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Drama Historical Fiction Kids

(Write about a character passing down their favorite childhood toy to a new 

generation.)

They say looking back is futile.  Whatever is back there cannot be changed, it is too late to alter history or the facts, even on a very personal level, but I know, in my mind, looking back can bring understanding.

~~~~~

Christmas was a few weeks ago.  We, my husband and I, have a sweet and loving  five year old son.  The weeks before Christmas were one continuing, non stop series of lectures.  

After putting our son to bed,  sometime during the evening, my husband would invariably ask, “Did you make Sears and Roebuck richer today?”  Or he might ask about KMart or one of the local stores.  The point being,  he was sure I was overdoing the toy purchases.  

If truth be told,  I did get excited with each new purchase and I would scold myself,  “OK now, that’s enough, no matter what else you see, no matter how perfect the toy is, “No More”.  And then I would see something else and I would try to rationalize or justify buying just one more thing!  

The pile of wrapped gifts grew and grew,  expanding to under our bed, sticking out of the shelves in our closet, hidden in laundry baskets with towels on top to hide the bright wrappings.   I knew my husband was going to blow a gasket,  not so much the money, but rather the excess.

I remember getting half annoyed with him for making it such a big deal.  Christmas only comes once a year and for that wonderful time of love and giving, excess did not exist.

He would then tell me about his typical Christmas, as though that had anything to do with how things are today.  He felt fortunate indeed as some of his neighborhood friends received no presents at all, but HE always received a new pair of hand knit mittens from his grandmother, a new pair of knee socks to wear with his knickers and new super white underpants.  He was super delighted to be warm and clean and no more holes in his underwear.   And then he would give me this look….as though I was too dense to understand….he received important things...not toys!  Of course I would counter that look with a statement about him being too serious and too sour on life,  maybe he needed more toys when he was a kid!

In my case, we were a really poor family with a bunch of kids and we hand made things too,  but pretty things, fun things, things that made you smile or cheap dime store things, colorful and fun.  And so you see, I am driven by fun,  I could never understand his sour approach to such a giving and joyous time.

I think I have it now,  this year was an eye opener for me and maybe, just maybe, my husband saw a bit of light shine on his long held views too.

~~~~~

When the grandparents arrived, my husband’s folks, they had one large package for our son and an envelope with money to put away for college.  The envelope got torn open and thrown on the floor fairly quickly as the kid only had eyes for the bright colorful gift.  His granddad insisted on helping him open it so the gift paper could be saved to reuse.  

Inside the bright paper was a Grover doll, from the Muppets TV show.  It was nearly as tall as our son.  It was in a box with a clear cellophane or plastic covering.  There was a hole in the covering to pull a string and Grover would say a few words.  

Granddad held the toy just out of reach of our son and his lecture began.  

“Now you must leave Grover in this box,  he will stay nice and clean and you can pull this string and he will talk to you!  You will have him a long time and he will stay like new”  Don’t remove the cellophane,  it’s there so you can see him but he will stay clean!”

I laughed and truly thought it was a joke.  I questioned how a child was supposed to snuggle up with a box!  How could a child love something he couldn’t get close to?

My husband sided with his Father and told our son to listen to Granddad.  

Granddad finally handed the toy to our confused son who tried to pull the string without really touching anything.

