My lovey wasn’t a doll or a stuffed animal. It was a blanket. It was big and blue and fuzzy with a supremely soft satin binding. I called it Cold Covers. It looked something like the blanket in the picture below.
Why Cold Covers? Well, the blanket itself was warm, but the satin was always cool against my cheek. Each night, as I drifted to dreamland, I’d pop my right thumb in my mouth and cuddle with Cold Covers. It always felt exactly right.
I have two clear memories of my lovey. One’s as happy as can be. The other? Not so much, but it is pretty funny.
I remember a particular morning when I was five years old. I woke up to find that Cold Covers was missing. I looked everywhere and finally found it in a heap in the middle of the living room floor. I recall being both puzzled and indignant that someone had taken it from me. That’s when I noticed my grandfather.
Pa Dalton—that’s what we called him—was sitting by himself at the dining room table. He was a straight-talking man, that Pa Dalton, and he got right to the point. My parents, he said, had gone to the hospital. My mother was having the baby.
The baby was coming! I was filled with excitement, eager to meet my new brother or sister. I understood why Mom had taken Cold Covers from me. She needed it. Maybe she wrapped it around herself as she watched for Pa’s arrival. Maybe it kept her warm as my father started the car and pulled it up to the front door. Cold Covers always made me feel better, and it must have made Mom feel better as she waited for my brother Paul to be born.
The second memory concerns my lovey’s unfortunate end. Do you want to know what happened? Are you sure?
I had a beautiful black and white cat named Twinkabells. Not Tinkerbell, mind you, but Twink-A-Bells, the last bit being plural. Apparently, it was my father’s job to call the cat in at night. He’d stand on the back porch and holler, “Twinkabells! Twinkabells!” The scene was, according to my mother, hilarious every time.
Like nearly all cats back then, Twinkabells was the outdoorsy type. She spent her days hunting mice in the marsh that bordered our backyard. Here’s the only picture of her:
As sometimes happens, Twinkabells ate the wrong mouse, one that didn’t agree with her tummy AT ALL. She developed a case of worms and upchucked some smack dab on my Cold Covers.
So here was my mom with three little kids and a brand-new baby. She had a clothes washer but no dryer. And now she had—horrors of horrors—a queasy cat and a pukey lovey. So Mom did what she had to do. She showed me the worms. As soon as I saw them—I’ll spare you the description—I knew without a doubt that Cold Covers had to go. I practically pointed to the door.
Twinkabells recovered, and I learned to fall asleep without Cold Covers. The thumb-sucking endured until fourth grade, and then it went away too.
Other people may still have their teddy bear or Smelly Baby, but I have memories of my well-loved blanket. Happy memories of a new baby brother. Bittersweet and funny memories of a wormy cat. Now I’m a writer, and I can take these memories and give my long-lost Cold Covers new life. One of my picture book manuscripts has a character, a little boy named Leo, who loves a fuzzy blanket with a soft satin edge. It brings him comfort and happiness every day.
I know just how he feels.
Thank you, Hayley, for contributing to the #WhosYourLovey series. Read on to learn what Hayley writes and how to connect with her online. And if you’d like to be a featured guest and share your childhood lovey story, I’d love to hear from you!
Hi. I’m Hayley. I mostly write picture books, some in rhyme, some not. I currently have two on the way. BABYMOON is coming from Candlewick Press, and it celebrates the birth of a new family. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW, coming from Beach Lane Books, is narrative nonfiction about an historic event in the life of astronomer Maria Mitchell. The brilliant Diana Sudyka will illustrate it.
I live outside of Boston with my husband John. Our two terrific kids have (nearly) flown the coop. You can find me on Twitter as @hayleybwrites or on Facebook. I blog at https://hayleybarrettwrites.wordpress.com and also for my agency, Erin Murphy Literary, at https://emusdebuts.wordpress.com.