My First!


This post is about my first, my very first ………….. stuffed toy. What did you think it was going to be about? I have quite a collection of stuffed toys and toy figurines which were all given to me by friends and loved ones. For some reason, I got a reputation of being a stuffed toy collector and the toys kept coming.

My wife is also a collector and of course, I have contributed to her collection as well. If you could see our bedroom, you will find her menagerie neatly arranged next to her side of the bed and mine in a playful jumble on my side.

My reputation for stuffed toys started with a few which came as gifts from close friends and took off from there. My very first one was very special as it was hand made by my girlfriend, Julie, at that time. Although it has seen better days and is a little tattered, it still holds a lot of sentimental value for me.

This picture which was uncovered from a current archeological dig, shows a very much younger me posing with the stuffed animal perched on my shoulder. I was a student living in University accommodation at Chelsea College, London, England. This photo is very important for two reasons. One, it shows the object of the post today and two, it is scientific proof that I was skinny once!

Anyway, if you have not already guessed, the animal on my shoulder is a penguin. No ordinary penguin, mind you! He goes by the grand name of Oliver Noona-Nanook of the North. He was dubbed “Oliver” in remembrance of a trip that Julie and I had shared on a boat named the “Cromwell”. I am sure most of you would know about Oliver Cromwell from English history. “Nanook of the North” was actually the world’s first full length documentary and was about an Inuit and his family in the Canadian artic and was filmed in 1922. It was just a way in my crazy mind to link the poor little chap to his frozen northern heritage. Finally, “Noona” was just added as it sounded like a nice accompaniment to “Nanook”. Also, my friend, Helen the Greek Goddess, told me it was a term of endearment in Greek. While she was not always the best source for reliable information, I used it anyway.

And so, Oliver Noona-Nanook of the North was christened. Needless to say, it did not take long for him to be called by the shorter pet name of “Ollie”. So he became, Ollie the penguin.

Over the years, I have also had “Cedric the Snake” (cause bureaucrats are snakes and Cedric sounds like a bureaucrat’s name)and Tubby (the cap wearing rabbit-bear thingey, on account of his pot-belly, just to name a couple.

My wife’s collection is much larger but two recent acquirements were a couple of bears dressed in the style of the Roaring Twenties which she got on special offer at Starbucks. Very imaginatively, she named the female bear, “Starr” and the male bear, “Bucks”.

What strange animals cuddle next to you in your sleep? …..And please no jokes at the expense of your spouses.

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