mrs. Flinger, Whoorl, and Mamalogues about their favorite childhood items I thought that it was very sweet that they actually had a tangible part of their childhood with them, because I sure didn't. I've moved around too much for that, and I'm pretty intense about decluttering.
Then I remembered a certain little someone who has been patiently by my side for at least 25 years:
I don't even remember ever not having my Monchichi - I just remember that I LOVED him when I was a little girl. It was the only toy I ever truly loved - I couldn't care less about Barbie, and other stuffed animals were just more things to put away at the end of the day.
But Monchihi was different. He is different. Just look at his face! Could you imagine throwing him out? I can't:
I remember cleaning his face with rubbing alcohol (thereby rubbing off the paint on his nose and cheeks.) I remember giving him baby powder "baths" and dressing him in doll clothes. (The indignity!) He was always around, but I never bothered to give him a name. He was just Monchichi.
We left the Dominican Republic and moved to Miami when I was twelve going on thirteen. I must have outgrown him by then, because I don't remember putting him in the "Toys to Give Away" pile. I was so excited about our new life in the States that I packed my small bags with surprisingly little and never looked back.
It wasn't until I was in college and my sister came back from a trip to the Dominican Republic that Monchichi and I were finally reunited. She'd stayed with our cousins, and when she saw the cheeky little monkey in my cousin's room she just had to bring him back for me. My cousin, who by then had outgrown him just like I had so many years before, couldn't have cared less. We all had a big laugh when he came out of my sister's suitcase: It was hilarious! Of course he came back to my dorm room with me. And then he was packed up and lived in a box in the basement of every house or apartment building I've lived in since college.
My cousin, the one who had inherited him and given him back just to give me a laugh, died of lymphatic cancer three years ago. I didn't really know my cousin - she was just a little girl when we moved away - and we never kept in touch, but when I learned of her death the first thing I did was look for my Monchichi - our - Monchichi. I dug in the basement until I found him; he's just a stuffed monkey but he's also a connection to my past, to her life.
He now lives in my closet, where he greets me every morning as I stare at my clothes, trying to figure out what to wear. He's not much help in that department I'll admit, but he's great at reminding me that I must make the most out of today.