This week for Remember the Time, we are sharing stories and thoughts on the topic of imaginary friends. Thanks so much to That Cynking Feeling for submitting this topic! Skip down to the bottom for details on participating in this weekly linkup.
My parents got a video camera when my younger brother was a baby in 1985, so there are a lot of videos of us when we were growing up. They didn’t just whip that ten pound mass of equipment out on special occasions like holidays and birthdays, but took tons of footage of lazy afternoons and diaper changes. I’m grateful for this because now that I have C, I know that those everyday occurrences are where the gold is hidden. While you’re supposed to remember holiday traditions, you find that the memories that stick around are the ones that you make when you least expect it. They aren’t as fabricated as blowing out candles or backyard Easter egg hunts.
I think that one of the reasons why we take videos of growing children is so they’ll have something to marvel at when they grow up, when their childhood is as distant as Memorex tapes and the USSR. We assume that they’ll view them with adult eyes. But as a kid, I often watched those tapes only minutes after the taped moments happened. Half the fun of making a video was turning around and watching the tape that same day, right before bedtime.
As a result, sometimes I have a hard time knowing if the memories I recall have only lasted because I learned them over and over again by watching my childhood play out on my parents’ TV. People often tell me that they wish they could remember as much about their early childhood as I remember about mine, but the truth is that my memory isn’t as amazing as it seems. I just had videos that reminded me of all the things that happened while they were happening. The downside to this is that sometimes it’s hard for me to separate those video memories from the ones that have truly persisted in my mind all these years. They get muddled together.
If you were to watch videos of me when I was four, you’d hear me talk a lot about Baby. Baby was apparently an imaginary infant that I was in charge of. By all accounts, Baby was almost more trouble than she was worth. Baby often fell out of her baby bed and wouldn’t eat her bananas for breakfast unless I told her to. She cried a lot and had bad dreams. All photographic mentions of Baby cease to occur by the time I was five, for obvious reasons. I guess I sent her back to the baby depot.
The thing is, without those tapes, I have no memory of Baby at all. She doesn’t really exist outside of my four-year-old psyche and VHS tapes.
I do remember Saucy, though.
Saucy was my true imaginary friend, the friend who you’ll never find mention of on tape. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever even brought Saucy up to anyone aside from that time I tweeted about it.
Let’s let the tweet do the talking.
So, yeah, while I talked a lot about Baby on camera, Saucy was really my tried and true friend. While it was only a small clear jar of pimentos with a yellow aluminum lid, I remember thinking a lot about Saucy. As a small child, I was fascinated with the idea of inanimate objects having personalities, feelings, and dealings outside of the ones that humans gave them. And I’m not talking about the talking sandwiches and beach balls that often make appearances on Sesame Street. I’m talking about the things that you see around you in your own home that have never given you reason to believe that they were sentient beings. For instance, my grandmother was always making pound cakes and I wondered how those cakes felt about being eaten. Were they proud to be delicious or did they live short lives of melancholy knowing that their final destinations were the digestive tracts of humans not privy to their consciousness?
Deep thoughts from small people.
So Saucy was a very real – albeit imaginary – being in my life as a little kid. I realized at the time that it was probably kind of odd that I had a fantasy relationship with a condiment, so I also recall not talking a lot about it to my family. It just wasn’t worth it to explain. But Saucy was kind and interesting. It was small and nonjudgmental.
Let me reiterate: it was a jar of pimentos.
Saucy left such a positive impression on me that today when I went to Amazon to find a picture of a can of pimentos to include in this post, I felt a little sad that the single review someone had left for the product was only one star. I will be true to my Saucy, and if it takes me irrationally purchasing a jar of pimentos from an online grocery just so I can review it and reclaim its honor, then I will do it.
That’s just the kind of thing you do for friends. Even if they’re imaginary.
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