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.
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.
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.