Saturday, August 7, 2010


I did not grow up in a conventional "Brady Bunch" home. My parents were stunt pilots and we lived among the artists and poets of Greenwich Village. My father's mother, my Nana Laura, lived with us. We might not have been the average American family but we did share a few of the normal family oddities.
For instance, both of my parents talked to our two cats all the time. They considered it perfectly normal to have a conversation with an animal who usually ignored them unless they wanted food.
But, they thought my Nana Laura was odd because she talked to her dolls and teddy bears. I have always thought it made no more sense to talk to pets and babies than it did to talk to dolls and stuffed bears. On the other hand, if you do talk to your pets you have no cause to consider someone odd because they talk to dolls. After all, they are not conversations in the traditional sense. But then I have known many couples who constantly have one way conversations.
Personally, I find both dolls and stuffed bears to be excellent and attentive listeners. A rare quality in humans. And I am convinced that their expressions change in response to my rambling on and on. Perhaps it is just the afternoon light shifting that makes it seem their expressions change. Nana Laura insisted on "interviewing" her dolls and bears before adopting them. She spoke softly to them -- often asked them questions and waited for their responses. When one or two spoke to her she hugged them and brought them home.
I talk to my dolls all the time. And I talk to my bears while I am creating them so that when the time comes to give them a face I will have some idea who they are and how they should look.

And when my mother would tease Nana Laura about her doll and bear conversations she would smile and say. "Let me know when you hear from the cat."