This week’s Heartlanders are little Liam and the folks who reunited him with his blue monkey (including his parents and a woman who runs an online auction house).
I think most of us have experienced losing something physical that meant a lot. Psychologists would likely tell us that mourning a physical object beyond the immediate financial loss is not healthy or rational and that attachment to physical objects interferes with our relationships with other people. I believe the term is anthropomorphism.
Having said that, objects are sometimes, in the way of Rosebud, more than just a physical thing, but a token of experiences and memories and events and moments that are more than the sum of the parts of the things in our lives. My niece had a kitty doll as a child that was practically attached, her best friend and alter ego. When it went missing one afternoon in the parking lot of a discount store, my cousin reports she practically lost her mind trying to find it. (Which she did—found the toy, not lost her mind. Then she promptly searched the Net until she found a bunch more on EBay. All about insurance.)
And I guess the story speaks to me because as a books person, an attorney and a financial miser, I feel like my love of a personal library and files of financial paperwork are much under fire these days. Declutter Fascism seems to value nothing except blank walls and empty counters and for some of us the vases and books and saggy old blue monkeys of our childhood are what makes a space ours rather than simply a space.
The story of how little Liam’s monkey wound up at a reseller and why anyone would market a used and damaged toy for $30 is a bit of a mystery. Congratulations, though, to Liam. And his parents.