Wednesday, February 25, 2009
How My Mother Got Done out of Her Bugs Bunny Suitcase (Theme Thursday: Toy)
I asked my mother to tell this, one of my favorite tales from her childhood, and here's what she recounted:
"My mother had a friend, or it might have been her cousin, who came infrequently over to our house in Brooklyn. She always arrived with her daughter, who was about my age, and we were consigned to the upstairs while the ladies smoked their cigarettes and ate their lunch, cottage cheese on toast with paprika and cucumbers cut into it.
I can't remember exactly when this happened, but the time I'm thinking about, Leann brought with her a cardboard Bugs Bunny suitcase, whose metal clasps didn't quite work. You had to push in the cardboard toward the metal to get the two pieces to fit together. It had an orange plastic handle, it was sort of circular, and it had the most vivid decals of Bugs and Friends. This was the most wonderful cardboard suitcase I had ever seen in my life, despite the fact that one edge of it had separated from the metal piece that held it together. I don't remember if anything was in it. Anyway, I wasn't interested in the contents. I really wanted that suitcase. It was as big as from the tip of my finger to maybe the middle of my forearm. It wasn't very large.
I didn't like Leann. We were very young. After we had played for awhile, I remember I got out all my stuffed toys and we pretended we were going places. Unfortunately she had the suitcase. My furry friends had nothing to put their stuff in. I know I became more and more upset. I offered her a stuffed dog I had, who, when you turned the legs around, his male part could be seen. She didn't want it. Nothing I offered her from my toy closet could convince her to give me that wonderful, wonderful suitcase.
At the end of an hour or so, we heard her mother call to Leann it was time to go home. Those visits never lasted long. At the last minute, I had a thought. I had a gold heart necklace that my mother had given me for my last birthday. I said, 'Leann, if you give me the suitcase I'll give you my necklace.' She stuck it in her pocket, and went downstairs.
I was always required to come downstairs with the visiting child to say goodbye politely at the door. My mother knew every single toy I owned, mostly stuffed animals and crayons. Immediately at the front door, she saw the precious Bugs Bunny. My mother sussed out the situation and admonished me, 'you never trade gold for cardboard.' In a moment, Leann, her mother, and Bugs Bunny were out the door; the necklace was back with me.
I never even attempted to travel again."