Thursday, July 31, 2008

The email I received today made me realize why I designed all of those stuffed animals over the years

I got an email today from a young girl who was sad because she lost her beloved companion stuffed animal. I will share it here but keep her identity private.

My name is ----- and I am 15 years old. My mom had gotten a stuffed pegasus we named Rosy from her best friend when she was 13 years old. It was in the 80's. We see on your web sight a unicorn/pegasus that has the same face and body as our Rosy but yours is larger and the legs and mane and wings are different. Our Rosy was thrown away by a heartless maid in a hotel on our last trip two days ago we tried to get her back but it was to no avail. Rosy has gone everywhere with us for 28 years and we are heart broken. We have photos of rosy and we can give pretty accurate measurements. Would you be willing to try to make us our Rosy again? Please call ------------ or e-mail ----------- with the details of what you need from us if you say yes or if you can't, maybe you know someone who can. Thank you, -----.

I wrote her back:
If you email me photos of Rosey I can have a look and email you back. I sold a variety of Pegasus stuffed animals in the 1980s in my own little gift shop, called Flaming-Martin Gifts, and Rosey may have been one of my creations. I was making them before they were widely manufactured by big stuffed animal companies. Do you remember if Rosey had a sewn in tag in the rear? None of my creations ever had sewn in tags. If the pattern is one of mine of course I could make you another. I would have to see which of the designs it was to tell you a price. I look forward to looking at the photos.

Later she sent me photos and said they had found a Dakin tag that belonged to Rosie. I will not copy another businesse's design but I began to search the internet for vintage Dakin pegasus stuffed animals and sent them links and suggestions for their search.

A few hours later I wrote her this letter:

Hi again,

I have given a lot of thought to your family and your loss of your beloved Rosie. If you have never read the book The Velveteen Rabbit you should get the book (it may even be printed on the internet) and read it. Rosie would qualify, like the beloved rabbit in the story, for becoming real. No new stuffed animal will ever be Rosie. It would be like loosing a sister or your dog and trying to clone them or find a look alike. It will never be the same. Rosie came into your life and blessed it and now she is gone. You must grieve the loss. Love again but keep a special place in your heart just for the memories you shared with Rosie and make new memories with a new soft friend. I have spent many years making stuffed animals and there is magic in it. I never name the ones I make because the magic begins when the owner looks into its face and names it. Like a stray cat that you one day give a real name to-- it is not a stray any longer; it is yours now. Rosie has become real through love. The grief you feel is real and don't feel foolish about it. Love and loss are both a part of being human. If we never love we never grieve but then we never fully live either.



Dear readers of my blog, after reading yesterday about how I was giving up making stuffed animals to sell how do you think this girl's letter made me feel? I am very sad not to be making beautiful creatures that go out and touch the lives of people and bring comfort and joy for years as their little Rosie did. There is magic in it and our federal government representitive was as unempathetic with my plight as any steriotypical bureaucrat could possibly be. We live in a strange world, my friends. I have no idea how we can change it but I used to tell people I made 'smiles" for a living because in the 1980s people would come into my gift shop and before long they'd be smiling.

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