I was five when my great-grandmother passed away. I remember being in her house in the aftermath while the adults tried to figure out how to handle a house full of stuff. I remember asking if I could have something. The adults asked me what I wanted.
I knew exactly what I wanted. I tore down the hall, picked it up, and struggled back down the hallway show it to the adults.
Looking back, I understand they were probably profoundly relieved. At the time, I couldn't believe that I was being allowed to take something so precious.
This is a bowling-pin shaped piece of plastic filled with something heavy, probably sand. I assume my great-grandmother crocheted it, but I don't actually know. I loved it, and it was my doorstop until I went to college. Then it was packed into a box, which found its way into the basement.
Recently, it was unearthed in what I like to call the Wet Basement of Despair. Many, many things went into a dumpster that day, but he did not. He came home with me.
And lo, he smelled terrible. I soaked him for a couple days in a sudsy sink, then sat him outside to dry until his presence drove our dog, Dexter, crazy with rage. When it became clear that Dexter could not be convinced that this wasn't a live animal staring at him--well, not staring, but more about that later--in a taunting manner from the patio, I brought him in again to finish drying in the kitchen.
He still smelled. I soaked him again, rubbing his acrylic self ferociously. That did the trick.
There was still a problem though. My family's beagle, Ralph, had a fondness for the plastic noses on stuffed animals, particularly those of my oldest sister. He would grab one off her bed and have it nose-less before any of us realized what was happening. Apparently at some point he couldn't find a nose in Becky's room, and that was the day the crocheted bowling pin dog doorstop lost both his eyes.
I went button shopping and found almost exactly what I was looking for. They were perhaps a bit smaller than the eyes I remember, and I'm pretty sure the original eyes were gold-accented rather than black, but they're the right shape and have the center crystal I remember. I sewed them on a couple days ago, put him on the floor and stepped back to admire him---
---and realized how truly, profoundly hideous he is.
Doesn't matter. I'm glad he's home with me again.