Mysterious Strawberry Thread

strawberry shortcake house

It’s just a little box—plastic, slightly musty and the stickers peeling off. But inside? A treasure trove of delicious jewel like morsels of childhood. When my mom fished my Strawberry Shortcake house out of the attic, I was immediately familiar with it. There was no flood of memories or emotion–it was just an intimate reacquainting.

I looked at each figurine with the same delight as meeting a long lost friend. I brought the figures to my nose hoping to smell the lingering fruit scent. And I think I did–or maybe I was imagining it or just remembering. I set out Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Muffin and Lemon Meringue back in their spots (with an adeptness that only comes with familiarity). Then I presented my old friends to a new one–my 1.5 year old daughter.

She oohs over their bright (or, once bright) colors. She sorts, holds and plays with them like any child would. But she doesn’t see what I see. She doesn’t see and feel the family and love and comfort and security I see encapsulated in that toy–a picture of my growing up years.

strawberry shortcake house

But my mother? She sees something that neither my daughter nor I can see. She sees a 5 year old Amanda dumping her treasured Strawberry Shortcakes dolls in her mama’s lap. A gift for a friend from her Daddy’s work. A little girl who’s house burnt to the ground.

Mama wouldn’t let me give the whole house. Not every figurine. But some did go. Daddy took my gift of little Strawberry Shortcake friends to work and passed them on to his co-worker who gave them to his daughter.

Strawberry Shortcake. Circa 1983.

And somewhere (I imagine) there is a grown woman discovering her old Strawberry Shortcakes in the attic. And she is remembering them as a gift after a traumatic time in her life. I wonder if she feels the mysterious thread that connects us?

And now I know why this toy of so many is the only one kept in the attic all those years.

{This is an exercise in prompted writing from a Wisdom Workshop at Blissdom. I did not go back and correct anything. Just wrote. Thank you, Amber, Mrs. Flinger and Sara Sophia for the inspiration!}

Comments

  1. Amanda, I love it!

    I’m so glad these things came to mind. I flash straight into my elementary year’s rainbow suspenders when I see these toys.

  2. Wow! I had that same little collection when I was little.

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  3. I love Strawberry Shortcake! I think I still have a stub of a pencil in a desk drawer somewhere, not because it’s useful (the eraser is gone, and there is seriously only about 2″ left of it), but because it smells like Strawberry Shortcake!

    Yesterday at a consignment sale I picked up a copy of the exact same Sleeping Beauty book that I had as a little girl. I bought it for myself (*ahem!*) for my toddler, you know… for when she’s older. ;-)

  4. oh, does that bring back the memories. not only did i have that playset – i had a whole bedroom dedicated to miss. shortcake. i think i dressed up as her for 3 straight halloweens! (plastic dress and mask)

  5. Oh, most definitely did you smell them for real! I pulled mine out a few years ago for my girls and they still smelled (Lemon Meringue was my favorite). It was indeed magical.

  6. Amanda, that’s beautiful. As in, I’m crying. Not that it takes much – and it IS the end of a long day. But more than your writing (which is lovely), I’m touched by the picture of your heart. It was so big, even when you were so little. I love that. And you. You know.

  7. First, very beautiful, Amanda! It’s the awesome of memories.

    Second, it makes me kind of insane that the only baby doll Libbie does NOT play with is my beloved Cabbage Patch, Ginger. Maybe I will hide her and she will be MY doll still. :)

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