This week I welcome the talented and award-winning children’s author, Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. Thank you, Jeanne for stopping by to share your childhood lovey story! #WhosYourLovey
And now, here’s Jeanne.
TEDDY & GIRAFFEY & THE MAGIC OF LOVEYS
I was (and continue to be) a Lovey Lover. The thing I remember most of my loveys was how they all had to be in bed with me when I went to sleep. No one could be left out. This got a little crowded, especially when my younger sister joined us.
I grew up in a rural town where people lived miles apart. My loveys were my first real friends. When I started school, I remember telling them of the challenges of Kindergarten. They always listened. They always comforted. To me, they were as alive and real as any friend.
My two most special loveys were Teddy and Giraffey. I can’t remember where Teddy came from, but I remember our nighttime ritual in which my dad made Teddy come to life. As I climbed into bed, Teddy would appear – silly, funny, Teddy – peeking inside the doorway, seemingly levitating as he offered goodnight wishes. Then Dad would wind up the music box in his back and Teddy would sing Beautiful Dreamer as my eyelids grew heavy.
Giraffey appeared later, a gift from my Mom’s dear friend in Sacramento. Giraffey was the largest stuffed animal I’d ever seen. I had never been to a zoo, or somewhere as exotic as California. Giraffey represented all things foreign and exciting. She and Teddy became fast friends, forever galloping off on a new adventure.
Because we are a family of savers I still have Giraffey and Teddy. Although they’ve spent some time in the attic, I never lost them. They show years of love, but my mom has always been the best of Lovey-Doctors and her multiple re-stuffings, meticulous stitches, and even a successful music-box replacement surgery, have kept Teddy and Giraffey in excellent condition.
I do my best to continue the lovey tradition with both my kids. My son’s lovies: Freddy the Flounder and Professor Lizard have their own stories. But now, almost fifteen, like Puff the Magic Dragon, they have sadly gone silent.
The animals continue to speak for my daughter, twelve. Like me, she is a lover of loveys, and the adventures of Teddi (with an “I”!), Ginger the Giraffe, Octavia the Octopus, and Scrappy the mischievous bunny, continue. (They even leave notes in her lunchbox). I treasure these moments as I know they are fleeting.
I can’t remember the last time Teddy, floating just inside my bedroom door, spoke to me. But I do know that when grown-up life becomes overwhelming, I gather Teddy and Giraffey in my arms. When I close my eyes and breathe in their familiar musty scent, I can hear my Dad’s voice again, and I know that the magic of loveys is real.
Jeanne lives in Ellington, Connecticut with her husband, Paul, her children, Andrew and Sophia and a poorly behaved Golden Retriever named Meadow.
Her middle grade novel, Ruby in the Sky won the SCBWI Work-in-progress Award in the Middle Grade Category (2016), the PEN-New England, Susan Bloom Discovery Award (2016), the Tassy Walden, New Voices in Children’s Literature Award (2015), and the Ruth Landers Glass Scholarship at the spring NE-SCBWI conference (2016). She is currently working on another middle grade novel, The Prisoner’s Daughter, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Keep the lovey stories coming! If you are interested in sharing YOUR lovey story, I’d love to hear from you. I am currently booking new childhood lovey posts in late March.