From what End do You Stuff it?

In grade five my class was asked to pick from a list of extracurricular activities. I chose stuffed animals, thinking perhaps I would have to capture an animal, like a fox or perhaps a small bear and then using some techniques stuff it and preserve it. I thought it was strange on the day I showed up after school there were no boys in the class. It was all girls, sitting there with little sewing kits. The teacher whom I did not know, enquired why I joined the stuff animal class. I said, "Because, I think it would be great to learn how to stuff animals."  Of course, the whole class laughed and I became confused. The teacher, God bless her heart, held back her amusement and took the time to explain, that the subject to which I was imagining was called taxidermy. She then pointed to some teddy bears and explained the class was to make stuffed toys. I had absolutely no interest in doing that, so confused and embarrassed I left the class.

Once in a while I recall that moment and wonder how was I so ignorant and foolish. Well, today it has come to me. As a child, I was probably more ignorant than most, due to my lack of upbringing, but was intelligent and very creative. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, because if you think about that combination, it can be quite dangerous if ignored. And more times than not I was ignored and got into a lot of trouble. It was my kind heart and the hand of God that kept me alive. I say God, because if you were there during those many circumstances, you too would come to the same conclusion.

Today, the last piece of the puzzle just drifted into my mind as to how I was so delusional to think I was going to stuff actual animals when I was in grade five. It was because as a child I was never given a stuffed toy. I have no memory of ever owning a stuffed animal as a child. To me, an animal was an actual animal and if an animal is stuffed then it is a real animal that had been stuffed. All my sons have had stuffed animals and they have fond memories of their favourites. For me, there are none.

There is a good reason for this, although an very unfair one. My eldest brother 12 years my senior, had a favourite stuffed teddy bear. It became quite dishevelled and when my brother was twelve, my parents decided to throw it out without my brother being a part of that decision. To him it was devastating, his best friend dead and gone. It was such an emotional moment that even today my brother wells up with tears and anger as he recalls that day. Soon after that incident, I was born and my parents, hoping to avoid a repeat performance, never introduced me to stuffed animals. 

Uploaded 09/12/2013
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