Basil’s birthday is today and to celebrate, Catherine and I gave him something he’s been missing for years: A Humpty Dumpy lamp to replace the one his mom got rid of when Basil was a child.
Unfortunately, Basil did not agree with her choice. He’s mourned the loss of that stalwart egg for many decades.
Thanks to eBay, he’s got a replacement. You should have seen his face when he opened the box Catherine had so carefully wrapped in newspaper. Well, you can see his face in this picture.
My mother-in-law was equally surprised.
Basil has talked about this lamp and teased his mother about tossing it out for as long as I’ve known him.
In fact, he so loved the lamp (I’m not sure even he can explain why) that he still has one of the original Humpty’s little wooden arms.
It has followed us from apartment to condo to house, living in the dish of collar stays, cufflinks and other odds and ends on Basil’s bureau. I guess it was one of the pieces that all the king’s horses and men overlooked.
He must feel about that lamp the way Catherine does about the Peter Rabbit quilt my mother sewed before she was born. “Blankie” quickly became part of the fabric of Catherine’s life — providing warmth and comfort, serving up games of peekaboo or decorating the tea party table. It has been loved and washed within an inch of its life, but miraculously remains in one piece and is now carefully tucked away (I promise).
All week, as we’ve contained our excitement about the lamp hidden beneath Catherine’s bed (Dad would definitely NOT look there, Catherine was sure of it.), I’ve tried to decide if there was something I longed for from my own childhood.
I considered lots of fond memories — the stuffed bunny I slept with when I was sick; the Nancy Drew books that cemented my love of reading; the powder-blue ten-speed that took me all over town. What I settled on was a collection I already have, thanks to my mother who is far more diligent that I: Several volumes of family photos that help keep all those memories — and many more — alive.
I love to share them with Catherine, much as she’ll one day share the photos attached to this blog post with her kids.
It is good, after all, to have both ties to the past and hopes for the future.
Just one thing bothers me about Basil’s birthday gift, though: Now that I bought this darn lamp, I have to let him display it somewhere!