Pharos-Tribune

Columns

November 24, 2013

KNISELY: A link to my past

As the radio blares with warnings of bad weather, the skies go dark and then an alarming gray. And that’s when the tornado siren’s cries fill the town.

You then grab a few things before retreating to the basement just in case both of their warnings turn out to be accurate.

In that moment, you get a glimpse of what’s most important to you. It’s not a striking a-ha moment, so most probably miss it. But the things you take to the safety of the basement can be telling.

For me, as last weekend’s storms descended on Cass County, I didn’t grab a few things. I grabbed one.

His name is Sparky. He is a sock monkey.

Whenever there is a threat of bad weather and I find myself throwing some just-in-case emergency items in a bag, Sparky is always the first thing. If I only had time to get a bag of survival essentials or Sparky — but not both — it would always be the latter.

You might be shaking your head right about now, thinking I’m rather impractical. Eh, you’re probably right.

That sock monkey is a link to my past that I could never replace. I’ve often thought I must have lived through a tragedy as a child that my family has never told me about because I remember so little about my childhood. There are huge gaps in my memories, as if someone has taped over them.

I listen with envy when my sister talks about all manner of childhood memories in vivid details. I have only a few memories I can recall, and every one of them involves Sparky.

One he holds isn’t a fond memory. In fact, it’s probably a day most kids would like to forget. It’s not as if it’s a tragic memory, it’s just not a happy one. But I hold onto it because I have a clear image of my young self in it. When I look at Sparky, it’s almost as if I’m hovering over the living room of the house I grew up in and I can see me sitting on the floor with him.

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