>Forgiven, Not Forgotten

>Upon hearing the news about the passing of George Carlin, I sat shocked and saddened. And then I think I smiled, because I immediately thought of those classic Carlin monologues that never fail to crack me up. Laughter is his legacy; what better tribute than to ROFLMAO!

One Carlin bit that came to mind, perhaps the only one that may be repeated in polite company, is the tirade about storing your stuff. My initial smile led to thoughtfulness, which led to my blog (why are you not surprised?), where I now follow my stream of consciousness.

Ever wonder where your stuff goes when you lose it? Odd socks, earring backs, loose change, pens, and the many small implements of crochet, yarn needles, stitch markers and hooks, where do they go? When I was a kid I thought I had the answer. I thought I had ALL the answers. I now realize that I did have all the answers… I’ve just forgotten them.

In 1963, Mrs. Hill, my third grade teacher at Fleetwood Elementary School, sent us home with a summer reading list and unknowingly changed my life. I am not sure how many of the books on her wonderful list I got to read, but I do remember three in particular. Black Beauty (1877), by Anna Sewell, A Wrinkle in Time (1962), by Madeleine L’Engle, and The Borrowers (1953), by Mary Norton. The first reaffirmed my love and respect for horses. The second touched off a life-long fascination with science fiction and fantasy literature. The third, in the eyes of an 8-year-old, provided a possible explanation for one of life’s biggest mysteries.

In The Borrowers and the sequels that followed, Mary Norton wrote about tiny people who lived down the mouse holes, behind the wainscoting and under the floorboards of a quiet country house in England. They “borrowed” stuff from the “human beans” to use as furniture, tools, for clothing and food. It’s like “Land of the Giants”, only we are the giants and they are not here by accident. They bore a similarity to mice I knew; Jerry, of “Tom and Jerry” fame, Gus-Gus and Jacques, chatty mouse pals of Cinderella.

Unlike cartoon mice, the borrower folk preferred to remain hidden from our view, sneaky and furtive. So we don’t see them. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. People believe in lots of things that you can’t see, measure or prove. I suspected I had borrowers in residence, messing around in my room while I was away or asleep. And I was certain they were stealing my stuff.
I kept quiet about my suspicions.

Hey, there were worse things around. Real borrowers would have been cuter, neater and less creepy than the spiders I was warned would breed in the dusty, dark corners of an improperly cleaned room. After a fashion I felt sorry for them. Hey, if they did exist they couldn’t have jobs in order to earn a living. They HAD to borrow what they needed to survive.

I began to excuse and then forgive them for taking those trivial items I thought I had lost. I started leaving things out as an invitation to borrow. They might like some of the fussy clothes and accessories my mother crocheted and sewed for my dolls. Nothing I offered of this nature was ever taken, and I couldn’t say I blamed them for passing on it.

Compared to borrowers, the following theories are pretty mundane, but they now seem more plausible.

I now know that upholstery eats crochet hooks. Any seemingly friendly, innocent, comfy upholstered sofa or chair can become a tool-ingesting beast. It is totally maddening to know your F hook is down there, deep inside, wedged between the cushions and framework just beyond the reach of your fingers. Automobile upholstery is the worst. It is possible, though difficult, to turn an offending sofa upside down and rip out its guts to get at your hook. You can’t do the same with a car, especially when the upholstery is leather and HE really cares about it. There are at least three late model used cars being driven around, the owners of which have no idea of the treasure that’s buried behind the back seats.

My dog steals stuff. He is a neurotic little fluff-head. At 7 pounds, which is fat for a Chihuahua, he is smaller than an average house cat. A real dog would walk right past a plastic split ring stitch marker on the floor as too insignificant to bother with. To Cookie it is a toy. Luckily, he is not a chewer, and so far he has not swallowed any of his tiny finds. He merely makes them slobbery, carries and tosses them around. But every time I lose a needle, marker, button, bone ring or bead I run over and pry open Cookie’s mouth. Maybe that’s why he is so neurotic.

The vacuum cleaner sucks up the rest. That unnerving, loud “CRACK” is the sound of a lost bead or tool entering the maw of your vacuum. It has been suggested that one can simply search through the contents of the vacuum bag or dirt receptacle for lost stuff. That has been suggested by people who have never in their lives emptied a vacuum bag or dirt receptacle.


6 thoughts on “>Forgiven, Not Forgotten

  1. >Thank you for bringing back memories or “The Borrowers” I too was convinced that they lived in our house. Perhaps every house has a family of them?I have at least 3 hooks in each of my favourite sizes as they vanish without a trace but it my case they mysteriously turn up again some time later. Borrowers? Must be as I live alone.

  2. >My daughter loves the Borrowers and your post made me think back to the original movie of it.About once a month I pull out “my chair” and flip it over-generally stitch markers and other small items come falling out.As for the backseats of old cars, I am sure a crochet hook is the last thing anyone would expect to find back there:)My husband lost a gold bracelet I had given him for our first anniversary and he swore he lost it in his car. We tore it apart-nothing. It was a unique design and we assumed it was gone. He “remembered” it was on at work that day-he checked his office, etc. 5 years later,we were moving and we lifted the couch (yes, I used to remove the cushions from time to time to clean there) and the movers put the couch on the truck and brought it to our new home. That nigh, I am sitting on the floor in the living room and see something out of the corner of my eye, yup, the bracelet hanging down near the front edge-freaked me out.I watched a Carlin special the other night-“Why do we have a house? So we have a place to store our sh*t!, that’s all it’s for”-his words and so true.

  3. >The Borrowers was always a favorite. We used to leave stuff out and see if “they” would take it. Sure enough, it was always gone, although I had a feeling mom was involved. 🙂

  4. >One of my closes friends (who was also in radio) was a contribitor to the Snicklets series of books by Dave Barry. The place where socks go is called the “Hose Zone”. So now you know ~<;-)Carol M

  5. >I have lost sooooo many things to the Borrowers. The thing that sticks out most in my mind is a red and white (horizontal) striped turtle neck that I lost back in the late 80s. Most recent is a steel crochet hook, one of the dozen or so I inherited from a great aunt who died in 1992. One of those hooks got imbedded in my hand recently so I’ve been trying to do better at keeping track of them. Today I’m feeling freaky because one is missing and I’m out of town. I simply canNOT do the E.R. thing in THIS town! LOL

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