Today I finished my second week of teaching.
Good news! I still love it.
For the start of every class I teach, I have the student correct a sentence to practice their grammar and sentence writing, and then I have them answer a question or prompt. My goal with these exercises is to help my student keep their grammar skills in check, and to get themselves in a writing mindset. The journal questions range from “If you were stuck on an island with the Kardashians, who would you kill first and why?” to “Tell me about your favorite school experience to date.” The goal of the exercise is not to stump my students, but allow them ten or so minutes to write some pretty prose. This week I introduced them to the concept of writing from recall. To get class started, I asked my students what their favorite childhood toy was.
I got some very interesting answers. One student said they loved a battery operated red hen that laid eggs. The hen had been a 4th birthday gift. Another student mentioned how much they loved collecting and playing marbles. While I read their entries tonight, I thought about my favorite toy. I’ve had a lot of them. I used to love playing with my Barbies, and with my Polly Pockets. I loved Polly Pockets.
There was one thing that I loved more than Barbies, Polly Pockets, and any other toy that I owned.
His name was Bun. The exact origin of Bun is unknown, but he was my best friend. He went everywhere with me. I was a really shy kid (I know, hard to believe), so more often than not, you could find me sitting alone sucking my thumb and rubbing Bun’s ear.
Bun had his fair share of adventures. I remember one such outing to the local Price Club (now known as Costco). My brother, sister and I were sitting in the cart on our way to the car. My brother and I ended up in a tug-of-war over Bun. Before I knew it, I pulled Bun back to safety….or at least I thought I did. I had Bun in my hands, and my brother had Bun’d ear in the other. I screamed bloody murder. I cried until the next door neighbor sewed the ear back on and returned Bun safely to me. Before too long, Bun got old and warn out. He was replaced with Bun number 2. Bun 2.0 was just as special as Bun the original. He went everywhere with me. I quickly rubbed down all of the fir on his arm and ear with my worrying. I continued to suck my thumb.
My parents were really worried that I would walk down the aisle sucking my thumb, so they decided that the only way I was going to break the habit was if I no longer had bun. My mom had been reading me the Velveteen Rabbit for years, and it was one of my favorite stories.
Christmas of the year I turned five, my mom snuck Bun 2.0 from my bed. I woke up and was stressed that I couldn’t find my best friend. My mom told me to just come out to the living room to open presents and then she would help me find Bun. When I walked into the living room, I saw a pink cage with a small white rabbit in it. There was a note from Santa (that looked a lot like my mom’s handwriting now that I think about it) saying that since I loved Bun 2.0 so much, Santa was turning him into a real rabbit for me to love and take care of. I of course named him Bun.
He didn’t stay little for long. He was huge! I remember him sitting at the back door thumping his feet at coyotes and stray cats. I remember him chewing on everything. I bought him a pink leash and used to take him on walks in the backyard.
When my parents got divorced and we moved to a condo, Bun had free run of the house. He dug a hole in the small patio and found himself a cool place to lay. He ate the lining out of my mom’s golf bag and made himself a nest in the garage on really hot days. He spent a lot of time hiding in the garage. I used to go out and try to coax out of hiding. I remember holding him on my lap, and how annoyed Kelly got when I wanted him to sleep in our room (I guess 2 am calisthenics is not for everyone).
Bun lived a long time. When he was six years old, my mom found him in the garage. It might have been the heat, it might have been his age, but he went to the big alfalfa field in the sky. I wasn’t home when my mom found him, but I remember crying until I had the hiccups. I called my best friend Julia (Who is still a friend to this day) and left a sad message on her answering machine. A few years after my parents had replaced Bun 2.0, Socks, the family cat accidentally found his hiding place in my mom’s closet. I got to have Bun, and Bun 2.0. When Bun died, I pulled Bun 2.0 off the shelf and he slept in my bed for years after that.
When I moved to Merced to go to college, I left Bun at home. When my family came up to visit on parent’s weekend, my mom brought him with her and left him on my bed before they returned home. He moved with me to San Diego, and then back home before I went to Scotland. He stayed in the States, and now holds a place of honor on my dresser. Every now and then, when I am having a rough day, I pull him off the shelf and rub his ear and his arm to comfort myself.
27 years later, he is still my favorite toy.