Friday, April 9, 2010

Coming Home

He perched high on the dealer’s shelf, gazing down at all the others, his smudged face still. He was old and dirty and discolored, but I still saw the glint in his eye and the all-knowing smirk to his lip. His green hat was jaunty, his sword tucked into his belt at a cocky angle, the tips of his shoes turned up ever so slightly. I recognized him immediately – the Peter Pan doll that my brother had treasured as a child.

I had not seen Mark’s Peter Pan in many, many years. It was probably long gone by now, gone with the rejected baseball cards, the old firetruck, the sand pails and the rainslushed boots of our backyard playplace. We spent many hours there - two motley cowboys with hats askew, gun belts slinging between our knees. Hours would pass as we made up our games, sang our songs, munched our Fritos and chased our dogs. In the afternoons we would tumble into to the galvanized tub, he with Peter Pan and I with Effie Lou. Nana would add bubbles to the sunwarmed bathwater and we would splash away the crumbs, the sand, the grime. Fresh pajamas and kisses in the sun, and we were ready for Mama, for Daddy, for supper.

I reached for Peter Pan, my hand curling around his rubber body, carefully carrying him to the shop proprietor. The price tag showed that he was within my reach. I asked for a magnifying glass to check for tears in his little rubber hands – as a doll collector I know that the fingers of these vintage babies are the first to go – and was glad to see that he was still intact. I thought about Effie Lou – wrapped in a towel, carefully tucked away in my own closet with other childhood treasures – and secretly smiled, thinking about the two of them finding each other once again. He had traveled the world; she had stayed close to home. How well they reflected the two of us. I plunked down the money. It was worth it – just for the memory, the thought, the hope.

Peter Pan had a bath this morning, in the kitchen sink with the bubbles and a soft toothbrush to loosen the grime of some other, long-gone child. Effie Lou stood patiently by, waiting. The two of them are now tucked into the Easter basket that we shared as children.

And Brother Mark will be here in just a few weeks, to start his new life.


  1. When a good writer writes, a ray of sunshines is released into the world...

    When a great writer writes, a soul is illuminated...

    Thanks for the illumination, Patti

  2. Beautiful writing.
    Can't wait to read more.
    Thanks for sharing GF.