I was appalled!

~~~~~

It took three days of watching our son briefly sitting with this toy, occasionally, half heartedly pulling the string out part way and then moving off to play with his other well used, slightly broken and I’m sure a bit dirty toys,  before my husband declared one evening that his son was not grateful for this nice toy or he didn’t like it.

I just shook my head, feeling so bad for my husband and son.  I said in a loud sarcastic way, “You must let him feel the toy, enjoy the touching, the playing, the personal loving of “his” toy.  It is not a sterile thing, it is a living thing!”  HOW can it become “his” friend or even “his” toy if he can’t handle it, enjoy it?”

My husband got up quickly and left the room.  The chill he left behind would freeze water!

I could hear him upstairs, in the room overhead, our bedroom, rummaging around in the storage area under the eaves.  Soon he returned and he had a toy still wrapped in cellophane.  I will admit that I had never seen this toy before, what a complete surprise!

The toy was a lovely white horse with black mane and tail, it was fairly large, it was standing on a black shiny platform with red wheels, there was a cord for a child to use to pull the horse along behind him as he walked.  This horse had never been unwrapped, or pulled along a hardwood floor or kitchen linoleum or any floor.  It was like new!

My husband looked as if he might cry but quickly got himself under control.  “I was never allowed to play with it!  It sat on a shelf in my bedroom!  My Dad would comment on how proud he was of me for keeping it clean!   I came to hate this horse!”

He crossed the room and tore the wrapping off of the Grover doll.  Then he unwrapped his own toy.  The first time in thirty five years that it had been unwrapped.

I just sat there feeling so sad for my husband.  We never know what kind of life a person has had growing up.  He was never abused in the typical  way we think of abuse today but he grew up without most displays of outward affection.  

Raising a child is more than food and shelter,  damn, they learn by example.  I wonder how confused our son must be with my over generous ways and his father’s over practical ways.  

We sat there together, looking at the Horse and the Grover doll,  my husband’s  arm slipped over my shoulder and he said,  “with your help, together we will figure this out!”

September 26, 2020 22:17

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30 comments

I love the way you wrote an incredible story line based on this prompt! This prompt was a little difficult since there was so much possibilities that anyone could have wrote! But you really captured the main part of the prompt and wrote an amazing read! Great job with all the strong details and descriptions you included in each part of your story! That made reading your story a lot more fun and I really enjoyed it! 😊 I loved the way your flow of the story just felt more... like a real book! I honeslty thought that this short story was a p...

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P. Jean
01:54 Oct 08, 2020

As with writing in general, some subjects spark us and some create a mental pause. I enjoy writing so much that most prompts trigger something in my mind. Regarding the format, I’m learning so much from comments. I wish many more would comment. Too many bare likes, but I guess that is part of some secondary game going on here that I have yet to understand. I have great appreciation for your long detailed, encouraging and instructive comment. Thanks folks like you fuel my fire!

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Aww... your welcome!

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Thom Brodkin
17:20 Oct 05, 2020

This hit me on many different levels, I used to collect sports cards and was such an enthusiast that I eventually opened up a store. It was there that I lost my passion for the hobby because I saw kids who were eight or nine buy a pack of cards and if there wasn't any "valuable" cards in the pack they would leave the pack on the counter and walk out. I remembered my childhood when we would put the cards in the spokes of our bike wheels to make the motorcycle sound. We would by pack after pack to get the last card we needed for a set, not ...

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P. Jean
18:12 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you, Thom. I always appreciate time and thought. We are all so busy. Comments like yours fuel my fire...to reach someone on a personal level. Happy to read yours.

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14:06 Sep 29, 2020

I like stories with meaning and this one is great! Honestly, I'm more of a reader for the enjoyment of reading and not an editor for the sake of critique. I like your story and I feel the meaning in your pages. Well done! Robert

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P. Jean
15:29 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you Robert....this one begged for that nostalgia feeling. Someone connecting to a new generation. I hope he plays with the horse with his son as a way of finally playing with the horse himself. Just a story but I do get involved with my characters.

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16:11 Sep 29, 2020

I think we should be involved with the characters we write. I read somewhere, an author said this not me; "We need to create a relationship with our characters." I feel he was saying the closer you are with your characters, the more you can make them identify with the readers. They will come alive with the quarks and personality traits we give them. Food for thought. Robert

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P. Jean
16:39 Sep 29, 2020

One of my first stories was a caterpillar becoming a Monarch Butterfly. I had to really try to get into the chrysalis! Sounds crazy but it was fun. Thanks for reading and commenting Robert..folks like you fuel my fire!

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21:18 Sep 29, 2020

Awesome! Robert

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Rayhan Hidayat
07:43 Sep 29, 2020

Heartfelt and meaningful 😢 It’s the unfortunate truth that everyone is a victim of their upbringing, and it can be difficult to break the cycle when raising their own kids. I love how simple and sweet your writing style is, it’s honestly a breath of fresh air compared to the super-eloquent prose you see a lot (not that there’s anything wrong with that haha). Keep up the good work!! 😙

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P. Jean
11:15 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you....it is what flows from the well!

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Rayhan Hidayat
11:47 Sep 29, 2020

No problem! And feel free to check out my latest story if you’re interested!

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B. W.
10:39 Nov 07, 2020

hey, do ya think you could check out one of my recent stories "Saving a friend" and then leave some feedback on it? I'd love to see what ya have to say for it

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Karen Baker
09:25 Oct 08, 2020

A very touching story. All the characters inspire sympathy for different reasons, a melting pot of complementary interests among them - and isn't that life? You capture the to and fro of hurt and insight so well - it's like a dance. A thought provoking read - thank you!

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P. Jean
10:00 Oct 08, 2020

You are very welcome and I thank you for the thoughtful comment.

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K. Antonio
21:32 Oct 03, 2020

I liked that this story had meaning. I liked the way the characters interacted and the details you provided to us. I think the only thing I would say is that maybe in some paragraphs I saw the word "and" being used a lot, but it doesn't detract from the story. Nice job! Feel free to check out my stories, would love some extra opinions on it.

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P. Jean
21:43 Oct 03, 2020

Thanks will put the brakes on the “and” word.

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A. K. Wilson
21:31 Oct 03, 2020

I loved this 💜💗💜💗💜 😂 especially can relate to it I constantly overbuy christmas and like try so hard justify every year. Beautifully done i also wanna say your scene building is remarkable as well

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P. Jean
21:42 Oct 03, 2020

Thank you so much.

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B. W.
19:09 Oct 02, 2020

Hey, could ya maybe check out "a savior?" and leave some feedback? ^^

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B. W.
23:55 Sep 27, 2020

Do you wanna go on a up-vote spree for each other?

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P. Jean
00:01 Sep 28, 2020

No thanks I’m a writer not a game player!

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B. W.
00:09 Sep 28, 2020

alright, could i maybe tell ya about a new novel/story i'm trying to work on? i have a lot i wanna do but i just hope it's all good

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B. W.
03:26 Sep 27, 2020

Okay this was a really good story from you- well all of them are really good but this is still good as well ^^ This week's prompts and mostly last week's prompts have been slightly hard (mostly last weeks, this weeks isn't really that bad) so i'm glad that you've been able to make some stories with it. I'm not really sure what to give as advice though because i'm not sure if there was anything wrong with it and i know that you've already been making a lot of stories but really my only advice is that you should continue to make more stories w...

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P. Jean
03:31 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks much for reading my stories. I agree about the prompts. But we do what we can. Mostly they have been uninspiring! Keep writing hope your block is gone!

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B. W.
03:34 Sep 27, 2020

No problem ^^ this week's are at least decent, last weeks were mostly the same tbh. Yeah, i think my writers block is actually gone finally. For my novels now and i also have ideas for other things ^^

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P. Jean
03:49 Sep 27, 2020

Ideas are where it all happens! Good luck!

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B. W.
03:52 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks ^^

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P. Jean
03:56 Sep 27, 2020

Welcome

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