Washing Harold

Dear Liza,

Our stufftie buddy Harold has had a busy life down in San Diego. He has been an emotional support stufftie for Madi, who is just your age and has needed lots of hugs. He has been to sleep-overs and out on bike rides through the neighborhood.

It was time for a bath. The problem is, Harold’s body is made of a knitted chenille fabric which has gotten very threadbare over the years, and we were afraid the usual washing techniques might be too much for him. So washing machine, or even hand-washing, were out.

He got baking soda. Put in a bag, sprinkled with baking soda and shaken gently, Harold looked, for a while, like a dusty snowman. I took him out on the balcony to shake him off so I didn’t make drifts in the house.

He was much cleaner, but his face, which had gotten lots of post-cheerleading, make-up laden hugs, was still schmutzy.

I rubbed gently with some dish soap, pulling off layers of color, and eventually knew I had to stop.

Here is our boy as he is, happy to be home, much loved, and a bit cleaner. He doesn’t look like he did fifteen years ago, but who does?

None of us can be bathed back in time.


Grandma Judy

Harold’s Home!

Dear Liza,

I’m sure you remember Harold, Auntie Bridgett’s stufftie. He has been with us for years, traveling all over Europe and Canada, as well as keeping us company when we were home.

For the last few years, Harold has been staying with Niece Madilyn in San Diego, while she was mourning the loss of her own dear stufftie, Bear. Harold and Bear had been friends and he wanted to be supportive.

But how Madi has agreed to let Harold come home ! We are so happy!

Cousin Kestrel has even decided to make a stuffed friend for Harold. She chose the same fabric I used for your placemats and napkins! Then she made the pattern and got the bits cut out the other evening. Next week, she will continue working on it. I will keep you posted if her progress!

I am hoping Harold will be strong enough to come with us on our visit later this spring.


Grandma Judy

Dear PeeVee

Dear Liza,

Today I am writing about our dear friend Pat van Noy, whom we call Peevee. It is her birthday!

I met Peevee about 20 years ago when she came to University Park Elementary School as a reading coach. She had taught in her own classroom for years, and, one last day of school, she decided to quit. She took a few years off, discovered she missed the kids, and came back to work part time.

We got to be friends and had so much fun together we just kept getting together. I met her son John, who has a different last name, working for a service group in town.

“You teach at University Park?” He asked. “You must know my Mom!”

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Pat van Noy.” He answered.

I was so pleased. “She’s my favorite old broad!”

“Mine, too.” He said, and we got to be friends, as well.

She came to parties at our house and got to know Auntie Bridgett, Grandpa Nelson, and, of course, Harold the Stufftie. When we traveled to France and sent emails to friends, Peevee printed them all out and put them in a three ring binder for us to keep. It was so thoughtful! Because of her, we can re-visit our first impressions of Europe way back in 2008.

And Liza, when you got born and were big enough to visit, she got to know you, too.

Happy birthday, Peeves! I wish I could celebrate with you.


Grandma Judy

Harold the Traveling Stufftie, Part 1

Dear Liza,

Harold, before he was Harold

You have met Harold, Auntie Bridgett’s stuffed friend. He has had a very active life. While most of his stuffed relatives spend their days in toy boxes or on pillows, Harold has been an artist’s model, a world traveler and an ambassador.

When I first met Harold, he was a bunny. Bridgett drew him into her comic strip, Squid Row, telling the story of how he lost his ears to some marauding raccoons. Her comic strip character, Randie, adopted Harold.

Being an social sort of stufftie, Harold enjoyed going to all of Auntie Bridgett’s art shows. He gave hugs to everyone, regardless of which universe they came from.

Small Fan

Large Fan

He helped organize her work and congratulated her when her books were printed up and ready for sale.

delivery of DA BOOKS 008.jpg
Helping Unpack the Books!

When we traveled, Harold came along. He enjoyed meeting cousins in Houston and going to the art museum there. He even applied for astronaut training, but they decided he could do better work here on Earth.

Astronaut Harold

And, of course, he got to be friends with Cousin Madilyn, having some small adventures with her and Auntie Bridgett. I will tell you more about Harold, his past and future adventures, tomorrow.


Grandma Judy

Harold, Auntie Bridgett and Madilyn


Dear Liza,

Mosaic in San Diego Airport

Well, we left San Diego Friday to come home to Portland. First, Auntie Bridgett and I went to the gym at the Hilton Gardens Hotel and walked for half an hour. It’s good to start travel days, which involve a lot of sitting, with some exercise.

We had breakfast and then headed to Esther’s house, where we visited with Maddie and Jaxson. There were trains and tea parties, and the kids and Bridgett built museums out of blocks.

After a while we headed to Michael’s house, called Casa de Penrose, for lunch and more visiting. Leftover Thanksgiving never tasted so good! The warm sunshine on the patio was very relaxing. We even got some extra goodbye hugs from Yukie, Chris, Aya and Kion.

Harold Abroad

While we were there, Auntie Bridgett asked Maddie if Harold, Bridgett’s favorite stufftie, could stay in San Diego. Harold hasn’t gotten out much in Portland, and he would be able to give more love and comfort, which is what stuffties do best, with Madilyn. This made that little girl so happy! She has always loved Harold.

We had a wonderful visit and then had some sad farewells, to family, kidlets, stuffties, and sunshine. We had a long, layover-filled flight ahead of us.

Maddie Loves Auntie Bridgett!

We finally got home at 10:00, had some couch time with Mousekin the cat, and went to bed. It’s always good to come home.


Grandma Judy