The Oldest Item in Your Possession

Writing Prompt. Let’s go.

The first thing that comes to mind would be my body, but that may be cheating. Even though I adore cheating, I’ll try to think of an actual item. Something solid. We have a few antiques, passed down to me from previous generations. But then, that seems obvious – a bit off the mark for the task, too.

Hmm. Something that was mine, something that I owned, from my life? I have my teddy bear. His name is Patches. I’ve never understood why his name was Patches. In fact, I have very little recollection hanging out with Patches. If I’m honest, I’ve always been suspicious about the bear. If I have no recollection of literally loving the stuffing out of him, and rubbing the fur off his well-worn body, then was he really mine? Have I been duped?

Patches has button eyes and nose– not the originals. Patches has a really badly sewn neck by someone using extra effort to securely attach the poor creature’s head in place. Someone used striped fabric splices to cover up the holes and span the gaps. I mean, this bear was used. He was either mauled or loved or both by someone. He sits on my dresser.

Why do I have no memory of him? I have incredibly vivid, strong memories of hanging out and loving on a large stuffed animal named Colors. Poor Colors was in a similar condition when he was forced out of my life by my mother and husband who encouraged me strongly to say goodbye. I do not like thinking about poor Colors.

But there sits Patches. In what demented world would someone —mother, give me a bear and declare it was mine when it wasn’t? I also have no real recollection of when this bear was transferred to me with those ownership papers. Why do I suspect something devious about this? If you knew my family, you would not ask.

For some reason, I believe it was actually my brother’s bear. If I were to dig into my soul, and examine my feelings about this possible circumstance, I would say it lands on fear about knowing the truth.

The fear is that I was a sentimental person, and the rest of family was not. But what is so wrong with that?

Well, hell, if you’re agreeing with them, then you can stop reading now. Let’s break it down. It’s just plain sad. Wouldn’t my brother want his own treasured item? Perhaps he didn’t treasure it at all? Had poor Patches been tortured by my wild brother and abandoned without care? Definitely plausible. Trust me.

What about my mother’s culpability, gifting it to me? Had I found the bear in some dark space at some later point in my life and taken pity on it and she made up the story about it being mine? If that were the case, you’d need to ask why she would do this. First thought, because she wanted me to calm down and knew that if I thought the bear was mine, then it was in all likelihood – it was deeply loved, not deeply tortured.

This writing exercise has taken me down the rabbit hole. Like Alice. Thanks a lot San Francisco Writer’s Grotto for the prompt.

I’m sure you’re as uncomfortable as I am. But, before we go, I’d like us to consider the name—Patches. Assuming the bear was once full of fur, fresh from the factory with real eyes and secured limbs and was given to me – the small, grateful child to love and adore, why would I name it Patches? The actual sewn-on patches would have had to have been attached and the moniker given plausibly after the little guy got the patches – right? I couldn’t have known before it’s naming that it would be loved to the nub, and that it would become the IT Bear of the house.

It’s all very suspicious. I’d really like to love Patches, sitting staring at me from its perch of honor on my dresser, but thoughts linger. And now guilt. And now bigger guilt as I think of Colors. And damn you Toy Story for making me cry.